Now finally, resting at a nice quiet hostel with a swimming pool…… When leaving Lima we did not get very far because it was late. Based on the stories Jamaliah reads on ioverlander (unsafe) we do not feel like free camping on the beach. Instead we camped at the closed-in parking lot of a small hostel some 50 km outside Lima. Driving to this town is still mostly in the urban area. Only the last few KM’s did we finally leave the immense city behind. The hostel owner asked for 40 soles for sleeping in the camper and with 10 soles extra we can stayed in the room, so we took a room. The next day the first stop would have been Caral. This is a recently discovered old settlement and quoted as being the oldest city in the America’s (5000 years). The road was however rough and we started to hear clanging sounds underneath the car again. We are now paranoid about unidentifiable noises from the camper. We abandoned this trip and instead drove on to Sechin, which is an old temple from around 1600 BC. The 3 times expanded temple is covered with scenes of gods holding heads of sacrificed victims of war.
We could not make it all the way to Trujillo, so we spent another night on the parking lot of a hostel and slept again in a room. Only because there is a fan, it is worthwhile to take a room. (Hot weather). Otherwise it is much nicer and more comfortable to sleep in the camper.
In Trujillo the first stop was the Temple of the Moon. Rudy had seen this Huaca in 1987. It then had only some holes dug by grave robbers but was overshadowed by the much larger Huaca (temple) of the sun. Now the roles are reversed. Underneath the heap of sand archaeologist have unearthed a Moche temple (300 – 800 AD). The temple was beautifully decorated with 3D murals. They are over painted several times and also covered with bricks and sand each time the temple was expanded. Now the layers are pealed of as much as possible, like an onion, to show the frescos of the different time periods. A true highlight of this trip. Especially since it was only discovered in 1992.
From here, we went into Trujillo unsuccessfully looking for a garage to check out the noise. Instead we parked the camper near the Plaza de Armas and wandered the narrow colonial streets and admired the freshly repainted buildings on the plaza. Thanks to Movistar (Telcom company) we could also see a street performance of the locally famous “Handkerchief dance”.
The night was spent in the garden of a hostel on the beach front in Huanacho. We enjoyed it so much there that we came back for another night, after visiting the ruins of Chan Chan. And Rudy took the opportunity to have a haircut at the town hair salon while Jamaliah coloured her greying hair.
The Chimu Empire followed up on the Moche in 850 AD till they were conquered by the Inca in 1470. Their huge 60,000 inhabitant mud city of Chan Chan dominates the space between Trujillo and the coast. Each dynasty build their own mud palace. In total there were 9 palaces covering some 20 sq km. One of these was partly restored and open for visitors. The walls are covered with mud on which various types of animals are depicted, all related to their sea culture like pelicans, fish as well as waves and fishing nets. Only a small part of the city has been excavated.
Nearer to Trujillo there are other decorated historical sites which we visited.
We drove further north and camped on a beachside parking lot in Pimentel. They still catch fish using reed boats. You could buy a whole tuna for only 3 Euro’s. Unfortunately we had no way of grilling it outside the camper.
On the drive to this seaside resort we noticed that our car battery was not charging as it should and in the morning the car couldn’t be started and had to be jumpstarted (flat battery). The kind owner of the parking lot managed to get someone to help us, but after 5 km on the road to Chiclayo it totally stopped driving (no diesel pump). Rudy stood on the road and waved with the tow cable, hoping someone will help us tow the car to a garage. After some 20 min, a large car stopped and offered to tow us to a nearby secure parking lot, as it was Sunday and all garages are closed. Pedro is a real good Samaritan and he speaks English. Not only could we securely parked the car but he also took us into his house to rest and offered us a lovely lunch. We could only go the next day to try to have the dynamo problem investigated. As Pedro’s brother has a battery charger, Rudy took the battery out to be recharged overnight, so the next day we could drive ourselves behind Pedro to a garage. The problem was quickly resolved (dirty contacts) and after saying our farewell to our kind helper, we continued our road North to Lambayeque (11 km).
On Monday only one museum was open (Bruning). This one is already impressive with large amounts of gold jewellery, paintings and models of the queen who wore them. So we decided to stay overnight at a camping/hostel nearby and see tomorrow the real attraction Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan.