More Moche ruins and a night bus

Having woken at 5.30am I thought I wouldn’t go back to sleep but I must have dozed off because the next time I woke it was nearly 8.30am! It is most unusual for me to do that. I got up and had breakfast, chatted to one or two people and then got slowly packed up. For some reason, they didn’t hassle me to leave the room by 10am like they had done with a number of other guests.

I left my bags downstairs and headed into town where I visited the Casa Urquiaga, which is part of the blue Bank building in the plaza. It didn’t take very long as there wasn’t much in it but it was interesting nevertheless. I just love the old Colonial buildings.

Afterwards, I wandered down to the Avenida Los Incas to catch a ‘collectivo’ to the Huacas of the Sun and the Moon. I don’t think I could have managed to get a more decrepit van if I had tried. I ended up sitting on the ledge behind the front passenger. Their seat was tipped back and the cushion part of my ‘seat’ kept moving. I was also right next to the sliding door, which didn’t shut completely, and which the conductor appeared to be holding closed for most of the trip. There were a number of missing parts and none of the doors opened or closed properly. Needless to say, it was jam packed full, so wasn’t the most comfortable of journeys, although I was able to move to a proper seat once one lady got off.

Huaca del Sol on the left and Trujillo in the distance
Huaca del Sol on the left and Trujillo in the distance
Part of the Temple of the Moon (Huaca de la Luna)
Part of the Temple of the Moon (Huaca de la Luna)

We drove quite a way out of Trujillo and eventually arrived at Moches. The driver delivered me to the ticket office (I was the only person in the van by this stage as the conductor had also disappeared) and I bought my ticket and then had to walk all the way back to the temples in the heat and wind, which was driving the sand across the road.

I was told I had to rush and join a tour that had already started but, as the tour was in Spanish, I didn’t bother (although, strictly speaking, you are not supposed to be there without a guide.) I listened in to part of the tour and then wandered around the Temple of the Moon in my own time. There is a huge amount of renovation going on, although the site itself is not very big. The pyramids were built by the Moches, once again, the same community that belonged to the Lord of Sipan in Chiclayo.

I didn’t bother to walk the distance to the Temple of the Sun as I had had enough by that time so waited for a collectivo to return to town. Thankfully, this one was in a slightly better condition!

Part of a freize at Huaca de la Luna near Trujillo
Part of a freize at Huaca de la Luna near Trujillo

By now, I was starving so made my way to the plaza and La Llave cafe, where I had the set lunch. This was ok but not as good value as I had had in the restaurant of the last two days. The cafe itself was decorated with displays of some very old keys.

Once I had finished eating, I had a short wander round town and then decided to try the Museo Cafe, which I had read about, for coffee. I was very glad I did as the decor was most interesting, it being a cross between a Gentlemens’ Club and a pub. There were lots of photographs on the walls and all the furniture was very old, including the well worn leather bench seat that I parked myself on. Whilst I was there it started to rain so I didn’t rush my coffee and sat there for quite some while. I’m glad I did as, when I went to pay, I realised it was the most expensive coffee I have had in a long while but at least it was good and not made with evaporated milk!

Cafe Museo in Trujillo
Cafe Museo in Trujillo

I made my way back to the hostel where the Frenchman I had spoken to at breakfast was sitting in the common seating area. I attempted to read but he kept interrupting and I was grateful when one of his friends turned up and took his attention away. He was also going on the bus to Huaraz tonight, although with a different company.

Once he had gone, I was able to read, have some wine and then a shower and rearrange my baggage. I was just talking to the lady who had checked me in when another girl arrived and it turned out I had met her in the hostel in Quito, which is quite a coincidence, so had a chat to her as well.

The hostel lady called me a taxi at about 9pm and I arrived at the Terminal Terrestre in plenty of time for the 10.30pm Movil tours bus. I was very thankful to be leaving the hostel as I wasn’t very impressed with it. My room appeared to have been constructed in a corner of the landing. It was a most bizarre arrangement and the room was extremely stuffy as there was no real air coming in.

The bus station is very new and modern and was relatively empty. I had to check in my back pack and was then able to sit in the VIP lounge where I read whilst I was waiting. The bus was extremely comfortable with reclining seats and blankets. We were even given a roll and biscuit. I managed to sleep on and off throughout the night (once the film had finished playing above my head) and was, in fact, asleep when we arrived in Huaraz.

Moche tombs and desert roads

I had a fairly restless night and woke up early. Eefje and Israel had told me about the Moche ruins and museums for which Chiclayo is famous and, having actually read about them after they gave me the information, I decided to visit the Museo de Tumbas Reales de Sipan. This contained tombs of El Senor di Sipan (Lord of Sipan) and various important members of the Moche community, who lived between 300 and 700 BC. When discovered, these tombs were considered almost as important as that of Tutankhamen. Thankfully, they told me about them and made me realise that I should read a guide book occasionally!

I walked to the ‘collectivo’ garage, which took a little finding, and then had to wait a while for them to get more passengers. I was dropped off in the centre of Lambayeque and was pointed in the right direction for the museum. There are, in fact, two museums in Lambayeque, the other being the Bruning, but I only visited the Tumbas Reales.

First of all though, having not had any breakfast, I had a quick look in the market for juice but decided against having one after I saw them rinsing the glasses with water from the tap. (A bus journey and upset stomach are not a good combination.) I settled for juice in a carton and an empanada from a small cafe instead. The market was very busy and, again, comprised a lot of very narrow alleyways. Once again, I was the only tourist around and so was very wary and didn’t linger (not that I am a nervous traveller or anything….!). There were also a lot of security guards around, which didn’t reassure me.

Tumbas Reales Museum in Lambayeque
Tumbas Reales Museum in Lambayeque

Inside the museum, which was a stark contrast to the town outside, I attempted to read the Spanish signs and appreciated the occasional, seemingly random, English ones. The displays contained a lot of the gold, silver, copper, shell and turquoise treasures and artefacts that were found in the tombs, as well as reconstructions of the tombs themselves, complete with skeletons. It was extremely well presented and ended with a very realistic, animated tableau of the Moches. I was very glad to have visited it before I left for Trujillo.

Traffic outside the market in Lambayeque
Traffic outside the market in Lambayeque

For my return to Chiclayo, I had to go back to the main highway and look for a ‘collectivo’ going in the direction of the city. The most difficult part of this was crossing the road! There are always conductors calling the destinations of the buses/collectivos (which are like mini vans) so I very quickly found one. However, having specifically asked if it was going to the centre, the terminal for this particular collectivo was nowhere I recognised, nor did I have any idea where in the city I was. When I asked, the conductor pointed to the road to the right and basically said it was down there. Unfortunately my Google maps, a standby in desperation, didn’t work as I was off line.

Already feeling somewhat overwhelmed, I walked down the road that he indicated and eventually spotted a very large billboard for WhatsApp that I hoped was the one near the collectivo garage. Luckily it was, which was something of a relief. I stopped at the supermarket and stocked up on water and some lovely ciabatta rolls. I had still got the avocado and some sort of vegetable pastry thing I had bought at the bakery yesterday so was well supplied for eventualities. As it turned out, it was just as well I was.

I was already dreading having to find a taxi and negotiate with them to get to the bus station. However, whilst I was packing up, I heard Israel and Eefje in their room and, as I knew they were also heading to Trujillo, I asked if I could share a taxi with them. Unfortunately, they weren’t ready for another half an hour but the hotel called a taxi, Israel did the negotiating and we arrived at the terminal about 2.30pm, only to find that the next available seats weren’t until 4pm. Even though the buses left every half hour, they were all full. This meant that, as the journey was four hours long, we wouldn’t arrive until well after dark, something I normally try to avoid like the plague. The other two were going onto the beach at Huanchaco, so I wouldn’t be able to share a taxi.

Desert on the way to Trujillo
Desert on the way to Trujillo

The route took us through yet more dry, flat and dusty landscape with occasional areas where there must have been some form of irrigation as sugar cane and rice were being cultivated. There were also the occasional hills. We had the front seats on a double decker bus, which, whilst providing us with an excellent view, meant that we couldn’t stretch our legs so, by the end, I was getting decidedly fidgety. I had had a headache all day, which drugs wouldn’t remove, and managed to doze for a while, but the journey seemed extremely slow. There was a lot of traffic on the road and we stopped at many small towns along the way.

Eventually we arrived, Israel and Eefje said goodbye (I am sure they were quite thankful to be on their own again) and I took a mini van/taxi that was in the bus terminal and operated by the bus company (Emtrafesa). I’m sure I paid far too much but it is all relative (it was only a couple of dollars anyway) and it was safe. The hostel looked all closed up when I rang the bell and the driver waited until somebody opened the door, which I really appreciated. The lady did not appear to be expecting me but eventually found my booking. She was very kind and helpful and gave me a bit of tourist information, which I struggled to take in, being extremely tired by that stage and the conversation being all in Spanish. After the formalities, I was shown my room, which is another internal one with a window into a void. It also appeared to be a temporary construction in a hallway. She didn’t have any with exterior windows and seemed a bit puzzled by my request. The room is very basic and I am sharing a bathroom but there did not seem to be any other rooms, apart from one, that were occupied.

I had a shower, ate my delicious ciabatta with the, now squashed, avocado and went to sleep!