After a 10 hour bus ride, we arrived wearily in Nazca at approximately 9.30pm. For 50PEN (equivalent of $20.00AUD) you can buy a whole roasted BBQ chicken, large salad and a serve of chips which four people could not finish. Whether it was the cooking or our hunger we are not sure, but it was definitely a meal to remember!
The next day we geared ourselves for adventure. We went to the Nazca Line Platform lookout to see the ancient Nazca lines. These lines were discovered in 1935 and go back to the Nazca period which was before Christ. There are numerous theories as to why the Nazca people drew these lines, but no anthropologist has been able to conclusively determine the age, or reason behind these lines. Our favourite theory was that the Nazca people were communicating with their God. These lines span kilometres and are each reflective of cultural drawings such as the tree of life, and the condor bird.
In the afternoon we went on a dune buggy ride into the Nazca desert. We saw the Nazca aqueducts which were built before Christ and are still a method of moving water for the people of Nazca today. Next stop was the Cahuachi Pyramid which dates back to 200 years before Christ (or older). Walking around this desert pyramid you can find bones of those who were sacrificed or buried in the area. Finally, for some thrilling adventure, we went sand boarding down the sand dunes of Nazca desert. This afternoon tour is highly recommended for anyone travelling to Nazca, and can be arranged through your hotel.
The next day, after a 10 hour overnight bus, we arrived Arequipa, the white city. This city gets its name as it was built using stone from volcanic ash which is white in colour. We spent the day walking around the town, visiting local churches, local markets to sample exotic fruits in an attempt to immerse ourselves into the local culture. We also went to the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. This Monestary is also known as a city within the city as it was a self contained covenant with little outside intervention during it’s hay day. During the 16th century the nuns were expected to pray 10 hours a day isolation. When it was established, the law required all families to send their second born daughter to this Monastery to become a nun. If the daughter refused, she would often be rejected by her family. They chose the second born daughter, as the first daughter’s duty was to secure a marriage to a wealthy man so that the family could ensure their fortune. Walking around this monastery you can see Colonial architecture due to the Spanish influence. It was truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever been; the colours so vibrant and well preserved!
Slightly before sunset, we walked to Mirador. Here we saw a spectacular view of city, with a backdrop of the surrounding volcanoes. This was definitely worth the walk!
Finally, we finished the day with a delicious meal of Alpaca. It tastes like a mix between lamb and beef and was very tender. Worth a try should you ever visit Peru!
Next stop Chivay and then Cusco!
Until next time,
DT and AP