More photos added!
A six o’clock start from Arica to beat the customs queue and for the 550 Kms to Arequipa.
Surprisingly the queue isn’t as long as I feared and it ONLY took 2.5 hours!
Actually It reached a new low…… Believe it or not I was actually CHARGED for the form!….I patiently stood in the queue and reached the front only to be told I needed this form. To get it I had to go to the second floor. I went up to the second floor only to find a canteen!
I found some offices nearby and asked where I was supposed to get this form and was directed back to the canteen where this guy with a mop sold me a form! Dodgy? Probably but they must all have been in it! Incidentally, I have been in and out of Chile about six times but this form was new to me!
Azulo purred all the way through the desert to Arequipa where I checked into a fabulous Hostel run by a Dutch lady. It was almost like a Hilton Hotel except it cost $20 per night for a very nice room. The only drawback was the owner NEVER stopped talking!
My two Canadian ladies from Arica, Charlene and Jan were there also and we spent a nice day looking at the sites and having two very nice dinners. I had a wonderful Duck with FOUR sauces. Brilliant. The best meal so far in South America! With three Pisco Sours, a glass of wine…all for $25.00
Arequiba is a lovely old Colonial town with fine buildings, a huge main square and a Convent dating back to 1540.
The Convent is huge and very beautiful. Almost a City within a City like the Vatican. The Nuns made themselves a good life, each with a delightful “house” …they call them “cells” but they certainly aren’t that. Apparently the Pope thought they had it too good so he put a stop to it!
I went to the Museum (Museo Santuarios Andinos) where they are showing a frozen Inca girl (Juanita) who was sacrificed to the gods and left on top of a mountain (Ampato Volcano) some 500 years ago. She was only found about 15 years ago. She is frozen and not a mummy. She was hit on the temple and left there. All her clothes and ornaments are there. Poor little thing. She was only about 12. Very sad.
Next I rode to Nazca to see the lines. it was a nice drive once I hit the coast. Lots of lovely bends and fine coastal scenery.
I took a flight over the lines but I have to say I was slightly underwhelmed.
The lines are fairly hard to see as the land is crisscrossed with four wheel drive and other tracks. The actual Nazca “line” in the photo is a frog
The photos in magazines are much better than the reality. Still they are amazing and it was good to see them
This afternoon I went on another tour to see the Chauchilla Cemetery. This is basically a huge area where the Pre-Incas buried their dead. There are literally thousands of graves unopened. It’s amazing, as you walk along a path, there are bits of 2000 year old pottery all over the place and bits of cloth that show through. You tug on the cloth and hope a head doesn’t come up!
This is NOT a museum, It is a Pre-Incan Cemetery in open land and it is open to the elements (it doesn’t rain here though) They have the graves open for viewing. They are going to cover the graves with glass, as, believe it or not, people jump in the graves to get a photo! What is wrong with them!
Next stop Lima and a service for Azulo