Having taken the nine-hour night bus from Lima, we arrive in Trujillo early in the morning. It’s much smaller than Lima, with a circular street that runs the circumference of the city center. We’re in a bleary-eyed search for a place to stay and to leave our bags so we can explore.
As we approach the perimeter of the city center we notice that there are barricades on the streets – pedestrians only. No cars in the center. Perfect!
We head to the city’s central Plaza de Armas (I believe every city in Peru has one) which has a huge church with intricate paintings on the ceilings. Entering the plaza, we’re surprised to find a giant procession of the townspeople dressed in all kinds of uniforms: military with assault rifles and backpack radios, young men wearing camo and black face paint, older women in bright pink power suits, nurses in all white, boy scouts, girl scouts. Everything. It’s like Dr. Seuss had organized the town, but with a different brand of whimsy.
There is a big stage on the main square playing lively music. Suddenly the procession begins, with the military leading the charge. An MC hands the mic over to a tone-deaf guy who proceeds to “sing” reggeaton to a back track. It’s awful.
Léa and I are too groggy from the bus ride to really process what is happening, so we leave everyone to do their thing and head off towards a hostel we found in the Rough Guide. After about twenty minutes of walking we finally find the place, and ring the doorbell. Eventually someone answers – a young girl, surprised to see backpackers. Not a good sign.
She ushers us into the garage, and has us wait for fifteen minutes while she disappears upstairs. Finally returning with two other young friends, they tell us it’s fine to come up. We follow them up the stairs while they debate amongst themselves which room to put us in. After they make a few phone calls, they finally invite us into room 203 (which took them a while to locate, though it was right behind them). Freaks.
They tell us to wait while they take the recently used bedsheets and tuck them in for us, without changing them. Léa and I look at each other with eyebrows raised, make up an excuse, and quickly hit the road: a narrow escape!
The next place we look for can’t be found, until the man who works at the local mortuary approaches us and offers to help us find it. He then explains that it closed years ago. We trust his expertise in dead things, and move on.
We make our way back through town until we find a hostel called “Los Mochileros” and it’s perfect. For about $12 Léa and I get a private bungalow on stilts. Plus they have a really ugly/cute hairless dog. We’re set.
During our short stay in Trujillo we did a good amount of walking around town. As with Lima, we found lots of colorful buildings, and the town has a ton of churches – but now with sunshine. Splendid.
Near Trujillo there are some recently discovered ancient temples called the Huacas de Sol y Luna. They’re about fifteen minutes outside of town, so we take a “combi” which is a minivan packed to the brim with passengers. A very cheap way to travel.
The Huaca de la Luna is open to the public. It’s a work in progress that local archeologists are uncovering slowly. The walls are decorated with intricate designs, and, incredibly, still retain much of their colorful paint from thousands of years ago due to the fact they’ve been buried in the sand.
On our way back from the Huacas we encounter a toy museum and think to ourselves, “Why not?”
It was more like a haunted house than the expected cheerful collection of playthings. Creepers.
Returning to our hostel, we find a group of travelers from all over the world, and we speak to a few locals late into the night. Léa and I are starting to realize that Peru has so many trips to offer us. Where to begin? Where to end?
Well, at least we have one thing clear: we want beach and sunshine. We’re not ready for winter yet, so we take the night bus to Máncora: a cute and simple little surfer beach town on the northern coast of Peru.
Categories: Posts in English