We arrived in Trujillo about 8.30am and we found ourselves a little guy to take us to our hostel in the surf town of Huanchaco which was 20 minutes away.I had seen one online we were heading for called Surf lily which was right on the beachfront. Our guy was quite amusing going over the bumps really fast which was freaking Ellen out. He then also mentioned that Huanchaco was now a bit desserted as people had fled as there might be a second tsunami. We both knew it had taken place but we weren't sure if something had changed since we were traveling for the 10 hours from Lima. It turned out he was winding us up. Our hostel was cute and had a laid back feel to it, but saying that its the small town on the whole. The first day we just chilled out and had a look about. We went to a hostel/restaurant called Chill out and had a curry for 8 soles which was delicious :) The weather was very misty so it was not a day to lie on the beach sadly. We spent the day really chilling out and later that evening we had pizza at the hostel which was fantastic. We met a few German people in our room, two guys and a girl. She was called Claudia and really nice. She had been traveling a while on her own in SA i couldn't help but wonder how my experice would have been had I travelled alone in SA. Its great having Ellen here but just so different to when you are on your own. Its lovely as you have someone to share things with and you feel that bit safer when doing things.
The next day we woke and headed to Chan Chan. Here I have copied some history for you (cheating I know and just down right plagiarism)
The city of Chan Chan, capital of the Kingdom of Chimor, also known as the Chimu Empire, represents America's largest prehispanic mud-brick settlement. Its complexity has come to light only after years of intensive excavations. This large city covers 7.7 square miles and is centered on a 2.3 square mile urban core dominated by a series of huge enclosures - the palaces of the Chimu kings.
The next morning we woke up early and we then went to the Museum. Claudia and Henrik from our room joined us so we headed off on a local bus. They are like mini buses and they stop and pick you for like 1-2 soles and drop you to your spot. Brilliant and great fun. We spent probably an hour at the museum, it was quite small so we were finished quite quickly. We then headed for the Emeralda temple which was in the middle of the city and a bit like Chan Chan but not as grand. We were followed around the temple by these scary looking dogs. They are a Peruan style dog but man they are ugly. They look really scary and like they have rabies so we were not to keen to get close to them. They were like the dogs in Resident Evil :) There are a lot of dogs out here, a lot of homeless dogs but they all looks well fed so its good. Not like Asia where they look starved!! We then headed back to the hostel for our Spanish lesson. I did an hour and Ellen stayed for 2. Ellen's Spanish is much better then mine so we were technically different levels :) I then just chilled in the afternoon on the beach and finished reading The Time Travellers Wife, awesome book and much much better then the film!! Later on I caught back up with Ellen and we had dinner with Wendy and Sarah who were voluntering with an organisation called SKIP to support the Peruan children. Later we said our goodbyes and caught a taxi to Trujillo to get the night bus back to Lima.
The origins of the city go back to the beginnings of the first millennium AD when the first large enclosure, probably the Ciudadela Chayhuac, or Chayhuac Citadel, was built. Subsequently, many more ciudadelas, eleven in total. By the time the Inca conquered the Chimu domain, around 1470 AD, the capital was the center of an empire that covered a stretch of 621 miles of the Pacific coast and controlled about two-thirds of all agricultural land ever irrigated along the Pacific coast of South America.
The archaeological site is characterized by very tall walls, some of which are 26 feet high, which enclose each of the 11 citadels. Together with Huaca Obispo, Chan Chan's largest stepped pyramid, which lies at the north of the city, they form the bulk of the monumental architecture at the site. Each of these palaces, most of which are laid out in a very similar fashion in spite of the differences in size, are characterized by three types of structures: U-shaped audiencias, storerooms and wells. In general terms the site's high walls, long corridors, tortuous, winding passageways, and small entrances show how meticulously the regime controlled the flow of people within the enclosures.
The U-shaped rooms called "audiencias" are found in varying sizes and are interpreted as the administrative offices of the Chimu elite. Some are decorated with elaborate clay friezes that represent shellfish, stylized waves, marine birds and fish. On frieze, for example, represents a reed boat adorned with a cormorant and a giant squid about to gobble a fish.
The extensive storerooms, which have a capacity of 2,000 square meters, were found empty. Archaeologists, however, were able to find traces of manufactured goods, including the imprints of textiles, for instance, which probably were stored in these rooms until their removal around the time of the Inca conquest. The value attached to the items stored here is apparent by the controlling position of the audiencia-type building that one must pass in order to access them.
If the capacity of the Chan Chan storerooms is examined, it becomes evident that, unlike the Inca, they did not store huge amounts of staples; the available storage space is far smaller in comparison. On the contrary, they appear to have specialized in producing and trading small, but valuable, luxury goods possibly used as status symbols by distant lords. lt is quite possible that the marine scenes depicted on audiencia walls are linked not only to the realm of myth and ideology, but also to seafaring, a practice probably engaged in daily by Chimu fishermen and traders.
Evidence in favor of the "one king - one palace" theory carne from the excavation of several highly disturbed platforms found within the citadel enclosures. Clearing the debris left by intensive colonial looting, or "mining" as it was referred to then, a T- shaped tomb was found to have been at the center of the burial platforms. The people buried in these enormous tombs were accompanied in the grave by elaborate offerings of textiles, ceramics, and metalwork. The bones of dozens of women, found around the central grave, may point to large-scale human sacrifice. Apparently, their descendants, who continued to run what could be called the "Royal Mausoleums", used the compounds that contained these burial platforms for long periods after the death of a ruler.
The commoners of Chan Chan lived outside of the compounds, and were probably forbidden to enter them, right of way being a prerogative of the nobility and their retainers. Most of the artisans, fishermen, farmers and laborers at Chan Chan resided in what archaeologists have dubbed "intermediate architecture"- structures smaller than monumental compounds, but generally more complex than simple huts. This intermediate architecture housed the estimated 12,000 artisans working at Chan Chan.
The total population of the city may well have been as large as 50,000 or more, although strong seasonal fluctuation is suspected.
Judging by the city's tax records, the colonial looters must have found formidable quantities of precious metal in Chan Chan. Although large scale production of ceramics, textiles and woodworking as well as maize-beer preparation are all in evidence, the Chimu appear to have concentrated their craft production around metallurgy (Figure 5.3). In this respect the conquest by the Inca (around 1470 AD) may well have broken the backbone of the Chimu economy. The Inca forcibly transferred to their capital in Cusco the highly skilled metalworkers of Chan Chan. Colonial chroniclers report the legend of Tacaynamo, also called Chimu Capac, the mythical founder of Chan Chan "who came from across the sea, to rule the land". These same chroniclers reported that the Chimu conquered the Lambayeque region, where the Sicán culture flourished, sometime around 1200 AD. Evidence of large-scale mining and smelting has recently been found in the Lambayeque region at the site of Batán Grande.
We went around with Raul our tour guide and he showed us the different areas and explained about the grounds. It was very unique and interesting to visit so we enjoyed the tour. It was only 6 soles to get a pass which got you into Chan Chan plus 3 other sites, one being a museum and 2 other temples. We were going to visit some other sites the next day as it was getting to late to do anything else. We headed home and chilled out before going to Chill out and having a veggie burger and chips. It was massive and so delicious :) We were throughly impressed with it..I am all over the food out here, its cheap and so delicious so I am mega happy. Its brilliant after 5 months in Australia and NZ :)