The ride to Nasca thankfully involved coming down in altitude to a rather more pleasant 600m, but the price to pay was the heat. Coming through the desert towards Nasca, the temperature soared so when we arrived, I needed to shed most of my bike gear to avoid turning into a puddle of sweat. The ride from Cusco to Nasca is really great though, I quite enjoyed turning into a bike hooligan on the countless bends while my near-bald rear tyre didn't spoil things too much.
We picked Hostal Via Morburg which had secure parking and we booked up a flight over the famous lines for the following morning. I was kind of nervous about this as I'm not a great flyer even though I do fly microlights as bizzare as it sounds- It's a kind of 'backseat' driver sort of thing.
At 8am the following morning, we were picked up from the hotel and taken out to the towns airport where we were met by a very anxious pilot who was keen to throw us into his plane and get moving, always a reassuring thing in a pilot though I'm pleased to note he is wearing an ironed white shirt and sunglasses like the proper pilots. Within a couple of minutes, we were airborn in the little 6 seater Cesna airplane and on a course to the lines at around 120mph. There was quite a difference between this and the microlight, which only cruises at around 55mph but takes off a lot faster.
'Spaceman on the left' screams our trusty pilot and throws the little Cesna into a bank of nearly 90 degrees so we on the left side on the plane can get a look at the lines which indeed resemble a spaceman (though it's aparently a man with an owls head- make of that what you will). And so it goes on for the next 40 minutes. I made the mistake of looking at my camera at one point and nearly threw up as sudden motion sickness overcame me. I wasn't alone though as it took the best part of the day for Michelle to overcome hers.
- you decide...
And what a day it was. After leaving the hotel, we rode up to Huacachina a couple of hours north and took a sand buggy tour of the dunes and that was just bloody brilliant! Our driver was fantastic, taking us up over blind summits and then dropping us down into the next valley, all the while we were shrieking with delight. As the buggy had no windscreen, our gums got covered in sand because we were grinning so much. The dunes were just beautiful but I'd rather tear around them like a total hooligan anyday.
And then our driver got out the sandboards... Now I've ski'd most of my life but have so far never tried snowboarding. Strapping the board on at the top of a rather large dune, I slowly eased myself over the edge and promptly fell on my arse. And so it went on for the next few attempts but by about the 4th attempt, I'd made it all the way to the bottom without falling, a born natural. Now I've just got to master a few turns! The driver cautiously let me drive the buggy for a bit which was brilliant fun and I didn´t even roll it.
Silver surfer (I´m not actually going anywhere here)
Driving this was a blast!