On my final day in Cusco I decided to get a walking tour to see some more of the sights. There are plenty of free ones on offer in the main plaza, you just need to tip your guide at the end.
Our guide Marco took us to some of the oldest stone foundations in the city and explained about the city plan being laid out like a Puma.
We were taken to a bit of a touristy square where there was a guy dressed as an inca king and a woman with three or four alpacas and a llama. The guy in traditional dress let me try on an Inca process crown and then he played a variety of traditional musical instruments.
He even dressed me up with a shawl and a staff so I looked more of the part!
I had a lazy lunch of tequenos (cheese filled wonton with ham and guacamole) and watched the world go by before returning to the hostel for a quick catch up on social media.
Next was the bus, a killer 14 hour ride to Nasca overnight. It was pretty full and I don’t think the seats are built with tall Europeans in mind, even if they do almost fully recline.. I spent the night fidgeting and swapping from one side to the other trying to get comfortable but all in all it wasn’t so bad for such a long journey. Going for a pee on a bus doing hairpins on the other hand was quite an experience, especially at around 3am…
I arrived in Nasca at 830 this morning, and damn it was already hot. There were tours available from the hostel, but I headed straight to check out the bus times for Lima, and it was a good job I did!
In cusco I was told there was an 0810 service on Friday morning, arriving in Lima at around 3pm, perfect for my flight. But.. the lady here told me they don’t stop in the morning as it’s a straight through from Cusco and the traffic makes it bad for them to keep time. So I found myself booking onto a same day bus 1630 which will get me into Lima around midnight, so yet another hostel and taxi ride is in order.
The hotel in Nasca was hot and stuffy, the streets were much more crowded and the town was much less touristy. I tried to get on a tour to the naca lines but they leave at 10ish or 3ish, so no good for me. Instead at the bus station I met a friendly driver who agreed to drive me the 24km out of town and back for 50 soles (about 15 euros). I was trying to get a returning bus, but you can only get dropped off and then you’re stuck in the desert on the Pan American highway trying to hitch back to town. So thank god for Eduardo the driver, whose English was really good, as he explained a bit about the site as we headed out into the desert.
I can see what Paula meant in her over lander blog now about this road being the “long way brown” it was very straight and pretty featureless.
First stop was a hillside just before the observation tower which I hiked up in my sandals. Not the best choice of footwear!
You can only see a few lines and angles from this point but still, I was happy to actually have made it there after so long thinking about it. From the observation tower (which I was surprised to find had no visitor centre, just a guard and some nick nack sellers) you can see two of the lines clearly- the tree and the hands. There are apparently around 300 drawings in the 500km square site, and even from a plane you can’t see them all.
I didn’t fancy feeling air sick, so getting this quick cab ride and a glimpse at a few of the lines was plenty, especially as temperatures were beginning to soar around midday.
It’s a real shame there’s no more information there, a bit of a let down for such an historic site and also considering the amount of people that visit, but the theat seems to be Peru all over – a bit of a job half done.
I’m back on the bus again, travelling to Lima, still finding it funny watching people look confused at why I’m travelling with a bike bag. These guys had a hard time loading it into the coach.
Next stop Lima, which means the end to my journey and the long flight home. At least I’m out of the heat and in air conditioning, and it’s a safe way to travel. One odd thing on the coach – they video all the passenger’s faces before you set off… (?)
So it’s almost adios to Peru, it’s been a short but fun packed visit, with incredible biking, some great people and an all round eye opener of a trip. Maybe I’ll come back to see more another time, maybe I’ll head somewhere totally different. There’s an avalanche race on Reunion Island..just saying 😜