To the North of Peru – Chimbote and Trujillo

So, I haven’t written in three months and now I’m posting something from back in November?! Actually I wrote this in December and am now posting it. Well… oops.

In November I still had a travel weekend left, but I didn’t have a travel partner nor did I really have a plan to go somewhere. So what better to do than to visit my fellow Belgian exchange student in Chimbote, the small fishing town where I was supposed to stay for a whole year too. That’s how I found myself packing a small back pack and hopping on the night bus to Chimbote.

At the bus terminal my friend, Luna, picked me up. It was still strange to meet her again, even though she came to Lima once. And it’s even stranger to talk so much dutch in so little time, while most of my dutch speaking is limited to one hour phone calls. Luna lead us to a place where we could take a “colectivo” to her house, which you can compare with the buses in Lima, just in the form of a taxi. It was kind of weird to see that there were barely busses driving on the streets. 

Plaza de Armas of Chimbote.

After a short time in the “colectivo”, we arrived at her house. I got introduced to her family, we ate breakfast, chilled a little bit in her room, hung up the laundry, chilled some more and then it was time to discover Chimbote. We hung around in the Plaza de Armas, some other parks and just walked a bit through the town. Afterwards, her host sister picked us up to go eat … Ceviche! Because how could I not eat fish in the town that smells like it, is what I thought. But my friend warned me to never say aloud that the town smelled like fish. 

So an hour later, my tummy was stuffed with what was the best ceviche, chicharron de pescado and arroz con mariscos I had ever eaten in Peru. Satisfied we went back home, to again chill a little bit, when Luna’s AFS volunteer came to pick us up to go climb the mountain with a view of whole Chimbote. The weirdest thing was that this AFS volunteer would have been my host sister if I had stayed in Chimbote, because her family was almost the family I was gonna be staying with for this exchange year. It didn’t take long for us to make jokes about it, addressing each other as “casi hermana mayor” and “casi hermana menor”. 

On top of el Cerro.

On top of the mountain, we had an amazing view of the city with all the fishing boats that were spread out in the sea. If you’re wondering what you have to do in Chimbote, this is for sure it. It was truly worth the hike, but as we had been taking too many photos and just spending too much time up there, it was starting to get late. We needed to get down of the mountain before it was dark, so we half walked half ran down the hill. Even the security guard at the bottom was shining his flashlight in our direction, which made us run even harder. We came home exhausted but all in all it was a great day. 

Spending too much time, a.k.a being little children.

The next day our plan was to go to Trujillo, which is three hours to the north of Chimbote. We went to visit Chan Chan, which is the capital of the Chimu culture and is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the largest adobe city in the world. It was once home to 60 000 inhabitants and lots of treasures. All good and well, but it only takes seeing that much ruins that after a while it just isn’t all that impressive anymore. But still, it was the most impressive one I had seen until that moment. 

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Walking through the ruins of Chan Chan.

Afterwards, we went back to Trujillo city to take in some of the sights. At least we thought we wanted to see some sights, but didn’t really find anything. Even the Plaza de Armas was not open because it was under construction. We settled on eating some hamburgers and McFlurries (which I have a new found love for) in McDonalds just because everything seemed to be closed. It was that bad that at 4pm we just decided to go back to Chimbote so I could enjoy my last hours. Even Chimbote seemed to be more lively and eventful than Trujillo, which is supposed to be one of the largest cities in Peru. But maybe we shouldn’t have gone on a Sunday… 

At least the Church was open for a short while in the morning.

Then the time came to say goodbye to my friend, thank her family, promise I would for sure come back another time and get my bus back to Lima. Until next time, Chimbote.

( ps. Follow this blog for more upcoming stories of some time ago – including Bolivia!! )

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