Last Day in Peru
I just got back into Lima after a 9 day long final trip to the cities of Cajamarca, Chachapoyas, and my favourite Peruvian city: Chiclayo. Since this was my last voyage here until I return, which will hopefully be very soon, I tried to squeeze in as much as I could, and though all of these cities are close by bus according to Peruvian standards (which means it takes about twelve hours to get to each one from the other) each represents a different and important part of Perú: Cajamarca is in the sierra and is called “the Cuzco of the North” by some, Chachapoyas is considered part of the Amazon (though really it is on the border between the sierra and the selva), and Chiclayo of course represents the fantastic heritage of the northern coast.
Allow me to sing the praises of Chiclayo for a minute. This city is often skipped over by foreigners and gringos both European and American, which to me definitely adds a little to it’s appeal. It feels very authentic, and since foreign tourists are rare you will be granted an incredibly warm welcome. Further, Chiclayo is known as “La Capital de la Amistad” (Capital of Friendship), and this name is definitely expressed and deserved by the residents of this city, the fourth-largest in Perú. The food in Chiclayo is fabulous, highlights include arroz con pato (rice with duck), cabrito seco (a delicious goat dish), and of course ceviche, especially the variety with conchas negras, which are rumoured to have aphrodisiac effects. The area around Chiclayo contains a myriad of sites from the Moche and Lambayeque cultures, two of the most fascinating pre-Columbian civilisations in my opinion, and as there have not been nearly as much archaeological investigations there as in other parts of Perú new discoveries are constantly being made. I love Chiclayo and would love to share the wonders of this incredible city and its surrounding areas with anyone else who is interested. I know a couple very good guides and feel I am pretty familiar with the area, that said, if you are going to be in Perú and plan on travelling north shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would be happy to help you plan your trip.
I had a great time on this trip, and saw many things I didn’t think I was going to be able to see, including the famous cloud forest fortress of Kuelap outside of Chachapoyas, the abandoned colonial town of Zaña outside Chiclayo, and the archeological and geological wonders of Cumbemayo outside of Cajamarca. Chiclayo was the only place I had visited before, but as I had made friends with a guide during my previous stay there I was able to have some truly unique experiences, including a private tour of Zaña and the Huaca of Collud at sunset and a healing ceremony with a shaman on the edge of the sacred Cerro La Raya in Túcume, where the Peruvian Valley of the Pyramids is located. It was a fantastic trip and a great way to finish my study abroad experience here.
Now that I am back in Lima, I feel very weird to be honest. It’s especially strange that I will only be in the city I have lived in for the past five months more or less for about twelve hours before I return back to the United States for a couple of weeks and travel to study abroad in Spain. I really don’t know how I will feel tomorrow once I arrive home, but you will definitely find out in my final blog post that will be arriving tomorrow (or maybe the next day depending on how tired I am after my flight and what my family has planned for me when I get home).