Sunday, March 16, 2014

Peru - Arrival and the Nazca Lines

Mike and I have talked for years about wanting to go to Peru to see Machu Picchu, so this summer when we were visiting the Beechers and Janna said we should all go, we said "Ok!" We all got our tickets and then Janna and I planned out our week. We had a packed schedule but things went so smoothly and we were able to do pretty much everything we had hoped to. The weather cooperated, the hotels were all nice, the traveling went well and we had so much fun traveling for our first time with another couple.

Saturday morning, the 8th, my mom came to our house at 7am and Mike and I were off to the airport. We flew to Miami, hung out for a few hours and then we were on our plane for Lima.
We were able to fly first class, thanks to our miles, and the flight from Miami to Lima was especially amazing. When we first got on board and looked in the magazine for what movie they would show we couldn't believe our bad luck...out of 10 movies there were 2 we definitely did NOT want to see - Last Vegas and Thor - and those were the two scheduled for our flight there and our flight back.
Luckily this plane was a really great one and along with the super comfy seats that were completely adjustable we each got our own ipad and headphones to select whatever movies we wanted. Crisis averted! (unfortunately on the way home it wasn't such a big plane and Thor it was...Mike watched, I read :-) Before we knew it we were in Lima, Peru!!!
It was 11pm and we found a taxi and headed straight to our hotel. I was surprised at how many people were out everywhere so late at night!
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The next morning we were picked up EARLY to start our journey to see the Nazca Lines. We used the travel agency SATO, South American Tours Online, to arrange our Machu Picchu portion of the trip and I ended up having them arrange this day as well. I had never heard of the Nazca lines, but Mike of course knew of them and wanted to see them. You have to fly in a little plane to see them and I didn't want to risk going with some random company and having us crash and die the first day of our trip :-). We took a really nice bus to Paracas (it was about 3 1/2 hours, and then were picked up and taken to the Pisco airport for our flight over the lines.
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all the fast food restaurants had HUGE indoor playgrounds in Lima, even KFC!
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the one thing I didn't get to do that I wanted to was ride in one of these :-)!
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The history behind the lines isn't certain. There is an interesting National Geographic article about them here that gives some background info. They are thought to have been made for a ceremonial purpose and probably were related to trying to get rain to come. There is another article here...but no one knows for sure.
It was about 30 minutes in the plane to get to the lines. I was shocked by the fact that Lima and the whole coastal region is a huge desert. Having only seen pictures of the Machu Picchu part of Peru and having been to Ecuador before, I just assumed it would be all green and lush everywhere. Peru is definitely not a country to go to if you are looking for pretty beaches.
The tour of the lines was about 30 minutes and Mike and I were both pleasantly surprised by how well we were able to see them!
The pilot turned the plane waaay towards the lines on one side, then we would loop around so he could do the same for the other side of the plane. While this did provide everyone great views, we were definitely feeling a bit queasy by the end and neither of us usually get motion sickness.
The one geoglyph that Mike and I think is a fake, but that is posted on all the ads for Nazca, is the astronaut. It is on the rocks, not the sand, and looks nothing at all like the perfectly symmetrical, straight and parallel lines of the others. Curious.
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Our little plane! And that picture of the pilot is one of my favorites of the trip.
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whale
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There are geometric shapes and spirals spread around the area
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the suspicious astronaut
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monkey
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dog
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hummingbird
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condor
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spider
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tree
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hands
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parrot
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We took the bus back to Lima and were picked up and taken back to our hotel around 8pm.
We were soooo hungry! The bus gave us breakfast and lunch but they were weird sandwiches with apples that we couldn't eat because we didn't want to risk getting sick before Machu Picchu. Our hotel luckily had a delicious restaurant and we had our favorite dessert of the trip there. They called it tres leches, but it was more like a fried pastry that was soft and sweet on the inside, like a good bread pudding, served with vanilla ice cream and covered in passion fruit sauce. Amazing!!!
the bus station
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