Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From Caraz To Nazca, Peru

We tacked on an extra day in Caraz, because it rained a lot overnight, which usually affects road conditions in these mountains. This was the first rain on our trip worth mentioning. We then headed south along the valley between the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra, slowly climbing to the 13.500 feet high pass. Our suspicion about the rain were confirmed, in several places debris was still being cleared off the road.

Dry river in Peruvian desert
Dry river bed/trockenes Flußbett/Rio seco
goats on the road
Going home/in den Stall/A la casa
Sunset at/Sonnenuntergang bei/Atardecer en Chasquitambo, Peru
snow peaks
Cordillera Blanca, Peru
Houses on the hill
Home on the mountain/zuhause am Berg/Casas en la montaña
From the pass, the road turned west and descended toward the coast and back to the desert. The rivers became ever dryer, and green could only be seen where agricultural crops were being irrigated.
Once back at sea level, we camped at rural day-use facility near Caral, which had no electricity, running water, or wifi; can’t remember if there was a cellular signal. We spent a wonderfully dark and quiet night in this picturesque setting before heading toward its polar opposite: Peru’s capital Lima.
It took us “only” a good two hours to elbow our way through Lima, sticking strictly to the left lane of the Panamericana. From our experience, Lima is 50 km worth of in-your-face traffic chaos, which is as undisciplined as it is unrelenting. Unless you’re willing to tackle hundreds of kilometers of driving winding roads through the mountains, there is no detour around this city; we’re considering this detour for our way back.
Just south of Lima in Santa Maria del Mar, our next stop was a small airport for ultralight aircraft “alas del Mar” and the Uyuyuy model airplane club. We stayed there 10 days, participating in their inauguration of several new aircraft and flying with the Uyuyuyers.
Picturesque site
Rural camp near/idyllischer Platz bei/Campamento rural cerca de Caral
livestock on the Panamericana
Rush hour at the Panamericana/
Peru desert views
The desert goes on/weiter durch die Wüste/Continua el desierto
Ancon and Tortugas, Peru

Up in the foot hills, we also met two German slope pilots and some of their Peruvian friends, all of whom live there. They have a nice slope up a steep dirt road, and every Saturday they meet there, starting with a German breakfast. We flew with them under a low overcast in unusually poor conditions, which we all blamed on El Niño; normally, it’s sunny and windy at that time of year.
We then continued on down the Panamericana to Nazca. This place is best known for the Nazca lines, huge geometric patterns and figures marked on the desert floor; they are a Unesco world heritage site. We stayed a few nights at the very comfortable Fundo Rafael, from where it was only a short walk into town. Nazca is one of the nicer places we had encountered on this trip through Peru.
Within view of our campsite was the Cerro Blanco, the world’s highest sand dune (6.791 feet). We briefly thought about going up there to fly, but when we imagined the physical effort of slogging up all of that loose sand, we decided to forget that idea.

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