Cajamarca is a tranquil city nestled deep in the valley surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside that we have seen. Once a major inca stronghold which finally succumbed to the order of the Spanish. Famous for the capture and death of Athualpa ( the Inca Lord), who was kept for ransom, then killed once gathering a room full of his riches. The locals say that his body was buried somewhere deep in the forests of Peru, where one day he will return to all his glory. Athualpa converted to christianity on the day of his death, in order to avoid the death penalty of being burnt at the stake. The cruel spaniards broke his neck and understanding the religious implications of keeping his body whole, burnt him anyway, a true act of disrespect.
A tour took us to the nearby village of Otuzco. Maz was carried via horse to a pre-inca graveyard built into the hillside. A wonderfully enigmatic and knowledgeable guide brought this history alive. Only 300 bodies were ever placed into this highly respected graveyard. The spanish accumlating information on jewels and wealth contained within these tombs, ramsacked and then burnt the mummified bodies as they were idolised by the mass who often brought gifts in kind.
Visitation to local artesans and a floral garden, where we tried a local beverage known as Chicha Moche, an acquired taste!!! Finally we made our way to the local cheese factory ( this region is known for its dairy production) Familiarising ourselves with the production process as well as the tasting process..yum yum!
A much needed hot bath brought us to the natural hot springs, where we bathed our tired aching muscles. The distinct smell of sulphur couldn´t put us off and neither did it Althulapa who bathed in these springs before his sudden capture and death.
Steep steps to the door of Cerro Santa Apolonia. A church that sits on the hillside over looking the city. Exploring the beautiful gardens, caged hawks and pre-columbian carvings.
Here we experienced our first episode of pre carnival celebrations involving being chased down the street trying to avoid the water bombs thrown at us as we were the moving targets.We considered making our way further north to Chachapoyas, but due to the decline in weather we decided to travel south to Huaraz.