Fruits, vineyards and a nail

Valparaiso to Santa Cruz

We left Valparaiso and followed the route “Ruta fruta”, as they call it since all kind of fruits are grown here. Momentarily there is strawberry time. And everywhere they offered big baskets of these bright red fruits. We did not buy any though (I guess we thought we would buy them later till we finally had left the area… a mistake I keep doing repeatedly on my travels).

Instead we got into an area, which was full of vineyards. Grape vines everywhere. It was steaming hot, even though we had been freezing just a few hours before on the coast where the wind blows from the icy cold pacific.

But inland the Heat.Was.On.

It was not far to our destination when we passed this fantastic house in the middle of the vineyards. We stopped and quickly decided to stay here for the night.

The owners grow and sell grapes to the surrounding vineries. We had a fantastic view on the fields. A short swim in the nice little pool cooled us down.

After my swim I realized I had a flat tire. I located a 3cm nail sticking out of my rear tire. I decided that this would be a quick fix and disassembled the rear wheel. But when it came to take the tire off the rim it just wouldn’t work how I expected.

I used all the tricks I knew and had heard of. But it was too tight. Even with the help off the receptionist, a massive 1,5m crow-bar, mother gravity and his weight of approximately-pretty-much we didn’t get the tire off the rim. The whole action was accompanied by a wide variety of German and dialect curses (such as “godverdamminomool”), intranslatable …). But then I was told there is a vulcanizador just around the corner and so I brought the wheel there the next morning and with the right machines it was off in not time. In South America a lot of tires get repaired, other than in Germany. The profession is called vulcanizador, so this was the right guy to go to. He got everything fixed within a few minutes and we were off the road again.

Long lines

We hit the road before midday and stayed on the PanAm which is a road with not too much traffic here. As the rest of the coast of Peru, the area is very dry. If it is not sandy it consists of dry rocks on both sides of the road. The wind blows the fine sand over the road in straight lines. These thin lines get disturbed when Christy is passing through. The turbulences of her bike makes the sand dance around the street for some time before the wind forces them in a straight line from right to left again.

The black line of the PanAm that is cutting through these different shades of brown and yellow is a fantastic picture and we stop frequently since the shapes and colors of the desert change a lot.

It gets more hilly after a while and finally the PanAm lowers through a couple of river valleys. In one of the valleys we take a short dirt road that brings us to the first signs of the Nazca geoglyphes. We ride up a little hill and continue walking for a short while until we get to a place where we have a great view. We are all alone here. Nobody else. It is quite and peaceful here.

We continue the PanAm and after it leads out of a small valley we suddenly find ourselves in a large plane. Little black rocks cover the ground till the horizon. The road is perfectly straight for as long as you can see.

Suddenly I notice something on our right side. I stop and turn around to have a better view. And indeed, I have just crossed one of the Nazca lines. I stand there watching the line. It is approx. 3m wide and maybe 10cm deep, continues on both side of the road to eternity as it seems.

The Nazca lines are most known for its figures. But in fact there are thousands of long lines, some lasting for a couple of kilometers. The reason for why these lines where drawn is unknown. It is just a mistery. And here I stand, looking at it right in front of me.

We continue to a small tower that is standing next to the road. From it’s top you have a great view on three figures. I have seen pictures of these images a million times. But I was surprised how small they look in real live. And the lines are really thin (approx. 20cm wide).

We continued to a little hill from which many of the long lines start (or end). We climbed it and had a perfect view along these long geometrical shapes. It was already 5o’clock and the low sun threw perfect shadows over the edges of the lines.

We looked for a hotel and ended up in a pretty fancy place: Nazca Lines Hotel. Maria Reiche, the main researcher of the Nazca lines lived here for more than 30 years until she died. The hotel owner let here live here for free to show his appreciation of her life long dedication to the Nazca lines.

We had a great dinner next to the pool and some nice palm trees and thought of that eventful day had just passed.