A cheeky weekend to Cajamarca

Peruvian women selling fabrics.

We decided to head out of the city for our last weekend together and we took a trip to Cajamarca. #ibmcsc peru3

Cajamarca is in the northern highlands of Peru and is about 7 hours drive away, so to get the best of the weekend we took the night bus. We had quite luxurious seats that slide back to almost flat so you can get a reasonable sleep.

The bus.
The bus.
Doug, Saurabh, Ellen, Hernando, Ashish, Sophie, Nadia and Kate.
Doug, Saurabh, Ellen, Hernando, Ashish, Sophie, Nadia and Kate.

We arrived in a very wet and cold Cajamarca at 4.30am. It was a real shock to the system. But we were taken to our hotel where we could sleep for a few more hours before breakfast.

After breakfast we started the tour. The first stop was to a beautiful valley about 20 minutes from the city. The area is called Cumbe Mayo (the thin river) with Los Frailones (the Stone Monks).

A beautiful view of the valley
A beautiful view of the valley
Another view of the valley
Another view of the valley
A Peruvian sierra finch.
A Peruvian sierra finch.

The Cumbe Mayo is a canal and aqueduct that was built over 3000 years ago and is thought to be one of the oldest man-made structures in South America. There are a number of petroglyphs on the structures and in surrounding caves.

Our guide pointing out the petroglyphs
Our guide pointing out the petroglyphs
The canal takes in a corner or two to control the flow of water
The canal takes in a corner or two to control the flow of water

Walking through Los Frailones, there are some amazing formations created by wind and rain. Apparently you can see shapes of animals and people, but I think you have to smoke the funny stuff to get the best out of it. Or perhaps the lack of oxygen might help – we had come from sea level and now we were at 3500m.

In the valley there was plenty of opportunity for selling traditional Peruvian woven fabrics, or the odd boiled potato or roasted corn kernels for snacks.

Peruvian women selling fabrics.
Peruvian women selling fabrics.

We walked slowly enjoying the scenery.

Cecilia, Sophie and Cate
Cecilia, Sophie and Cate
A random construction.
A random construction.
Cate, Hernando, Sophie and Ashish
Cate, Hernando, Sophie and Ashish
Sophie buys some traditional Peruvian fabric
Sophie buys some traditional Peruvian fabric

After the walk we headed back to Cajamarca for lunch and then on to Hacienda La Colpa. The area is famous for its dairy products and the Colpa was a farm dedicated to raising cattle and the production of milk. There were some lovely buildings, and of course the mandatory Alpaca. We also tried some local cheese and a traditional Peruvian dessert paste Manjar Blanco, also known as Dulce de Leche, which is basically reduced milk and sugar.

Farmbuildings

Farm buildings 2

The obligatory Alpaca
The obligatory Alpaca

After a quick trip to see a couple of waterfalls, and then the Inca Baths, it was time for dinner, or should I say cake!!!

Cakes!
Cakes!

We had been lucky with the weather on Saturday. The rain held off until dark, when it poured it down. Sunday was even better with a reasonable amount of blue sky. It was also a bit warmer.

On Sunday we stayed in Cajamarca, first climbing the Cerro Santa Apolonia, which provides great views of the city. From there, we descended some crazy steps with icons on each side.

The city view
The city view

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Some crazy steps.
Some crazy steps.
Icons
Icons
Ellen enjoying the views.
Ellen enjoying the views.
The city square, Plaza de Armas
The city square, Plaza de Armas

We then had a good wonder around the historical centre, visiting the Belén complex which included a women’s hospital, a mens hospital and a church. We also saw Atahualpas Ransom Room. Atahualpa was the last Incan emperor. Cajamarca had a bloody history when the Spanish conquest massacred 80,000 Incas in the 16th century. Pizarro took Atahualpas as hostage and there is a line in the room which is supposed to be the line to which the room was filled with treasure. But Atahualpa was executed anyway.

A street scene
A street scene

Outside the Belén church
Outside the Belén church
"I'll fill the room this high with treasure..."
“I’ll fill the room this high with treasure…”

Anyway, after that we just had an hour or so to check out a few souvenir shops and to catch the bus back to Trujillo.

The bus ride was an adventure in itself, but the shame of it was that I couldn’t get a decent view due to the transfers on the windows. We went back through spectacular mountain scenery, on a very, very winding road. The driver was an absolute maniac and cut 2 hours off the journey time, with the effect of making a lot of people throw up. I was lucky and concentrated on the barely visible scenery.

Series - Corporate Service Corps

  1. Corporate Service Corps – In the beginning I had a plan…
  2. CSC – From Application to Acceptance
  3. Team Peru 3: Final Week of Preparation
  4. Team Peru 3 meet in Trujillo
  5. Team Peru 3 get down to work – Cámara de Comercio y Producción de La Libertad
  6. Pyramids in Peru
  7. Trujillo Montage
  8. Team Peru 3 visit an Organic Farm
  9. A ‘Smarter Cities’ Community Day in Trujillo
  10. A cheeky weekend to Cajamarca
  11. Our time in Trujillo comes to an end…

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