After all the rushing about we had been doing lately we were looking forward to spending a bit of time relaxing over Christmas. We had booked a flight from Cusco to Lima for the 22nd of December for S/.267.96 each. The guide books had made us a bit worried that there wouldn't be any flights available as it was a busy time but we had no trouble booking a week before. We also managed to buy bus tickets from Lima to Trujillo for later the same day, booking them at the bus station in Cusco (S/.60.00 each for business class). Fortunately everything went smoothly and we arrived in Trujillo at about 10:30 that night. We then took a taxi to Huanchaco. The taxi driver turned out to be a bit of a crazy driver and we were very relieved when we pulled up outside our hotel. We had booked a room at Huanchacos Gardens although it turned out to be more like a bungalow. It cost a bit more than we would normally pay at S/.55.00 per night but we decided to splash out on somewhere with a pool as it was Christmas (excuse the pun). It was also only a 2 minute walk to the beach.
We spent 6 nights in Huanchaco and most of the time we spent relaxing. The town was very laid back and only really got busy in the afternoon, presumably due to people visiting from Trujillo for the day. Lots of the children on the beach were very friendly and would come and talk to us. One even remarked that it was funny how Mark and I spoke to each other in English. She didn´t seem to have noticed how poor my Spanish is. We hired surf boards for a couple of days from Casa Suiza for S/.25.00 per day including a wetsuit. It was good fun but my surfing skills have not really improved at all. Spending Christmas Day in the sunshine was very strange and we both felt a bit home sick. We were able to use the kitchen at our hotel to cook our own dinner. Mark didn´t really feel like having turkey though because a couple of days before we had seen some turkeys tied up and then the next day they were gone. We managed to burn our mouths while cooking though as one of the peppers we were using turned out to be a chili.
The day after Boxing Day we decided we ought do go and visit the local sights. We caught a colectivo and it dropped us off close to Chan Chan for S/.1.00 each. Chan Chan is from the Chimu period and they were eventually defeated by the Incas. After walking from the main road for about 10 minutes we arrived at the entrance. The ticket cost S/.10.00 per person and also included entry into the Chan Chan museum. Only the higher class would have lived in Chan Chan with the lower classes living outside of it. There were lots of ceremonial plazas with intricate carvings around the walls. The carvings would have been painted in lots of vibrant colours but are now clay. It was certainly very different from any of the Inca ruins we had seen, mainly due to the colour and smoothness of the walls. It is the largest adobe city ever discovered. In the centre of the complex there was a raised platform where you could get a view over the complex. It was built in a very dry desert area but they incorporated an irrigation system to allow them to grow crops. It is still possible to see one of the wells although I am sure the original residents did not keep penguins as pets.
We took a taxi to see the Chan Chan museum. This contains some artifacts found on the Chan Chan complex including original pottery. It didn't really take too long to look and we went out to catch another colectivo into Trujillo. We went to a cafe for lunch that was called something like Olevidos. They had a really good toasted sandwiches that were more exciting that the normal plain cheese sandwich. They also had about 4 different types of chocolate cake so naturally we tried one. After eating we took a taxi to the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. They are about 8km out of the centre, although it is possible to catch a bus there. The pyramids are also from the Moche period although only the Temple of the Moon has been excavated so far. The pyramids were built on several platforms and each time a priest died they would cover a platform up and build a new one. This has allowed some of the colourful paintings to remain in good condition. A lot of the paintings depict their God, a dragon like creature. It cost S/.10.00 each to view the Temple of the Moon, including a guided tour. The money goes towards the cost of the excavation, which is being carried out by Peruvians. Only the highest classes lived in the pyramids, which had a large wall surrounding it. The marks left by this wall can still be seen today and the lower classes lived outside of it.
Our tour finished just after the 4 o'clock closing time. We were told that a colectivo normally came to take the last visitors back to Trujillo but after waiting an hour it still hadn't appeared. We started to walk back towards town hoping we would find somewhere on the way to call a taxi. After about 5 minutes a Telefonica van stopped and the passengers offered us a lift back to town. One of the men just wanted to practise his English as he hoped to take his family to America next year. We were very grateful and they even dropped us off where we wanted to go, outside the Ormeno bus station. We needed to buy tickets to Piura for the next day but neither Ormeno or Cruz del Sur had buses on that route. We managed to book the tickets with another company for the 1:30 the following afternoon. We took a taxi back to Huanchaco, and this driver was a lot more sensible than the last one.