So we've arrived in nazca and not before time. Lima was grey, cold and oppressive and I'm not really a city person anyway. Having said that we went on a really good bus tour the second afternoon which took us to some old colonial parts of the city, which should be avoided at all costs at night, but are beautiful by day. The city was huge and the tour took 3 hours on an open top bus with biting windchill but it was worth it. We also visited the Cathedral of St Francis where there was and old library (the second oldest in America) with books dating back to the 17th century. It was just like walking into Hogwarts and I half expected the rickety old spiral staircases to start moving! Underneath the Cathedral were the old catacombs which were used before graveyards. They contained the bones of 25,000 bodies. Unfortunately someone in the 1950's obviously decided it would be a good idea to separate the bones into their types and only leave the femurs and skulls on display. Who knows what happened to the rest!
We booked our bus ride to nazca with a company called Cruz Del Sur which is supposedly the best in the country. It had all the services and amenities of an airline including cabin crew only it was 10x more comfortable! Good job really seeing as it took 7 hours to get here!
The scenery was amazing, about an hour outside Lima the clouds started to clear and we drove through some real shanty town areas. The ocean was rough with waves reaching at least 5m. Everyone was avoiding the beach. Then we hit desert with miles of humongous sand dunes and the occasional oasis following the small rivers down to the sea. In the haze in the distance you could also see the outline of the Andes. Every now and then you would pass small farms growing crops. Who knew anything could grow in sand!
When we arrived in nazca the weather was warm and sunny. It's still winter here but at 22 degrees I'm not complaining. Firstly, for such a small town our taxi driver had no idea where our hostel was. Even after we gave him the address. He drove around for about 10 minutes before we stumbled upon it but only managed to earn himself 5 soles for the effort (about £1.10).
Most of the roads here are dirt tracks with only 1 paved High Street. The pavements are also full of lethal holes but still the locals manage to stroll around in their heals. I can barely keep upright in trainers! The main square is beautiful and has clearly been funded by the tourists who have flooded in since the nazca lines were discovered. Last night there was a local Market in the centre with hundreds of local people all milling about. One thing we have both noticed is how happy all the locals are. Everyone is laughing and smiling with loads of loved up couples holding hands and children happily playing with their basic toys. We both instantly felt relaxed when we arrived. Having said that there were two drunken men who got in a fight! They weren't so happy! There was a big crowd watching them until the police showed up and dragged one if them home. Then the other guy started punching someone else... If only we could speak the language we might have known what they were fighting about!
Today we plan to visit the Lines which are about 20km away so its time to get up and have breakfast!
We'll add photos when we find an Internet cafe...