We left Huacachina in the afternoon to go into the actual city of Ica for a pisco bodega tour. We went to an artesan pisco bodega (which is a winery- felt strange since I grew up in Napa but very interesting) and we learned about how pisco is produced and had tastings afterwards. The tour was at El Catador bodega which began pisco production in 1856. We learned that there are eight different grapes used for pisco in Peru and there are three types of pisco, the only one I remember though was mosto verde. Mosto verde has the name because the grapes used are green and not quite ripe yet which gives it a unique flavor. For another type of pisco only one kind of grape is used but for the third one they use seven types of grapes to create a particular pisco.
After the Spanish arrival (conquest really) they introduced grapes to the region in 1534. Apparently there are debates between Peruvians and Chileans as to where pisco originated from, but we were told that pisco in fact did originate in Peru. It was interesting to learn about the production and I will admit the tastings were not a highlight for me. We tried about ten different pisco drinks and I tried a sip of each but the rest I gave to Michelle haha. The pure pisco though was 42% proof and it smelled like pure rubbing alcohol, overall it was too much for me. I am a strange mid twenties person since alcohol just does not taste good at all to me ha.
So after we finished our bodega tour we hopped back on the bus and headed to Nazca to see some of the Nazca lines from a tower viewing station. It would have been amazing to fly over them but flights were around $90 USD for about 15 minutes of flight which is just too much to pay. But when we got to the tower we were able to see some of the lines and the shapes they made.
There are many theories as to why the Nazca people created the lines in the first place. These people pre-dated the Inca so not much is known but there are three main theories: one is that the lines and symbols represent the largest calendar in the world and are aligned with solstices and equinoxes, second coincides with the constellations and astronomy and third theory is that they potentially created them to communicate to higher powers or alien beings. There are people who even believe that the Nazca people had the ability of flight but no one is quite sure how.
For me learning about all the history from pre-Columbus time/before the Spanish arrival is one of my favorite parts about being down here. I studied quite a bit about Mesoamerican history and about the Inca but there were so many other cultures in this region before the Inca, in fact the Inca people were truly a mix of several prior cultures. So seeing what these people created hundreds or thousands of years ago is truly astonishing.
Leaving Nazca was bittersweet though I'll admit. I love seeing new areas but our guide also told us that only four months ago, Nazca was unsafe not just for tourists but anyone really. Basically, the locals were being screwed over by the government and mining industry (shocker!) and in response the citizens of Nazca rioted for weeks and were even finding buses from a particular bus line (Oltrusa) and tipping them over or setting them on fire. The least they would do to the buses was paint over them with words in favor of their protests. But when we drove through Nazca, we had no issues. We ate dinner in the town and afterwards took an overnight bus to Arequipa, which was bloody dreadful. But made it to Arequipa safe and sound, now off to the Colca Canyon and to see some Andean Condors. :)