Huaca de la Luna, Moche, Trujillo. A temple dating back to 100AD and a site of sacred importance to the people of Moche civilization where they performed ritual combat and human sacrifice.
Chiclayo to Pacasmayo 100km, 19th Oct
Pacasmayo 129km (should have been 110 but I got lost in Trujillo), 21st Oct
Finally we are enjoying life in Peru, visiting fascinating sites and learning a little of the culture and history. Trujillo is the location of the ancient city of Moche, a civilization which predates the Chimu and the Incas. And there is plenty to see around here.
And we are lucky to be staying with friends, Gerardo and Flor, (please note that if you don’t have friends here, there is “casa de ciclistas” at Avenida Santa 347, where Lucho, a keen cyclist opens his home to travelling cyclists like us).
Cycling South along the Coast is so much harder than cycling North because there is a constant northerly wind.
Fortunately for the first 80km from Chiclayo to Pacasmayo there was much less wind (don’t know where it had gone to) and flying along at 25 to 30kph was an absolute joy. The road was through sandy desert, sadly strewn with piles of rubbish and discarded bottles. So sad that so many Peruvians don’t take care of their own country. And by now I had become used to looking over my shoulder and moving off the road to allow the trucks to pass as they honk their unnecessarily loud horns. For the last 20 km, the wind picked up and the rest of the way was a battle. But in 5 hours, after some beautiful rice fields, I completed exactly 100km to arrive in Pacasmayo, a very pleasant surf resort with a tasteful seafront and a strange pier. We stayed 2 nights at ‘El Duke’ and enjoyed a relaxing rest day by the beach, a few beers and a Pisco Sour.
Pacasmayo to Trujillo became one of my trickier days. I thought it was about 100km but Google maps wouldn’t map my route out for me and I had been warned that Paijan was renowned for muggings and robberies on cyclists. So I gave all my valuables to Paola who was travelling by bus. I had imagined being mugged but feeling smug as I told them I was only carrying 30 soles. My valuables also included my phone so I had no map or gps. The reality was that Paijan was no problem so I really didn’t need to be so cautious.
There were long stretches where a new road is being built and I was able to ride without cars and trucks.
The headwind was persistent but manageable until I passed a toll at 80km, when the road started to climb up and the headwind became what I will politely refer to as ‘jolly strong’. At 8kph I could have walked faster, and the demons in my head rose up to ask me why the hell I was bothering with this, but I reminded myself that 8kph is more than 0kph and I just kept moving forwards. The route turned out to be 110km which would have been ok but without my map, I got lost. I went to the beach at Huanchaco (oops) followed by a tour around half of Trujillo asking taxi drivers who had no idea where the road was. Eventually I found my hosts but by then I had done 129km.
Trujillo is a great place to spend a couple of days. Not far away are the temples of “Huaca de la luna” and “Huaca de Sol”, two mud-brick (adobe) temples which were sacred sites of the ancient Moche and Chimu civilizations (100-700AD). We visited the amazing pottery in the museum and then took a tour of the Huaca de Luna. The temple was actually 5 temples as they chose to rebuild on top of the old temple each time. It was the site of ritual combat and human sacrifices. The detail and skill in their pottery was incredibly advanced which makes you wonder how these people followed the notion that clubbing a man to death or cutting his throat would keep the water flowing to their crops. And while 2000 years later we recognize this religion as barbaric nonsense, we still follow crazy traditions or commit acts of violence in the name of religion.
In the centre of Trujillo, we visited the wonderful Plaza de Armas, surrounded by magnificent colonial buildings in blue, maroon or mustard, including the Cathedral. Our host Gerardo took us inside some of these buildings including the central reserve bank and the court of justice. The architecture, and the original furniture from Bolivar’s day is well preserved for the public to enjoy.
Tomorrow we continue South towards Lima, which we expect will take 7 days.