The journey is the reward – Cusco to Nasca   Leave a comment

Sunday 28 September 2014

For most people the main reason for visiting Nasca is to see the famous lines. For me, there are two others:

1) The road from Cusco to Nasca – pure motorcycling heaven – one bend after the other through spectacular scenery, covering a total of 639 kilometres / 398 miles and going from 3,400 metres /11,150 feet above sea level in Cusco down to 1,800 metres / 5,900 feet, climbing up to 4,580 metres / 15,026 feet again and then settling at 615 metres / 2,017 feet in Nasca.

2) The mixed beef tenderloin/chicken kebab served in the restaurant Estación Plaza on Nasca’s Plaza de Armas – food I’ve dreamed about since I first had the pleasure in 2010.

I was hoping that these reasons, together with the Lineas de Nasca, of course, would be sufficient to convince my dad of including Nasca in our route (as you know, we have to cut a few corners in order to finish our South American loop in three months).

Fortunately I succeed and so, after our last breakfast at the Hostal Hatun Wasi, we take a taxi to the Terminal Terreste.

Down the Cuesta San Blas…

Arriving at the terminal

Our transport for today

Adiós, Cusco!

Not all sights are pretty…

Let the fun begin!

A bit of dirt road thrown in for good measure

The bus even stops for a short break so that we can stretch our legs

… and marvel at the vegetation

… and the engine

Río Chalhuanca

A small town of the same name is our destination for today. We prefer to see the beauty of Peru in daylight and have broken up the journey into sizeable chunks. Accommodation is quickly found.

As everywhere in the country, election campaigns are in full flow.

As all the coaches passing through Chalhuanca can’t pick us up until 15.30 hrs, we book two seats in a minivan that leaves for Nasca at 11.00 hrs the next morning. We explore the town by walking the main street up and down and then settle for dinner in a local Polleria – a restaurant specialising in chicken dishes.

Monday 29 September 2014

After a good night’s sleep we find a little café where we enjoy an excellent breakfast: freshly pressed papaya juice, café con leche, cheese sandwich and cake – all for the stately sum of £2.70.

We still have over one and a half hours until departure and are just about to set out on another exploration of Chalhuanca, when the young man from the minivan company approaches us in the street: if we would mind starting immediately, as the rain is closing in and the driver would like to avoid severe weather on the journey over the mountains . God, no, the earlier we arrive in Nasca the better. We grab our luggage and board the van.

Sitting in the front row we have a vista panorámica

The weather worsens the higher we climb

At some point it even starts to snow…

Not all drivers are as excellent as ours…

The highest point of our trip so far

You don’t really get a sense of the altitude on the Altiplano – but every little hill is in fact over 5,000 metres high

Puquio on the horizon

Tinkle stop on top of the world – above the tree and bushes line, obviously…

As we approach Nasca the scenery changes completely

Cerro Blanco – the highest sand dune on earth (2,100 metres / 6,900 feet a.s.l.)

This amazing road is kept in excellent condition

We head straight to the Paredones Inn, where we get a nice room at a very competitive rate

We explore the town, book a tour to the Nasca Lines for the following day and have dinner at the Rico Pollo, devouring some mores delicious chicken variations: gizzards and kebab this time.

It’s not a bad life we live… 🙂


Posted 1 October 2014 by Pumpy in Peru, The 2014 Rucksack Trip

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