The Mysterious Nazca Lines

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I can remember watching a TV documentary about the mysterious Nazca lines long before I started travelling. My Dad is a huge fan of this kind of ancient mystery and he hooked me on them as well.

Therefore, it was a very special day in my life when I stepped off the bus and set foot in the Peruvian town of Nazca for the first time. I couldn’t help thinking that my Dad would have loved to have stood there with me but the local hotel owners didn’t give me much time to get all soppy and sentimental.

They don’t hang around much here. As soon as a bus pulls in the local hotel owners rush over and try and persuade the recently arrived travellers to stay with them. I don’t normally accept this kind of invitation, as I hate to make quick decisions when I have just arrived to an unfamiliar place after a long journey. However, I knew that it was a pretty small town and that hotel options were going to be few and far between if I turned down the offers.

In the end, the hotel was decent but that hardly matters in Nazca. Every tourist who arrives to this very special place is there for just the one thing.

This is one of the driest places on Earth, which helps to explain why the lines on the ground are still there after so long. Sure enough, it didn’t rain while I was there. I can’t imagine living somewhere with an annual rainfall of 4 millimetres. Back in the UK that’s the hourly rainfall.

A Car on the Roof and a Parrot in the Cage

imagesI only discovered afterwards (while writing this, actually) that the city was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 1990s and then rebuilt again. That would explain the lack of old buildings around here and if I’m being honest it isn’t all that exciting a place to look at. On my strolls about the place the only sights of interest were a VW Beetle bizarrely parked on the roof of a house and a pet parrot in a cage. Oh, I bought a pirated Peruvian rock CD as well.

The next morning I set off to see the Nazca Lines with a lump in my throat and my breakfast nestling in my stomach. Eating a big breakfast was a bad idea, as the flight over the lines takes place in a small plane that twists and turns a lot.

Thankfully, the sights below took my mind off any thoughts of throwing up, as I struggled to make out the famous symbols such as the monkey, the spider and the spaceman. It was quite some experience.

One good tip for travellers is to buy a set of postcards of the lines. My photos were awful and I can’t imagine that many people manage to get good snaps of the lines that pass them so far below.

After seeing the lines there isn’t that much else to do. There is some sort of gold mining place which doesn’t really stick out too much in my memory so can’t have been very good. You can also check out some of the mummies that were found in the desert tombs dotted around here. Grave robbers have disturbed many of them but if you want to see some truly horrifying images check out the mummies that have been recovered.

After that, it’s time to pack up your bags and head off on the next tour of your Peruvian adventure. Nazca is the type of place you’ll probably only visit once in your life so make the most of it before you leave.

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