Monday, January 18, 2016

Hidden Treasures, Culinary Highlights and Natural Wonders-The Splendor of Peru's Southern Coast

The Paracas, Ica and Nazca region is probably one of the most exciting regions in the south of Peru.
A remarkable geography, tons of sunshine, stunning history and an exciting fauna and flora are the highlights of a visit here. 
And of course not to forget the outstanding gastronomy, regional, fresh and with surprising creations.
Nature has been generous providing the area with permanent sunshine, fertile soil and a sea rich in fish and seafood.
Asparagus, grapes and avocados earned here are top quality, so are the wines and Piscos
(The original Peruvian Pisco is a colorless, very aromatic brandy, made from grapes and can be consumed pure or in cocktails such as Pisco sour or Chilcano).
The recipe for a delicious Pisco Sour cocktail you will find here : Delicious Pisco Sour And A Very Special Father's Day Celebration
The finest textiles, produced by the Paracas culture and the until now mysterious Nazca lines are the object of investigation by archeologists worldwide.
These lines were scratched on the dessert surface of the ground between 500B.C and A.D.500 and have the incredible extension of about 450km.
The geoglyphis picture animals, plants and imaginary beings and are, due to their quantity, nature and size among history's greatest enigmas.
Most of them are several kilometers long and can be appreciated in their full context only when seen from a plane. How to explain this?
All Indiana Jones like hobby archeologists are challenged!
After all the adventure we had a wonderful stay at the Hacienda Vinas Queirolo, beautifully designed and decorated and surrounded by sheer endless vineyards producing a huge variety of grapes transformed later to wines and Piscos.
On our way home we stopped at the most incredible eatery, located at a gas station, recommended by friends.
First I was really suspicious cause of the unimpressive look and unusual location of the restaurant.
But of course, adventurous foodies as we are wanted to try the food and it was - delicious.
Later I did a little research on the Internet and to my surprise the place was highly recommended by Trip Adviser!
Life is full of surprises.
On our way back we encountered a strike of cotton workers, several police checkpoints,and took a not yet opened part of the new highway to avoid the strike.
Of course there were gravel roads, unfinished bridges (we had to go underneath them, thank heavens this is the dry season so no problem) and enjoyed our undertaking enormously.

 Starting our journey enjoying the view at the summer resort of Pucusana

Trying to get a snapshot of the famous pink flamingos at the National Reserve Paracas.
Imposible to get closer than that, they are clever birds! 

Fisherman at sunset

A visit to an asparagus plantation in Ica. Did you know that there are male and female asparagus plants?  Here you can see a male plant (The female plants produce red berries) 

The spears start to show and grow incredibly fast. These are ready to be harvested.

A visit to a vineyard, growing table grapes.

A lonley Baobab tree (Remember the little prince?) ,originally from Africa, growing splendidly in Ica. How did it come to Peru? A mystery.

Paracas textiles on display at the National Museum of Archeology

One of the most famous pictures of the Nazca lines: The hummingbird

View from the hacienda's terrace over the vineyards


Trying to identify the different fruit and spice flavors at the wine tasting

  So many flavors, so many wines, so little time

A special thanks to our very knowledgable guide and sommelier Fiorella

Enjoying sunset with a glass of sparkling wine

On the way home we stopped at the most incredible eatery, located at a gas station, recommended by friends.

Tacutacu (a kind of omlett made of beans, eggs and rice), fish and seafood salsa served with a purple corn refreshment

 Crisp fried potato balls filled with cheese

A national culinary treasure: Causa Limena, a kind of flavored, spicy mashed potatoe roll filled with chicken and mayonnaise

Cheers to you, my friends!
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