Leaving the Coast for the Andes
Lima Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
In Lima I toured San Francisco Church. There were lots of hip, skull and leg bones in the church catacombs. I liked the wooden dome roof above a staircase and the library with the old books and spiral stairs. The religious artwork did not seem to have as much indigenous themes. I liked the Last Supper painting with Jesus which depicted the disciples as eating chilies and guinea pig and the angels above having parrot wings.
Tuesday we went to Paracus. It has some stunning lookout points of the ocean, cliffs and sand dunes. We went on a boat trip around Ballestas Islands. We saw Penguins, seals, sea lions, dolphins and lots of birds. The birds included pelicans, terns, boobies and guanay cormorants. They were collecting bird droppings off the top of the cliffs to use as farm fertilizer - done every 7 years.
After the boat trip we drove to Nazca. I took a 40 minute flight over the Nazca Lines. I was nearly sick as the flight had lots of turbulence while circling around so each side of the plane could view the shapes. They were really difficult to spot even though they are up to 90m in length. They were not discovered until the 1920s and there is a highway through the middle of one. My favourite was the hummingbird although the monkey was very cool. Afterwards we watched a video on how they could have been developed. Some people believe they were created by aliens. The more believable theory is that they were created by the Nazca people for their gods
during a 40 year drought. They walked in a single line to develop the shapes - apparently you can visualize a shape in your mind when you walk it - although they seem too perfect when viewed from the air. The large trapezoids point to water sources. The animals and plants are considered important by Shamans eg parrot. I do not think the astronaut shape is genuine - only shape on a hill and not a single line. Afterwards we chilled by the hostel pool.
From Nazca we took a small trip to Chauchilla to look at the Inca mummies. They even mummified babies. The braided hair looks cool. The site is not really preserved - bits of pottery and bones lying everywhere. I would have
liked to know the dates of all the mummies as the cloth seemed different. I admire how the Incas bury their dead in the foetal position.
I am currently in Arequipa (2000m). We are all dizzy from the increase in altitude. This morning I went to the Monastry of Santa Catalina. The walls were painted amazing shades of blue, red and orange. The paintings and architecture were an excellent example of the mix between South American and Spanish Cultures. I was surprised some nuns had their own large rooms with a small bed, lots of cupboards, tables, chairs and a private kitchen. It was a shared bathing area (we are in the middle of the desert after all). I only
saw one toilet which looked like a throne. There was a great view of the city and El Misti Volcano.
Travel with Green Toad Bus to backpack South America the way you want to travel it.