Rano Raruku, a wide open space with trails to wander around.
Leonardo shows us one of the heads that was half constructed lying down to get an idea of how they were made.
Standing three feet from these amazing objects was a breathtaking experience.
I even got to see these two guys. Featured on the front of travel guides and airport posters, they are the iconic image of Easter Island.
Rano Kau a 324m high extinct volcano.
It’s possible to walk all the way around it.
Orongo ceremonial village.
Soil floors and low doorways. They were reconstructed in 1974.
The main occupants were part of the Birdman cult, but more about that later.
At the village, a small museum.
Inside, this image of the 4 ton Hoa Hakananai’a one of the most spiritual of the Moa, being loaded onto HMS Topaze to be transported to the British Museum.
Leonardo had visited the British Museum while making one of his documentaries. He had spoken to the curator, who had produced a receipt and said that the Museum “owned” the statue.
It’s quite an emotional matter for the people of Rapa Nui, I found an article about it here.
Looking out from the village is this small island Motu Nui.
The Birdman cult was based around the Tangata Manu competition. There would be a race to the Island to retrieve a Manutara bird egg.
Many would die climbing the high cliffs or be eaten by sharks while swimming. But the winner who arrived back first with an intact egg, got to be leader of the tribe.
As I write this, here in the UK, we have an imminent general election. I have to wonder if this isn’t a better form of leader selection.
After a fantastic day, we are dropped back at our room for a shower and change, before heading out for the evening.
A perfect steak and a glass of red wine at La Taverne du Pecheur with a table overlooking the ocean.
The end to a perfect day.
After breakfast. We still have a full day and fly back to Santiago in the morning.
So we decide to rent some mountain bikes and explore the coast.
Ahu Tahai overlooking Cook Bay.
Two hours ride later, and were still seeing Moa and the coast.
We stop off at the Rapa Nui museum.
Crime is so rare on the Island that nobody locks up bikes, so we do the same.
Inside, lots of interesting things to see and loads of stuff about the history of the Island.
The most interesting thing for me was this display.
I had no idea that the indigenous people of New Zealand and Hawaii are linked to the people of Rapa Nui.
Their estate is made up of this triangle, and people would have been sent out in canoes to find far away places to set up villages.
Sort of early colonisation if you think of it.
It’s thirsty work riding a bike in the sunshine, so we stop for some refreshments.
One slight problem is that the salty air had corroded the gears on my bike.
I think if I was going again, I’d take some WD40.
We pedal back along the coastal trail.
We pass by this music festival on our way back.
Nikki loved it, I thought it was audible vandalism but I got a drink and enjoyed myself all the same…
Hand back the bikes and walks back to our hotel with a goodbye dinner planned by the ocean.
With sadness, we head back to the airport.
I pop into the souvenir shop and buy a miniature Moa for my mantle at home.
But like Nikki said, at least we’ve been and not everyone can say that.
If your going to be sat in an airport lounge for two hours, I don’t know a nicer one than this 🙂
A truly incredible place, highly recommended by everyone here at johnsunter.com (basically me).