We stayed two days in Trujillo and slept the one night at a brand new hostal called 'hospedaje backpackers', which I feel I should mention as it was lovely but had only been open a week and could do with a few customers!It had two big dorm rooms with eight beds, all adorned in the most gorgeous blankets in all different colours.Everything was brand new, and we had the whole place to ourselves.They had constructed a sort of chill out area out the back with lots of hammocks suspended underneath a cute bamboo tree house.There was nobody there to sit in them of course, but they were the nicest hammocks we'd seen so far on the trip, and we have seen a lot since we've been looking out for some to send home.We were desperate to know where they'd bought them from; the answer was of course Ecuador - damn!
Trujillo was a nice enough sort of place, but we had stopped there mainly to visit the nearby archaeological sites of Chan Chan and the Sun and Moon temples.Chan Chan was once the biggest pre-Colombian city in South America and was built by the Chimú, a culture that existed around from 700 AD until about 1460 AD, when the Incas put a stop to all their fun.Of course, the Incas were fairly nice sort of people and they left all the treasures of Chan Chan in situ; but when the Spanish came they smashed it to bits and took everything of any worth from the city.The absence of any remaining valuable artefacts is no more apparent than at the museum, which exhibits, amongst other treats, a selection of mud bricks in a glass cabinet.The city itself is massive though, and they have only begun to restore just one of the seven or so giant palaces in the city; this palace, a huge maze of corridors and rooms made from adobe, was great fun to explore though. Chan Chan would probably be an amazing place to visit in a few decades time, once they have restored more of the city.
The Sun and Moon temples, as the Spanish named them, are even older structures built by the Moche: a culture that was around before the Chimú.Archaeologists have only had the chance to excavate the Moon temple so far; the much larger Sun temple, although badly damaged by the Spanish, lies beside it like a huge monolith, still covered in sand.The Moche used the Moon temple for ceremonial events, and to house the king.Every time a king would die they would abandon the temple, fill it in with bricks and build a new temple on top.The Moon temple has five levels like this, and archaeologists have been chipping away the bricks to reveal the brightly decorated facades of the earlier temples buried underneath.It's a really impressive site, and you can get a good feel for what it must have looked like when it was being used by the Moche.
We visited a few other sites, which were not as impressive, but which did have some very weird Peruvian Hairless Dogs milling about outside them.As the name suggests, these dogs are almost completely bald and very friendly, and I instantly wanted one.Their body temperature is a little higher than normal dogs, and they used to prescribe them to people with arthritis as they would provide some relief if you could convince them to sleep on your ankles overnight!