Nasca was a bit of a shock after the north of Peru! There are many more tourists here, and a lot of local people speak English, but they seem jaded by tourists and the school kids taunt instead of wanting to chat - not the friendly Peru we were used to! Luckily tho, although our couch surfing contact, who we'd hoped to stay with, was unable to be in Nasca, he left us in his friend José's very capable and friendly hands!
We arrived early on our 2nd night bus in a row, so started the day with a snooze! Feeling more human, we were having an initial wander about, and trying to sort out a bus to Cusco, when we stumbled across a bus to the mirador - so we went! We didn't expect much, but were quite pleased with the view of the 'hands' and 'tree' - couldn't see the lizard tho - the Pan American going through the middle of it probably didn't help - apparently they didn't know about the lines when they built the road!). When we got back, we made a quick visit to the Museo Didactico Antonini, which we enjoyed for its garden, where there was an ancient aqueduct, reproductions of different cultures' burial tombs, a model of the Nasca lines, and a very nice man to show us around! - the inside was a bit dry (but had nice cats!). Then it was time to make our way to the planetarium (which was confusingly inside a hotel, and took us ages to find!) to meet José and listen to the lecture about the Nasca lines. We also got to have a close-up look at the moon, learnt to identify the southern cross (finally!), and had a look at Maria Reiche's room at the hotel - she spent nearly 50 years studying and protecting the lines, and lived at the hotel for the final 25 yeards of her life. We arranged to meet our new friend the next morning so that he could help us to sort out a cheap flight over the lines, and then went to bed feeling that we'd got quite a lot done for a post-night bus day! It took us a while to sort out our flight the next morning, but José came with us to the airport and made it considerably cheaper and easier than it would have been without him! We saw the lines from a little 5-seater plane, and they are incredible! (the constant tilting from side to side so that we could see all of the lines made for a wobbly ride tho, and Tara struggled to hang on to her breakfast!). Nobody knows why they are there - tho there are lots of theories - but the Paracas and Nasca cultures made huge shapes, animal, bird, and plant-type figures, and many, many random-looking lines on the floor of the desert and mountain sides from 900 BC to AD 600, with additions by the Wari in the 7th century, and they can only be seen from above. We had lunch with José, and then, glad to have made another new friend, spent a relaxing afternoon before our next night bus to Cusco.