Perú: A Return to Sea Level

Leaving Cajamarca’s 8,900′ elevation, the double-decker motor coach climbed up, up, up over the Andes Mountains and then down, down, down to Pacasmayo on the Pacific coast where the coach turned south towards Trujillo. 

We were returning to sea level after traveling 4 weeks at elevations much higher than the 6000′ above sea level. At home in Oregon, Timberline Lodge is at 6000′ elevation. 

On the map it didn’t look very far between Cajamarca and Trujillo, but it was a 7-hour+ bus trip! The other option was to fly south to Lima and then fly north to Trujillo which would’ve cost a lot more than the $12.15 per person that we paid.

Driving west with the sunshine blazing through the windows made the motor coach a bit stuffy, and the humidity rose as we descended to the coast. The direct trip was fairly comfortable seated in large wide reclining seats with leg rests and the soundtrack of the continuously-playing movies merely background noise (thankfully!)

The city of Trujillo was a disappointment after Arequipa, Cusco and Cajamarca – or maybe it was us, maybe we were just tired of travel.

One day we taxied to the coastal surfing community of Huanchaco.
We enjoyed a sun break at the beach at Huanchaco. Photo compliments of Justin Green.
Trujillo is known for fresh seafood. This ceviche is fish “cooked” by marinating in lime juice – basically it’s raw and chewy and served with potato, yucca and crunchy corn.

Las Huacas de Moche, 2 1/2 miles from Trujillo, were very interesting. Archeologists have discovered 2 pyramids buried in the sand:  the Huaca del Sol (Pyramid to the Sun) and the Huaca de la Luna (Pyramid to the Moon).  Archeologists believe that the Huaca del Sol may have served for administrative, military, and residential functions, as well as a burial mound for the Moche elite and the Huaca de la Luna served primarily a ceremonial and religious function, though it contains burials as well.

The Moche Civilization flourished here from 100-700 AD.  The Pyramid to the Moon is the smaller of the pyramids but has yielded the most archeological information. Discoveries of painted pottery (and human skeletons) seem to depict human sacrifice played a part in Moche religious practices.

This is the Huaca de la Luna with the Cerro Blanco in the background.
Today the detailed exterior of the Huaca de la Luna is the color of brown adobe brickwork, but at the time of construction it was decorated in murals which were painted in black, bright red, sky blue, white, and yellow. The sun and weather has since utterly faded these murals away.
From atop the Huaca de la Luna one can see the Huaca del Sol behind the outlines of the village that was situated between the two pyramids – all within view of the Pacific Ocean.
Inside the Huaca are other murals created in earlier phases of construction which were then buried in order to enlarge the pyramid. The tour showed several excavated levels and explained how every 100 years the pyramid was filled in and enlarged in order to build higher.
This shows two levels which were excavated revealing painted carved walls. Many of these depict a deity now known as Ayapec, a pre-Quechua word translating as “All Knowing”.

A woman in our tour group had climbed these “hills” when she was a student never knowing the treasure that was buried below! The site was rediscovered by picnicking students.

After 2 nights in Trujillo we took a 45-minute flight to Lima (Callao) for one final day and night in Miraflores (Lima). The ride to Miraflores at 10:30 pm was a breeze and would’ve taken only 30 minutes if not for the taxi stopping for fuel! (That was a first for us.)

Even at 8:15 pm the next day the return trip to the airport took an hour.

El Parque de Amor (Love Park) in Miraflores. The colorful tile mosaics reminded me of Parque Guëll in Barcelona, Spain.
Cool and socked in, it actually drizzled a bit in Miraflores.

Apart from the gloominess of the weather, it was a treat to be in a modern neighborhood abounding with cute eateries, bakeries and coffee shops. But our trip was winding down and we were ready to go home to familiar foods and eateries!

We flew an American Airlines “red-eye” from Lima to Dallas Ft. Worth and then caught a flight to Portland. Once again we didn’t have any delays or problems amazingly!

It sure felt good to be back home! 

Until next time…


One response to “Perú: A Return to Sea Level

  1. Interested to see your comments on Trujillo. We had planned to go there. When I looked on a Google map site for the area around a hotel we were considering, somehow the screen switched to a view of the street. Wow, I so DID NOT want to be staying there! The plan switched from Trujillo to Arequipa and I consider that little Google map look a real blessing!

    Liked by 1 person

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