Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Nazca Lines

Panoramic of the lines from the small hill
Another 5 hour bus journey brought us into Nazca late into the night, we were greeted at the bus station by the hostel owner. the hostel itself was very basic and actually felt a little but like it may have been a former prison, as the doors were bars covered in plywood, it isn't a former prison.
We booked a tour for the next morning to take us out to the famous Nazca Lines.
When the tour bloke turned up, at 10am, right on time, we were surprised to find it was a personal tour, so just us and the driver (who spoke English perfectly, and also spoke French, Japanese and was learning German), it was about a 20 minute drive along the panamerican highway to the viewing site for the lines. The panamerican highway, our guide told us, is the longest highway in the world, stretching from Alaska to Chile! 

On the hill overlooking the lines

We stopped at a hill which we climbed to get a better view of the lines not very high but it was still enough to give us a view of the summer and winter solstice lines, and then he drove us a little further up the highways (which cuts through the lines!) to a viewing tower which we paid 2 soles to climb, and from this platform we could see the 'Tree' and the 'Frog' - two of the thousands of line formations on these plains.

The Tree

It's amazing how they were made and no one knows for sure why they were made though there are many theories, and what is even more amazing is the German woman, Maria Reiche who dedicated most of her life, unpaid, to clean the lines with pretty much just a broom, until her death in 1998, no one has picked up her cause and the lines are slowly covering over again with pollution and dust. According to our guide the government has no plans to restore them as they are happy enough to take the tourism money. There are no guards watching over the lines, there used to be, Maria paid them herself from the money she made talking at seminars and from proceeds of her book she wrote on her theories on the lines, though she herself lived in a very modest one room house in a village near the lines.

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