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Drinking Baby Makers and Flying High

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At 10am we boarded our coach and made the 4 hour drive south towards Ica and the Huacachina Winery. The drive went surprisingly quick and we reached our first stop within 3.5 hours. As it was approaching lunchtime, everyone was ready to do some wine and pisco tasting. After a quick tour and explanation of how the pisco is made, we settled down to work our way through the tastings. At 41% the pure pisco tasted something similar to Sambuca, which I hated and Lynden ended up having to do double shots of. What we did like though was the crème liquor and the rosé that the winery produced (named the baby maker) and of course that meant we had to buy a bottle of each!

After a very boozy liquid lunch, it was time to get back on the coach and continue our drive south. An hour later we arrived in Ica at an Oasis in the middle of some sand dunes. Unfortunately the natural oasis has been turned into a tourist attraction so it isn’t as beautiful as it would have once been. The group then had the option to go sand boarding or stay at the local resort and chill in the pool. The 3 couples all decided it needed to be a pool day, so we kicked back and watched the rest of group head off to get sandy. Lunch at the resort was a ridiculous size (as we have found with most meals since we arrived in Peru) the plates were piled high with the local cuisine and 1 plate could easily have fed 3 people. One of the most popular dishes in Peru is called ‘Salta Lomato’ which is beef tenderloins stir fried with capsicum, onion and tomato and then served with rice AND fries. We have been salta lomato’ed out since we arrived, so opted to have mixed kebabs (which still came with rice) and then beef wrapped in bacon served with vegetables. The total cost of our lunch inc a large beer came to just $30 – bargain!

After lunch our drive continued into the town of Nasca, where we would be staying for the night. When we arrived at our hotel, it was like walking into an abandoned ranch from the 80’s and we were all convinced we were staying in a horror movie and would one by one be murdered over the evening. However it was quiet, the rooms were huge, there was hot water and a fan, so we couldn’t really complain. We all had dinner together in the creepy empty dining room, even though we were all still stuffed for lunch. I ordered the omelet, which shock horror was served on top of a giant bed of rice. The rest of the evening was filled with card games and Lynden and I drinking our way through both the bottles we bought from the winery.

In the morning, we were up early to take a private flight ride over the Nasca lines, which I can only describe as the Inca’s versions of the chalk horses in England. Very little is known about the lines, but there are more than 300 white picture drawings around the region. Our plane was tiny and only held 6 passengers and 2 pilots, we were both excited to take the flight, but within about 10 minutes we all started to feel like we were taking a ride in a red arrows stunt plane. The pilot wanted everyone to see the drawings, so he would fly past and say ‘ok the monkey is on the right’ and then tip the plane almost sideways so we were looking down directly over it, then he would say ‘ok now the monkey is on the left’ and do what felt like a hand brake turn and then tip the plane again. We saw 12 of the Nasca line drawings and in between drawings I had to close my eyes and try to meditate to stop myself from throwing up all over everyone. Lynden said he looked over at me at one point and I was white as a sheet and had sweat pouring down my face BUT I wasn’t sick, unlike 3 of the other people sat behind me, so I did feel pretty proud of myself for surviving the flight. However the motion sickness exhausted me and I had to go back and sleep it off. I am glad I took the flight and saw the lines from above, but you are never getting me back in that plane again!

For lunch, the ranch cooked a traditional highland style meal, which was prepared by digging a hole in the ground, filling it with rocks and a fire, leaving it for 2 hours to get hot, adding the meats, potatoes and vegetables and slow cooking for approx. 40 minutes. The results…ummm dry meat, semi-cooked potatoes, bland corn and a burnt green bean…it was edible, an interesting experience and thank god not a rice grain in sight, but I don’t think we would opt to eat it again.

At 3pm we all headed to a cemetery…yes it sounds like a weird one, but this was a 600-1000 year old Inca cemetery, which was home to approx. 15 preserved mummies. It was nothing like we imagined, it was literally a desert, as all the tombs were buried underground, but sadly grave robbers had destroyed most of the tombs, stolen the valuables and just left the mummies. Unfortunately left exposed to the elements they have begun to deteriorate, even with the sun and wind shades that have been constructed to try and preserve them. The history was still fascinating to learn about the Incas traditions and rituals though and their mummification process - in short they cut the tendons on the arm and behind the knee (which drained the blood from the body and allowed them to be sat in the fetal position), then they were sat on a weaved rope base and covered in herbs (to keep the insects away), clay and sand, then wrapped in blankets and had a rope robe stitched around them and placed into the tomb.

After a very busy day, we returned to the ranch, freshened up, grabbed our bags and headed into the town to board the night bus and make the 10 hour overnight journey South.

Next stop Arequipa.

Posted by sdyzart 06:39 Archived in Peru Tagged landscapes honeymoon travel peru nasca ica southamerica

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