Sunday, 30 September 2007

Third Highest Waterfall

Never ever fully believe what you are told! Today I have two examples of this............

I took the overnight bus from coastal Chiclayo to Chachapoyas, a remote, small, Andean town halfway down to the Amazonian plains. Surrounding the main square are a few tourist agency offices (including one in my hostel). All proclaimed the tour to the "Third highest waterfall in the world". After my visit to these impressive falls, I asked Mr Google..............

At 771m the Gotca waterfall is the 15th highest in the world. Oh this space for in December I should see the world's highest falls. Robbie Williams made a single about them.

I had to choose an agency to get me to the falls. It seems all agencies will tell you anything to get your cash. I knew one agency was running the trip. The agency at my hostel was not as there were no other gringos about. However on my way to book the trip my hostals agency told me they had 2 others wanting to go!! The trip would start at 4.00am.

The 2 others turned out to be a party of 30 teenage girls on a schooltrip. We returned at 10.00pm after visiting the falls (they screamed as they got wet under the falls), then a lake (so the girls could scream on a boat ride) then a disco (so the girls could scream to the music). So a screaming, 16 hour trip, that would have been a tranquil 8 hours if I had used the other agency.


Friday, 28 September 2007

The Lord of Sipan

The Lord of Sipán (El Señor de Sipán) is a mummy found in Sipán by Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva in the 1987. The tomb is in Sipán's Huaca Rajada, an area in Chiclayo.

The Señor de Sipán tomb is a Moche site in Peru. Some archaeologists hold it to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in this region of the world in the last 30 years, because the main tomb was found intact and untouched by thieves.

Sipán is located in the northern part of Peru, close to the coast, in the middle of Lambayeque Valley, 35 Kms. at east of Chiclayo. Four tombs have been found in Sipán's Huaca Rajada, the huaca is a mausoleum built by the Moche culture that ruled the northern coast of Peru from the time of Christ to 700 AD, centuries prior to the Incas.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Gold Gold Gold

From the high Andean valley of Cajamarca I returned down to the derset coast. This time to the small city of Chiclayo.

In the numerous river valleys around the city are the remains of Moche and Sipan civilisations, and I explored these over two days. The oldest adobe pyramids here are also the largest. Remains from these two mounds, abandoned after the 1100AD El Niño floods are shown in the Sican site museum. Here are some of the exhibits:

The actually site from where these items were discovered still has ongoing archeological work going on.

Final stop of the day was to the Brunning museum which contains many items from the numerous civilisations Peru has given birth to. The exhibits here were fabulous.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Pachamama`s pinnacles

High upin the mountains that tower over Cajamarca is an area of volcanic tors. Very photogenic. These are the Cumbe Mayo, and attracted the Incas spiritual tendencies. Here they cut a rock platform (for sacrifices to Pachamama) and a series of water channels to carry water from this holy place down to Cajamarca.

Incas End

From Trujillo I took a bus back into the Andes. It took just 8 hours including a needed lunch stop by a newly created reservoir. My destination was Cajamarca. a beautiful colonial city, second only to Cusco in "colonial charm".

It was here that the Spanish first encountered the Inca army, slaughtered them, taking captive their leader. So ended the Inca Empire.

Chimu Chan Chan

The big sight around Trujillo is the Chimu civilisation (they have had a lot of civilisations in Peru1), city of Chan Chan. Built of mud, it is an interesting place.Most ruins are craggy and rough, but these adobe ones have been rounded by the El Niño rains over the centuries.

Reed boats

Just outside Trujillo the fishing village/beach resort of Huanchaco. Here they still use reed boats to head out into the pounding pacific surf to fish.

Mud Glorious Mud

Trujillo is Peru's third largest city, although it's compact central area did not make it feel that big. Like Lima most restaurants serve up fantastic ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice, onion and chilli) and my favourite arroz y mariscos (seafood with rice). Seafood is my favourite so wonderful cheap lunches were a highlight of the days I spent here.

My first trip out was to the two adobe pyramids of the sun and the moon, built by the Moche civilisation. After 1000 years the mud has smeared somewhat and what remains is huge pile of mud. Interesting to archeologists and mud freaks but to me was just a stroll around out in the desert surrounding Trujillo.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Scary Bus Ride

Huaraz was simply a stunning location and I could have stayed a lot longer. There was an eight day trek I could have done, involving a 4500m+ pass to cross everyday, and a few mountains above 5500m that could be "walked" with the help of crampons and ice axes. I was in two minds as to what to do, so did what I have done in the past and tossed a coin to decide. The Queen said head onwards, so this is what I did.

My next destination was the coastal city of Trujillo, with it's pre Inca ruins. To get here I opted to go the scenic route (and longer route) via the Cañon Del Pato (Duck's canyon). The bus ride follows a narrow track deep within the river canyon, through numerous tunnels. It was a bumpy and blood chilling ride, yet fantastic all the same, particularly when the track edge disappeared below the window leaving a view of the river way way below. A great journey!!

The pictures below are not mine, but uplifted from the internet (I was on the bus so could not snap away). Oh on the bus roof were four sheep and one goat, all netted down. I wonder if they were as scared of the possibilities as I was?

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Laguna 69

With a name like Laguna 69 I just had to hoof it up there. The lake stands below the glacier covered peaks, notably Cerro Pisco, at a lofty 4650m, so getting up there was slow going due to the altitude. It took three hours of walking up and just two to get back down. It was one of the most stunning day hikes I have every enjoyed.

The following photo shows Huascaran (on the right), at 6768m, it is Peru´s highest peak.

Cerro Pisco above a waterfall.

View from the final and very steep climb up to the lake:

Arriving at Laguna 69, a classic glacial cirque, with the most intense blue colour: