Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Travel Tuesday: Surf's Up In Huanchaco

We were in chilly Huaraz, it was 8:50 and we were killing time waiting for our bus at 10pm to go to Huanchaco and Trujillo on the North Coast of Peru when Nick flicked the TV on. On every station there were news reports about the earthquake that had hit Chile, which meant they were predicting a tsunami to hit the area we were going to. We looked at the map and the route the bus took was the PanAmerican Highway which ran along the coast, all night. Not good. We had to either risk going, or lose the money for the bus. We asked the lady at Joe's place and she seemed pretty sure that we would be fine. Risking the value of a ticket over our own lives we decided to take the bus.

I was so scared all night, I don't sleep well on buses, but this was even worse. I kept peering out of the window into the still darkness, expecting to see a huge mass of water heading towards the bus out of the blackness. But we arrived safe and sound at Trujillo bus station at 4am and jumped into a taxi. The taxi driver explained that nothing had happened, and that he had been on a fishing boat the night before and although it had been a little choppy, it was fine.

We decided to use the Lonely Planet for once and chose a hostel Naylamp which offered private rooms, dorms and camping too. We didn't really get to look around as it was still dark, but the sleepy guy on reception ushered us into a deluxe room and we were amazed. The room was built up on a hill and overlooked the sea. It was ensuite and had the towels folded into amazing origami shapes on the bed. I know, it's the small things, but when you're travelling luxuries are few and far between. I would strongly recommend this hostel, it was really clean, next to the beach, spacious and also did great food.
Huanchaco
We woke up pretty late and ordered breakfast to our room, lemon pancakes and chamomile tea! After that we went on a hunt for a pharmacist to try and get rid of the bug that was hunting us once and for all. Finding a pharmacy proved a harder task than we thought, considering how small the town is, there are not many signs, so you have to peer into the shady shops to see what they have on offer. The lady gave us some medicine and a huge bottle of strawberry medicine and told us to drink it all in 24 hours. Quite a challenge! We spent our first day just enjoying our room, the camping area meant there was lots of green space with hammocks, and with the beach just a stone's throw away we wandered by the sea that no longer seemed as menacing as the night before. We had dinner at the Dutch owned vegetarian restaurant next to the hostel, filling up on falafel and apple pie and were in bed by 9:30.
Huanchaco
Feeling much better after resting and our medicine we decided to do something touristy and go to Chan Chan. This is the biggest remaining ancient mud city in the world. As we walked down the path to the visitor centre, we could't believe how huge it was and how long we actually had to walk for! The yellow sandy walls contrasted with the blue sky and the sea beyond. Each King would build his own temple in the city and when he died it would be closed off with all of his treasures as his grave, and his predecessor would start to build his own grave temple. Pretty cool.
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
The next day we went for a surf lesson. Nick was definitely on his way to becoming a pro, I was more like a beached whale with my mobility on a board. The teacher would send me off into the wave and shout 'GET UP! GET UP GET UP!' but I was just enjoying the ride and found it really hard to get up and keep my balance. After a couple of attempts, the teacher helped me get in position and said softly 'If you don't get up this time, I will kill you!' Well that certainly gave me motivation but in my panic I fell off after a second or two. I swam reluctantly back to him and he said 'Just Relax!' I pointed out it was hard to relax when he had just threatened to kill me, he laughed and propelled me away on the next wave. Needless to say, it didn't happen for me!

We spent our last day in Peru in Trujillo, the city next to Huanchaco, and were a little sad that we hadn't spent longer there as it was really, really pretty. We grabbed some dinner at a fancy restaurant and started our huge mission to get to Ecuador. Vamos!
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
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