After a visit to the museum in Leymebamba we drove up to Calla Calla pass and spent a foggy, quiet night tucked away near the road. The museum in Leymebamba is well worth a visit, it displays mummies and other items from the tombs (that had not been raided yet) of Chachapoyas.
The fog on the pass lifted in the morning and after a nice morning walk up the hill and a beautiful sunrise we headed down the other side. West, toward the Peruvian coast.
Several hours of white knuckle driving brought us from the pass at 3600 m down to hot La Balsa at 800 m, the river valley is lush with mango trees and palms. We bought some fruit and then wound our way back up to Celendin, on to Cajamarca and finally to the Pacific Ocean.
The coast is barren and windy, with big rolling sand dunes and the occasional desolate town. The windblown garbage and thousands of poultry farms from the San Fernando company dominate the scene. No wonder they seem to live on “arroz con pollo” in these countries.
They produced 45 million fryers a week in 2013, and probably more now.
We stopped in Huanchacho – north of Trujillo – , camped in the garden of a little hotel and decided to explore the town with the bicycles. There is one of the oldest churches of Peru, we drank our first “pisco sour”, watched the sun set over the ocean and the fishermen working on their nets. The reed boats are not in much use anymore, they don’t last long and there are just a few left in the harbor. The bars along the surf beach are populated with beach bums of every kind, the surfing is good they say, and living is cheap.We moved on. Wanted to drive up to the Cordillera Blanca, where there are snow-capped high mountains (Huascarán, 6,768 m , 22,205 ft), blue lakes, steep, verdant green valleys with forgotten towns and – you guessed it: More ruins.
We never found out what this celebration was all about: