Facts and Figures
Feb 27th - Mar 7th 2011
Start Mileage - 34903
Miles - 86
Santa (Romance Hostel) - Huanchaco (Hospedaje la Casona)
Short hop today so no rush again. On the road by 11:00 for an uneventful run. Arrived in the seaside town of Huanchaco around 13:30 and pulled in for a coffee at one of the coffee shops along the front .. Helmets off and ear plugs out it hit us!!! It’s “Surfer Dude Town”, and it’s loud! We managed to order coffee over the music that was blasting out from the speakers then I think the waitress must have taken pity on us and she turned the music down!
Loads of accommodation around, first we checked was way to pricey at Soles75 a night, next door had rooms at Soles10 but were full though he had a friend that might have room so gave her a call, she has. Good parking, wi-fi and hot water sometimes, so we knocked her down from Soles20 per person a night to 15.
Not many other people in the hostel, a Norwegian couple and a French couple. Got some tips about things to do and places to eat. The hostel that got us the room here was recommended for food so we gave it a go, not bad though they didn’t have any of the prawns I fancied, she promised to get some in for me tomorrow.
28/02 - 03/03/2011
Huanchaco (Hospedaje la Casona)
28/02/2011 - We are visiting Chan Chan today, the guide book says the museum is open every day and recommend going there first to get some history about the place. We take the bus to the museum only to find Rough Guide got it wrong again, it is closed Mondays! Hike back down the road to the ruins.
Chan Chan is the largest Pre Colombian city in South America and the largest Adobe built city in the world, it covers an area of more than 28 square KM’s. Situated just outside of Trujillo it was built around AD850 by the Chimu people who controlled the Northern coast of Peru and lasted until the Inca moved in around AD1470. It is a triangle shaped structure with walls 15-20 Mtrs high and is made up of 10 walled citadels housing ceremonial rooms, temples and a few residences. Only the Tschudi complex is open to visitors.
As we walked up the road to the ruins the first thing we saw were part of the 5km’s of restored walls, gives an idea of the size of the place. We don’t normally chose to take a guide on these tours but the Norwegian couple at the hostel had recommended the one they took on their tour, by luck he was the one, out of all the guides loitering around the entrance, that approached us. When we mentioned that he had been recommended to us he disappeared for a short time then came back with a couple of traditional Peruvian instruments from the Chimu period, apparently he had given the Norwegians a little extra on the tour by playing traditional music and did the same for us.
An interesting tour, much better explained than just by the guide book.
After Chan Chan we took a taxi to two other sites in the centre of Trujillo. The Huaca’s (Pyramids) del Esmarelda and Arco Iris. Similar but much smaller structures to Chan Chan both part of the Chimu empire.
The Peruvian government declared that every archaeological site should have at least one Peruvian hairless dog, an ancient breed dating back to Inca times. Because of the lack of hair they are seen as clean dogs i.e. no fleas. The trait that makes them hairless also causes some dogs to have fewer teeth than other breeds and a common myth is that they are vegetarians. They also seem to have a higher body temperature than other dogs and it is believed that if you cuddle up to one it is a help against asthma and stomach pains. They are protected by law.
01/03/2011 - Just hung around the hostel and town. No water in the hostel, laundry will have to wait.
02/03/2011 - 22 KM’s from here is the other reason we came, the Huaca del Sol y Luna, Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. No tour today just taking a ride out on the bike to the site. At about 40 KM’s out of town we hadn’t seen any signs for the ruins so stopped and asked a cop at a road block for directions and were pointed back the way we came. Very poorly signposted but like Chan Chan it isn't on the main tourist itinerary ….. yet!!
A good paved road led us up to the complex of the Huacas de Moche which are the remains of an ancient Moche city called “Cerro Blanco” - “White Mountain”. The Huaca del Luna is the smaller of the two ruins and was the only one open to the public at our visit as the other is still being excavated. Believed to have been used more for religious, sacrificial and other ceremonial purposes, Huaca del Luna has given the most archaeological information as it was mostly untouched by the Spanish Conquistadors and hasn’t suffered as much due to the weather as has Huaca del Sol. Although most of the colour has been eroded away with the weather a lot still remains and gives a good idea of what the building may have looked like in it’s heyday with the reliefs depicting every day life, rituals and customs. The temple itself is built over many layers, each layer representing a different ruler. As each ruler died, his temple would be covered over and a new one built on top giving it the pyramid shape as it grew. Another very interesting trip.
03/03/2011 - Water is back on so laundry day today.
Start Mileage - 35033
Miles - 143
Huanchaco (Hospedaje la Casona) - Lambayeque ( Hostel Libertada)
A breezy, sandy and very hot ride today. We left Huanchaco around 11:00, got lost going through Chiclayo as I hadn’t loaded new maps onto the GPS and the maps I had on there stopped at just below Chiclayo! Asking for directions in the town led us up and down everywhere except where we wanted to be going until one guy that we asked pulled his bike out of his living room and escorted us to the main road and made sure we were ok.
Just after Chiclayo we got another tug by the law … this time for alleged speeding, well maybe we were a bit over the top!!!! He asked for my driving license so as usual I handed over the copy and he called over one of his colleagues to examine it. “Copia?” he asked, damn it, a switched on cop, could be in deep doodoo now! After apologising and telling him my real license was buried in the pannier I started to slooooowly unpack everything to get to it. Lucky he stopped us in the middle of the road with no shade and it was just as hot for him as it was for us, he gave up waiting and told us to go on - “despacio” - slowly.
Arrived in Lambayeque around 15:00 and found a cheap, clean hotel with wi-fi, cable TV and a fridge!!! Even better after we knocked the price down a bit and the owner let us park the bike in his secure front yard..
Chicken and chips from the local “El Greasy Pollo” and a few beers to fill the fridge for a little while.
Lambayeque (Hostel Libertada)
Out to the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan today. The museum of the Royal Tombs of Sipan which houses most of the artefacts found at the burial site of “El Senor de Sipan” a mummy of an elite man that was discovered in Sipan in 1987. The tomb is believed to be one of the most important finds in the region as it was found intact and untouched by grave robbers. Because of his high rank he was buried along with other people, 3 women, possibly his wife and two concubines, a military commander, a watchman, a banner holder, a young child and various animals. The museums main attraction is the replica of the tomb of The Lord of Sipan and the entourage that accompanied him to the afterlife. All of the warriors had had their feet amputated to stop them running away. The museum also houses a lot of other Inca and Pre Inca treasures, a great deal of which has been recovered by customs officers from smugglers attempting to take treasures out of Peru. The U.S customs recently found a haul of over $10 million.
We had to leave camera’s and bags behind in case we were casing the joint or tempted to take a few samples! We hooked up with a couple of Irish lads who had hired a guide and split the cost with them. Another worthwhile day out.
Tried to get a coffee on the way back to the hostel but the town was in the middle of a power cut so we headed back, couldn't get in to the hostel because the door was locked and the bell was run off the electricity!! Eventually managed to get someone's attention to let us in and sat in the room out of the heat listening to the street party music going on outside.
Start Mileage - 35,176
Miles - 180
Lambayeque (Hostal Libertada) - Jaen (Hotel Danubia)
Retrieved the bike and packed up in the heat again. We hadn't been on the road long when Lorraine started to complain she had something digging in to her hip so we pulled in for a coffee and to see what she was moaning about .. she has only come away with the TV remote and the room key (which is on a lump of wood so you don’t forget it!!!!) in her pocket, we’ve gone too far to turn around just for a key and TV remote, maybe we will post it back later.
Nice ride up through the mountains towards the Western edge of the Amazon lowlands, we had read that there is supposed to be a lot of colourful birds and butterflies along this stretch of road, not today though! We did see a monkey cross the road ahead of us, first since Africa.
The road was quite good apart from the odd landslide and patches of ripio here and there. We made it to Jaen by 16:00 and headed straight for the main plaza and parked up, within seconds we had a crowd, within minutes we had a HUGE crowd. Definitely not on the tourist map I guess the majority of Gringo’s that would pass through Jaen would do so by bus and melt into the crowds, but Gringo’s on a big bike loaded to the gunnels is another thing. A young lad of about 13 seemed to be the head honcho, he was asking all the questions for the crowd so we asked him where the hotels were. We got a few directions and he detailed off another lad to show Lorraine where they were. Off they went leaving me with the ever growing crowd, there must have been a couple of hundred of them (Lorraine didn’t get any pictures for proof!) and the young lad was repeating the information he had to the newcomers as they arrived. Lorraine got back about 30 minutes later successful in the hunt. The young lad had been asking for a ride around the plaza, now that Lorraine was back and the crowd started to ease up to let us on our way I told him to hop on, made his day, just a short ride around the plaza and he was the celebrity now, one of the locals had him posing on the back while he took pictures, I think he might have been a reporter for a local newspaper he had some expensive camera gear.
Found a really good, cheap Chifa in town for dinner.
Start Mileage - 35,356
Miles - 96
Jaen (Hotel Danubia) - Namballe (Hostel Binational)
The scenery has changed dramatically today, after riding through deserts and high mountain ranges we are now back into rainforest, the Amazon, albeit the Western edge. The asfalto soon ran out too and we were back onto dirt, good dirt. A great ride today even though it was a short one and we had a lot of hold ups due to roadworks. We had planned on stopping at a guest house we had heard of that was run by an ex pat Brit woman and just 5KM’s from the border to give us an easy run in tomorrow. We had no idea where to look for the guest house so we pulled up at the first place we saw in Namballe. We weren't even off the bike when we got a beer thrust into our hands from the owners of the hotel we had stopped at. They had rooms but no parking though, so after checking, they said we could park in the hotel across the road or on the street. More beer flowed while we decided. I’d better get the bike parked before I’m unable! Rode around to the back of the hotel across the road and the owner told us where to park then proceeded to show us rooms. Choosing to not understand we were staying across the road he then told us we couldn't park there. After trying to fit the bike into every shed they had available, another chat was had with the guy across the road and this time he understood! Bike parked and back to the beer. We sat in the street drinking and chatting with the locals until we had to get some fodder, the owner of the hotel said there was a cena place at the end of town, town being the one street we were on! Cheap steak and chips and back to the hotel. The party had stopped and everyone had left so we sat in the room watching the one English language channel on the TV …. showing the same movie we watched last night!!!!
At 21:00, for a good few seconds, the whole building shook and the bed moved a couple of feet across the room … crap, another earthquake and a biggy too, that is our fourth so far on the trip and the worst. No damage locally and no-one seemed overly concerned about it, a scary feeling. Then, around midnight the skies opened, the rain was torrential and lasted for hours. Tomorrow could be an interesting day!!!!