Time to go to a new place...

Trip Start May 08, 2013
Trip End Sep 30, 2013

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Yesterday Andrew and I left Huacachina - one of our favourite places of the trip so far - to continue our journey to Nasca then Arequipa.

Our first bus journey of the day was a short two-hour hop to Nasca, where we had 7 hours to kill until our night time bus to Arequipa. The Nasca Lines are known all over the world - ancient geoglyphs in the desert. They were made around 1200 years ago and still remain in tact. This is due to the relatively stable climate there. There are many lines (over 8000 as we found out later) and around 70 are shapes of animals. These would have been made by removing the red pebbles to reveal sand underneath, and continuing this to form a picture. Impressive as some are hundreds of feet across, so I think it would have been difficult to keep track of what the picture was supposed to be! We decided not to spend the night in Nasca, as really the only thing to do there is fly over the lines - an activity which is pretty dangerous due to unsafe aircraft. Anyway we had read online that one of the better hotels offers a day pass to its swimming pool for S/.30. This included a lunch with juice, luggage storage, wifi, swimming and lovely hot showers - which turned out to be the best showers of the trip! Lovely stable hot water for 15 minutes - I had almost forgotten what it's like to have hot water!

We had a lovely lunch then had a dip in the freezing cold swimming pool. Unsurprisingly, Andrew and I were the only people anywhere near it. We joked that the locals were probably thinking 'look at those gringos, swimming outside in the middle of winter!'.

Hotel Nasca Lines runs a talk and a visit to the planetarium every evening but unfortunately due to technical problems this didn't go ahead. We did however get a small talk from the man in charge who informed us that there are over eight thousand lines! Crazy. We also went to the bedroom of Maria Reiche - a german archeologist who spent most of her life researching the lines - as she lived in that hotel for 25 years of her life while doing research.

Since that was finished a little earlier than we had thought, we gathered up our luggage and went along to Roky's chicken restaurant next door to the bus station. Half a chicken and chips later, Andrew and I were on our way again and sitting in a small waiting room at the Oltursa booking office for our bus to Arequipa. We splashed out on VIP tickets for this bus journey as we knew it would be a bumpy 10 hour ride. We had seats on the lower floor which reclined to 170 degrees - so almost flat like a bed! I made the mistake of watching out of the window as I could hear a lot of cars blowing their horns - the bus driver was speeding his way along the road, swerving in and out of traffic and the cars were blowing horns at him!! I decided to have an extra travel sickness tablet, just in case, and was asleep in no time. It wasn't doing anyone any favours by me watching this ordeal out the window. Every two hours or so I would wake up with a bump, but I did end up sleeping a lot of it. Thank goodness.

On arrival into Arequipa we found an older taxi driver (apparently safer to pick the older drivers) and arrived at Amazing Home Arequipa where we are staying for two nights. They allowed early check in (at 8.30am!) and gave us breakfast. We didn't know initially, but the girl in charge had put us in the wrong room, as she had mistakenly given our room away to someone else. This meant we had to change rooms later in the day once she realised her mistake - but we got an upgrade out of it to a bigger room with ensuite bathroom! Win!

Arequipa is my first time at high altitude so I wasn't really sure what it would feel like. It is only 2300m above sea level, so it's really not that high considering we will be climbing to 4500m over the next few weeks. Andrew and I are both a little breathless and tired but we have been out for food and a short walk.
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