Sea, sand and archaeological sites

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We had read about archaeological sites near Trujillo, which were built by tribes in pre-Incan times and which were meant to be well worth the visit.  So, we arranged a tour with the hostal, to take us to the highlights, which provided us with transport and an English-speaking guide for the day.  First of all we were taken 10km south of the city, to the Moche built "Huacas del Sol y de la Luna" or to you and me, "The Temples of the Sun and the Moon".  Which were built around 500AD, although one of them has been largely eroded by river, tsunami and earthquake damage, the other one was still largely intact.  The guide took us through the temple, to rooms and courtyards, which had various murals on the walls and informed us of what the architects believed the areas were used for and what the paintings meant.  We were also taken to the museum, which displayed the objects that had been found in the temple, mainly pottery.
In the afternoon we were driven just north of the city to a Chimu built residence, called Chan Chan.  It was built slightly later, around 1300AD, and is thought to have been the largest adobe city in the world. At the height of the Chimú empire, it housed an estimated 60,000 inhabitants and contained a vast wealth of gold, silver and ceramics.  Unfortunately only a few walls and rooms are left standing, but it is at least possible to get an idea of the size of the mud walled city.  As UNESCO are now planning to remove Chan Chan from their funding, it will probably disappear at an even faster rate as it has limited protection from the elements. 

All in all, it was an interesting day and I really enjoyed the morning, especially looking at 1500 year old murals on the wall with the brightly coloured paint they looked like they were done a week ago.  Our guide was friendly and there was only one other person on the tour with us, a Swiss girl, who we chatted to over lunch.  At the temples there were a couple of Biringos, the native Peruvian hairless dogs.  The locals seem to like them, and I have been informed a couple of times that their body temperatures are higher than the normal dog, so they are used as warmers for people with arthritis or people living in cold areas.  Regardless of this, they make me shudder every time I see them, they just look weird!

Other than our day at the archaeological sites, we spent lots of time checking out the city of Trujillo and enjoying looking at the old Colonial buildings.  In the evenings, the main square was often packed with people trying to earn a Soles or two.  There were numerous street performers, music and dance groups, break dancing kids, and lots of really talented artists, who would paint amazing pictures in minutes, using only spray cans.  It made for interesting evenings, to wander around the area and watch the entertainment for a few minutes.

During our stay, we spent quite a lot of time researching our route ahead; we had come to a crossroads.  Either we would stay on the coast and head to Lima, which would mean another 1000km of riding through the desert, with the unpredictable winds, and then a major city of 8.5million people to navigate through.  The alternative was to head inland, which would mean far more interesting scenery but a lot more hills to climb, quieter but less well maintained roads and also had the potential for giving us our first wet riding in the rain, for this trip.  We went back and forth on this decision for two days but finally decided to take the chance with the inland route and hope that the rainy season is almost finished.  It was a daunting prospect, as we knew we had a 3000m climb to get into the mountains but have read lots of other people's blogs who have done that route.   If worst comes to worst we can head back to the coast again, and be reunited with the desert landscape.

When we were all ready to leave Trujillo, we decided to stay for one extra day, and head to the beach for the day.  We realised that as we are now going to head inland, it may be the last time we see the coast for a long time and it may be the last time we see it on this trip.  We spent the afternoon eating Cerviche, watching the locals fish from the pier and hearing the waves breaking at the shore, which seemed like a perfect way to spend the afternoon before tackling some hills tomorrow. 
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Grandma on

Sure sounds like an interesting tour!!!!! Fishing boats are sure different....also lots to see. Paintings are beautiful for being so ancient. Love and hugs...

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