After our amazing Galapagos time and a chill night in Guayaquil where we decided to skip being tourists and went to the cinema and a huge mall, we took a bus to the colonial town of Cuenca. The bus took us over the Andes, right through clouds and through the beautiful Cajas National Park.
In the middle of the cloud, the phone signal weirdly was finally good enough to receive some good news from the Netherlands. I had won a price for my thesis! Cuenca, we decided, would be a place to chill and celebrate.
We stayed at Swiss-owned Hostal Yakumama which was nice and cheap but only lacked a kitchen. We went to an amazing market in town (for our favorite game of exotic fruit trial) so a kitchen would have been great. Also, because Cuenca turned out to be the place where I became sick for longer than a day for the first time on the trip (not being able to make tea on your own is not exactly ideal). Still, we found some time to explore the city a bit. We went to the Turi viewpoint, Chris visited the modern art museum, we walked along some of the four rivers, and also had some German sweet stuff at a German bakery.
After we had to call off our first booked nightbus trip to let me sleep in a bed for another night, we took the trip to Peru the next day. Surprisingly, I was completely fine again (thanks to “Dr. Cuenca”, as he is called in my WhatsApp now, and his probiotics), but Chris got a serious throat pain that turned out to be an infection. At least there was always one of us to be fine and luckily, the health system in both Peru and Ecuador worked really well, fast, and super cheap (in Peru only $2,50 for the whole diagnosis!). Just don’t trust pharmacies, they might give you some antibiotics without telling you (…)!
The nightbus from Cuenca with Super Semaria took 12 hours to Chiclayo and was really comfortable. The border crossing, even in the middle of the night, turned out to be the easiest so far. Finally, the places to get the stamps for the two countries were right next to each other in the same building! Great improvement.
The museum was very impressive, it introduced us to the Mochica culture which is one of the most important pre Inca cultures. The amount of treasures and the beauty of the gold, silver or copper items from the tombs is very impressive. No pictures unfortunately, cameras are not allowed in the museum.
Chiclayo made for a good first impression of Peru with friendly and helpful people, a super impressive culture and good food people are proud of for good reasons. It is evident however that people have much less than for example in Ecuador. Roads are aweful, prices are very cheap and we unfortunately saw a lot of garbage and even people living in the middle of a huge pile in the desert.
Speaking of the desert, that’s were we have been so far. The whole coast area of Perú’s North and also Lima is in the desert. Still, the climate is quite comfortable because of the ocean, it isn’t very hot actually.
There we spent the most chill 3 days ever. Our hostel after the first night was Frog’s surf hostel, which can be described as a hippie chill-out place or simply the best hostel I have ever been to! The place is on a hill a bit out of the town center with a beautiful ocean view (amazing sunsets) and consists of a lobby with a big open kitchen with an oven and a blender (smoothies and Christmas cookies!), ping-pong, foosball and pool tables, an upper chill-out lounge with sunset yoga, couches and sit-on pillows.
While we were there, we even witnessed a beautiful proposal and love celebration of a Peruvian lesbian couple that unfortunately is not officially allowed to marry. Still, they want to have a symbolic ceremony and we were lucky enough to witness their love’s declaration. Very Latin American but very beautiful (all with really kitchy live music by a hired band).
Huanchaco was perfect, unfortunately Chris throat infection made him unable to talk nearly the whole time… Still, he enjoyed it silently but luckily antibiotics worked and he can talk again. While in Huanchaco, I also tried surfing again (this time quite successfully I would say) and we did an excursion to the nearby ruins of Chan Chan, a city completely build out of mud bricks by the Chimu people, another civilization that was incorporated into the Inka empire.
Is was huge and very impressive, unfortunately it is not really resistant against time so we saw people reconstructing parts of it. Huanchaco has been amazing and we were reluctant to leave.. The best place to recover from illnesses, long-term travelling or simply to meet new friends. Next stop is Lima where we are right now.