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L&L On the Road Lars & Louise on a world-sampling tour

The Rest of Peru

PERU | Wednesday, 4 August 2010 | Views [1207]

I first visited Peru five years ago, and have longed to come back ever since. Back then I only visited the Titicaca Lake and trekked the so called Inca trail from Cusco to Machu Piccu, but I knew there was more to Peru. And so, finally, I got to see a bit of the rest. 

After a very easy crossing from Ecuador, Lars and I plus the gang from our Galapagos cruise headed for the town of Chiclayo. The draw here is not the town itself but the site 30km north of town, Tucume. Here you can enjoy the sight of several adobe (that’s mud) pyramids built by the Lambayeques around 700AD. It really doesn't look like more than a few very big piles of sand from a distance but it is impressive from the ‘mirador’ which we climbed for a better view. After this educational outing we took a tuk-tuk back into the local town for refueling and cards (we’re still a bit addicted) before jumping on a ‘collectivo’ back to Chiclayo where we enjoyed our last meal with Guy. A very, very nice guy whom we’ll miss tremendously going forward, but such is life and travelling.  


Only four troopers left, we headed for another town made famous by its adobe buildings; Trujillo. We opted for staying in Huanchaco, a little coastal suburb with excellent seafood (yum!) and used that as our base while exploring Chan Chan -  a vast complex of adobe structures built by the Chimu people in the ninth century. Not far away are the Sun and the Moon temples built by the Moches (pre-Chimu and Inca) which was, according to me, the most impressive adobe constructions we saw. It was also painful to watch the Peruvians clean sand off wall paintings (that still look amazing after some 1,400 years…) using distilled water and tiny, tiny brushes. Oh the patience! Also noteworthy is that if you’re American you can view some of these paintings back home, because according to our guide you ‘borrowed’ a few, and have yet to return them… Hmm…


When we felt tired of sand, be it in temple form or not, we jumped on an overnight bus from here to Huaraz – an adventure focused town set amongst the mountains made famous by the movie ‘Touching the void’. Here you can do trekking, hiking, climbing, horseback riding, and you name it, in the national park containing the highest range of the Peruvian Andes. The landscape is AMAZING, an alpine wonderland of towering, ice-covered peaks, complete with glacier lakes and waterfalls; breathtaking to say the least.

Seeing that I had already had some bad experiences with high altitudes in Ecuador, and Lars had a broken/twisted/god knows what toe after playing bare-foot footie, we opted for the ‘easy’ activity of mountain biking down one of the many mountains. We got a lift up with Steve and Ali who were doing some ice-climbing, did a small trek to a beautiful lake, and then down we went. First three hours or so were so much fun! Luuuuved it! But it was in fact mountain biking and after a while your arms really do ache from all the bumping. It took us a bit more than four hours to arrive back in town, and a few days to recover from various pains and bruises. I’d recommend it to anyone, still! Great fun before it starts hurting.


After having traveled with Steve and Alison for about three weeks, it was now time to part. They stayed on to do some more serious trekking (and to get engaged; congrats!!), and Lars and I moved on to Ica. Just outside of this town you find a little oasis surrounded by high sand dunes (and very touristy restaurants). What to do with said sand dunes? Why, sand boarding, of course! And so we did. Fun. Maybe not something we need to do again anytime soon though.


Next stop was Nasca with the famous Nasca lines. The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the sun exposed pebbles and uncovering the whitish ground beneath. No one knows exactly when these were created (but Lars thinks that they were made yesterday using a motocross bike). There are more than seventy designs of animals, birds, fish and human figures BUT you can only see two from a steel lookout thingy, and those are two rather boring ones; ‘the hands’ and ‘the tree’. You could of course see more from the air, but seeing they don’t look too safe and accidents have indeed happened (and not too long ago either), we didn’t really feel like jumping into a small plane to see some lines best viewed by google-ing ‘Nasca Lines’ on your computer…

Our last stop in Peru was the super-charming town of Arequipa, overlooked by the volcano El Misti. From here we took a tour to see the Colca Canyon – a canyon more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the states… The best part was the viewpoint 'Cruz del Condor', a pass where Andean condors soar gracefully on the rising thermals occurring as the air warms. Beautiful! A worthy finale to our two weeks in Peru.







Tags: arequipa, chiclayo, huaraz, inca, mountain bike, nasca lines, peru, the andes, trekking, trujillo

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