We missed a day blogging because we ended up staying in a place on the beach that had no wifi or cell service. Puerto Inca was rustic, but amazing - a hotel set in its own bay 100 feet from the ruins of an Incan village, we could see the ruins from our balcony!
We left our hotel at 8:30 yesterday morning and headed an hour east to Huacachina, which is an honest to goodness oasis set in the middle of the desert (see the picture above). This town is on the "Gringo Trail" and has seen better days, but its claim to fame today are the dune buggy rides over the dunes at high speeds, as well as the opportunity to snowboard down some of the dunes.
We took one of these tours and had a great time bouncing up over and across the dunes - it was truly amazing! I also tried "sandboarding" down one of the dunes, but evrntually settled on riding down face first - the grit of the sand really slows down the board...
After our tour, we headed south to Nazca, home to one of the true wonders of the world, the Nazca Lines. Flying over Nazca in 1939, a private pilot discovered all sorts of shapes seemingly carved into the landscape. These shapes included a giant condor, a parrot, a tree and a pair of hands, some over a kilometre in length but proportionally correct. Turns out, the Nazca culture started making these shapes in the earth 700 years before Christ, and continued for several hundred more years. There are hundreds of figures and shapes all over the valley floor.
The only way to really see the lines in person is to get aboard an airplane - so we chartered a Cessna 172 with two pilots (Bob was in his glory) and took a 45 minute flight over the Lines. Definitely a highlight of the trip so far!
After that we drove another 200 Kms to the aforementioned Puerto Inca, where we spent the night.
This morning we were up at 6:00, and drove another 350 Kms to Arequipa, where we plan to stay 2 nights.
Starting tomorrow, I will attempt to climb El Misti, a 5,800 metre peak (19,100 feet) over the next two days. I'm not sure how this will go as I have been sitting in a car for the better part of a week not really acclimatizing, but I'll do my best and we will see what happens. I will bring the SPOT with me so you can track my progress (or lack thereof).
As I will be on the mountain tomorrow, it might be a couple of days until the next blog post. However, a big Happy Birthday to my two favourite Roberts - my son Robert turns 7 today, and my travel companion has his birthday tomorrow (his birthday has a 7 in it also, but that's all I'm saying!).
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain