A Travellerspoint blog

Nazca: lines and mummies

Peru trip 2005


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large_1297706_14290886307522.jpgFirst thing next morning we booked the flight, not cheap, but a must to really see the famous Nazca lines. We shared a four-seater Cessna with the Swiss girl and the boys shared a six-seater with another couple. The pilot pointed the different figures out to us with the planes wing tip, told us a bit about it and then flew over them left tilting and right tilting so everyone could get a good look and take pictures. Now I know for sure this is the best way to see them, not the tower we visited last evening. From the air we could see the tower and yes, the tree and the thing with hands, now we know what we were looking at in the gloom. We also see the various other animal figures like monkey, hummingbird, condor and the spider. Sad to see how the Pan American highway cuts the lizards tail in two, but they say lizards can grow a new tail, right? And how could a civilisation 2000 years ago make such big straight landingstrips? I'm just not sure about the figure they call the astronaut .large_1297706_14294359101847.jpg ..

After our flight we got on our way to Chauchilla to visit the pre-Inca cemetery. They recently opened a small museum where you can see some intact mummy bundles. The cemetery itself has been plagued by grave robbers, they took the jewelry and most of the pottery and left the mummies out in the open air. Up until shortly the desert around the cemetery was was scattered with human bones and when even the tourists went running with bones (nice souvenir ???) it was decided to clean it up, but the smaller bones like parts of fingers or toes are still sticking out of the dessert sands. There is a path laid out with stones which indicates the route from one grave to the next.large_1297706_14294359192077.jpg The graves themselves are excavated in the ground and the walls are reinforced with masonry. To protect the remains in the graves there are canopies made, also great for us visitors , the sun is ruthless here.

Finally, a visit to a small gold factory (not a mine) Here they extract a little gold from a lot of rock. People just crushing rock all day to earn just a little bit money (probably not enough to live on)

Back at the hotel we enjoyed a traditionally cooked lunch, all kinds of meat with corn and potato cooked in an underground oven served with a drink called chicha morada or 'purple corn drink' After lunch we went into the town Nazca were we had a cerveza on the one and only terrace at Plaza de Armas. People like to sit inside here a lot, something to do with the sun?

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Posted by Stefmuts 01:26 Archived in Peru Tagged lines mummies nazca pathway_of_the_gods Comments (0)

Lima - Pisco - Nazca

Peru trip 2005


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large_1297706_14287627856029.jpgMiraflores, Lima, PeruOur plane landed in Lima [Lima-travel-guide-1308247] in the evening of May 14, not much else to do but meeting the group and our tour guide Raquel and get some sleep! It's only a small group, 6 and the guide, but that's good!

Next morning we had some time to look around in the Miraflores area, we couldn't go too far because the bus to Pisco [Pisco-travel-guide-904619] leaves at 12:34 so we had to be at the bus station well before that time. We walked a bit, changed some cash and did some shopping and not much more than that. A small bus picked us up at the hotel and dropped us at the bus station. The local bus had a few stops before a long boring stretch to Pisco. They put a dvd on, Hunt for red october, in spanish. The bus ride along the coast did not provide us with a great view, just lots of sand and sometimes a small glimpse of the ocean.large_1297706_14287627826311.jpg 4 long hours ...

At our hotel in Pisco we took a shower before dinner and had a drink at the bar. For dinner I tried the Lomo saltado, great dish! After dinner we took some drinks up to the roof terrace of the hotel, together with the Swiss girl. She was a bit surprised we also spoke german and the three boys from Singapore and Shanghai were even more surprised. You all speak the same language? No not exactly but we travel to germany a lot so we also speak german.

On the 16th we went for the Ballestas islands. The bus took a detour to pick up more passangers, not very comfortable because most of the roads are not paved in Pisco. At the harbour we got in to a little boat and sailed past the peninsula with the carving in the hillside called the candelabro. It is said to be made by the same people who built the Nazca [Nazca-travel-guide-903220] lines in the dessert.large_1297706_14287627845926.jpg

At the Ballestas islands there are many birds and a largesea lion colony. It's a really noisy place with lots of guano, even on all of us! The local people used to harvest the guano as fertilizer but since the islands are protected it's illegal.

After the boat trip we got on the bus again for the long drive to Nazca. We had some nice stops though! First one at the Picasso winery and pisco brewery, we got to try the wines and of course the pisco.

Lunch at Huacachina [Huacachina-travel-guide-899382], an oasis in the dessert looking like something out of a storybook, complete with the lake and palm trees. We could go sandboarding after lunch but I rather walk around in this wonderful place. The boys did go sandboarding and they complained about sand in their everything the whole way to Nazca.large_1297706_14287627874039.jpg

It was already getting dark when we got to the Nazca area. Our driver wanted to show us the lines at a viewing tower so he drove fast and at the tower he ran out and up the stairs to see if there was still enough light to see it. He shouted from the tower that we had to hurry, so we did. We did see some lines but non of us could make out the whole shape so we just had to trust the driver that we were looking at a tree and a figure with hands. At that moment we all decided to get on a plane tomorrow to see the lines. Our driver told us some of the history of the lines before we went down and on the bus again.

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Posted by Stefmuts 01:24 Archived in Peru Tagged lima nazca pisco Comments (0)

Citytrip Beijing

7 days City trip

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I have some catching up to do with my travel blogs, but I don't want you to miss out on some of my trips. Beijing [Beijing-travel-guide-208144] might have changed a lot since the olympics so if you plan a trip there this blog might not be accurate enough but maybe it can give you ideas on things to see or do. When I told at work I was going there one colleague said 'oh nice! going to a warm country' not knowing Beijing in ferbruari is freezing! Why go in februari then? Well, my aunt got the offer from a travel company she ones traveled with and she asked me if I would like to come along. We had 7 days with a group of 17 on a tight schedule, but on arrival we first had the chance to acclimatize a bit and we used that time to go to the nearest supermarket. Crossing the streets in Beijing is a bit tricky, we found out the best way is to just start walking and look determined.
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Dinner is served on a glass turntable, all kinds of food and all delicious!
Next morning we go to the forbidden City, its very cold but that means little tourist. We start the tour walking like sheep behind our guide with his little blue flag, we all felt dumb, but we had little choice. We did get some time to explore on our own as well. Next is coffee at a souvenir shop (mandatory), then Tiananmen Square. We tried to get our guide to talk about the protests of 1989, but he dodged to answer all questions. After a bit it's back on the bus to go to the Temple of Heaven. This temple has a beautiful blue roof and it is said you can ask questions to the gods here, some of our group tried but got no answer.
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After that we got some time for souvenir shopping and then dinner: hot pot, a kind of chinese fondue.

Due to the foggy weather the next morning we first went to a Jade factory (yes, we bought some) Then the sacred road. It's a beautiful area and we were the only ones there. You can visit all the Ming tombs but we only had time for one, Changling. Then another factory, cloisonne (we didn't buy some). Unfortunately it still was foggy but next on the list was the Great Wall at Badaling [Badaling-travel-guide-1309487], it was crowded and you couldn't see very far, pity! We bought some t-shirts, bargaining of course!

Today we went to theTemple of Azure Clouds or Biyunsi, very beautiful buddhist temple! Long stairs bring you to the top where the temple look pretty Indian.
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There is a room with 500 buddah statues, I didn't count them all but there are lots! Then again a factory, pears this time. Then off to the summer palace. This is huge, we could have spent the whole day but we didn't have that much time. Pity it was foggy again, there would have been beautiful views. In the evening we went to the Chinese opera. Thats something else, anyone who thinks about going to see that, bring ear plugs! Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have wanted to miss that! The costumes and makeup are great and it's really a show!

Another day of sightseeing starting with the temple of Confucius and then a bit further down the road the Lama temple. On our way there, walking behind the guide with his flag, we heard music coming from a building besides the road.large_1297706_1417353211793.jpg
Us curious people went to the window and looked inside. A local opera group was rehearsing. They saw us and one of the singers came outside to invite us in. While our guide walked on the whole group disappeared inside, it must have been a scare for him to lose a whole group of tourists. It didn't take him long to find us though. At the lama temple there is a huge statue of buddha, wasn't allowed to take pictures of it. After that shopping at the silk market, which is more like a cotton market with lots of fake brand clothes, if you go there beware, it's mostly illegal stuff! For dinner we were on our own this time, guide had an evening off. My aunt and I went to the restaurant at the library, good food and ridiculously cheap.

Today we had a full day off so we got up at 6:15 (!) to go to the park and see the locals do their Tai Chi.large_1297706_14173532121216.jpg
Today the air is clear so we plan a trip to the Great Wall, not at Badaling again but at Mutianyu [Mutianyu-travel-guide-1328445], our guide wrote us a note for the taxi driver (hardly any speak English), we asked the group if anyone would like to join us (two of them would like to) and we went on our way. It was great! The driver had to ask locals for directions but when we got there we almost had the Wall for ourselves. And the view was great ! We spent the whole day there, walking around, buying souvenirs, ordering lunch with hand and feet and after that the same taxi driver brought us back at the hotel.

Our last day we visited a hutong, a traditional residential area. We went there by pedicab, visited a school, one of the homes and some old people put up a show for us. Then the drum tower and the Bell tower en after that the tea ceremony.large_1297706_14173532123539.jpg
Again those Dutch people try to ask all kind of strange things, if the girl has a boyfriend or maybe even a girlfriend? The girl didn't even believe something like that exists. In the afternoon we visited Beihai park and we had our last group diner at the famous roast duck restaurant (you can get the ducks heads roasted on a stick at the back door) Next morning long flight home, sadly

Note: back in 2004 I didn't have a digital camera yet so all the pictures are scanned (hell of a job btw)

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Posted by Stefmuts 23:53 Archived in China Tagged landscapes food culture city_trip analog_photo Comments (0)

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