21.10.16 – 26.10.16
Unbelievable, but it’s the end of October, which means it’s getting colder and colder at home – fall has begun, the days are shorter, nights are cold…and we sit on our hostel balcony in shorts and Tshirt, enjoying the ocean view. 🙂
As you can imagine, we haven’t regretted our decision to quit our jobs and our apartment once. Of course, we both do crave for some mum-homemade-food or just simple good bread, but all in all we arranged well with the Peruvian cuisine and after some time of trying a vegetarian way of life, we slowly get back to eating meat. And at the coast we obviously enjoy seafood, for example in Paracas!
Paracas is a very tiny village at the ocean, which doesn’t offer a lot. For us it was rather a short rest after our hiking days in Huaraz. And we wanted to enjoy the sun a little bit longer. 😉 The first activity for both of us was a morning trip by boat to the “Islas Ballestas”, the so called cheap version of the Galapagos. Funny. 🙂 But we were surprised how many sea lions we saw in the end! They gathered around the rocks and even big males with their 5 females watched us curiously. Thousands of birds flew around our heads, the boat ride was impressive. Later this day Jakub decided to visit the Paracas National Park, which included a visit to the red beach. The next 2 days we mostly spent on planning further our trip.
Our next destination was then Huacachina, again a very small place being famous for its location: it’s an oasis in the middle of the desert! The only thing this village had to offer was a ride with the buggy and sandboarding – we had to try it. 🙂 Late in the afternoon we started the ride with this huge selfmade buggy. You cannot imagine how bumpy a sandy road can be when you speed through the dunes in such a vehicle! We were screaming and laughing at the same time and the driver kept making his buggy jump through the desert. Stopping at a very steep dune, we got our wooden boards and while we were still wondering how the hell we would make it down that hill safely and without being injured, the first person in our group was already sliding down…head first…OMG. What a crazy adventure! It was not as fast as we thought it would be since the sand brakes you down a lot, but still thrilling enough to try it again and again. 🙂 As the sun set we sat on the dunes, enjoying the beautiful sky and the illuminated oasis.
The next day we caught a bus in the morning to Nazca. This place is actually very famous – in 1932 , archaeologists found some very characteristic lines, the so called Nazca lines. Additionally, when air traffic became more popular pilots spotted the lines in the desert of Nazca which looked a lot like figures or animals. It turned out that the ancient population of the Nazca had created these lines in the dry desert sand, without actually seeing what they will look like in the end! The people must have been very intelligent, since the lines are so straight that the creation of such had only been possible with mathematical knowledge. Still, scientists are not sure why they “drew” these lines – assumptions vary from astrological to religious reasons. For tourists, the city offers flights over the Nazca lines in small Cessna airplanes and since it was Jakubs big dream to do it, we booked a flight! 🙂 Reading some recommendations, we skipped breakfast the next morning – the flight can be very bumpy and unusual for your stomach. After waiting at the small airport until the fog has vanished, we finally boarded the plane together with 4 more people and up we went. What a feeling!! Being in such a small airplane you feel every change in wind, every curve we flew goes directly in your stomach…but it was thrilling, amazing, wonderful, awesome, incredible. 🙂 The first figures we saw were smaller than we thought and you needed to look very closely to spot them in the desert. Nevertheless, we saw all 12 animals and as the flight ended, we had 2 full vomit bags from not so well feeling passengers and 4 big grins from happy passengers (we were the happy ones). 😉
In the afternoon, we booked a guided tour to Cahuachi because we wanted to learn more about the culture of the Nazca. This place used to be a major ceremonial center of the, based from 1 AD to about 500 AD in the coastal area of the Central Andes. The site contains over 40 mounds topped with adobe structures. Scientists believe that it was a pilgrimage center, whose population increased greatly in relation to major ceremonial events [source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cahuachi]. Interestingly, the Nazca built very smart water wells the people nowadays in Nazca still take water from.
Some crazy days ended and we looked forward to board our night bus which would drive us for the next 14 hours to Cusco. There, Machu Picchu is waiting for us, one of the big highlights of our trip and something we looked forward to from the beginning…woohoo!
Oh, and after our time in Latin America, we should actually count the hours we spent on buses – feels like we have spent half of the trip in mini vans, long distance buses, transporters,… 😉 That just belongs to our trip I guess!