Trujillo: Just a Bus-Ride Away

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Before my wonderful family came to visit me here in Peru–which I’ll get to in just the blog-version of a quick minute–Ivo and I took a road trip to Trujillo. This city is about an eight hour bus drive from Lima. Normally, and I think understandably,  the thought of spending that long on a bus would fill me with dread: nothing like hurtling down the road in a two-foot-wide space on a non-air conditioned metal box with no access to food, water, or entertainment and never knowing when or where you’ll accidentally touch a pre-chewed hunk of gum that has been smashed up under a seat or window sill.

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However, as the news of the century: Buses in Peru are AMAZING. Better than any other bus anywhere, better than airplanes, better than most cars. The seats are ingenious, folding up in front and down in back to create the illusion of being in an enormous living-room recliner. We were served two meals, and movies played on the mounted television throughout. Though I can’t say much for the bus line’s taste in cinema, the service made the trip surprisingly painless.

When we arrived in Trujillo, sans hotel reservation, Ivo asked the taxi driver to recommend a place; the best for us, he said, from location to quality, was Hotel Libertador de Trujillo.

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The Libertador, located smack in the city center to the point it was literally facing the dramatic centerpiece sculpture of the square, has been standing in the same spot since 1943.

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It was apparently built as Trujillo started to grow; in essence, it was meant to fulfill the need for a classy, comfy hotel where visiting officials and dignitaries could stay.

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Being a dignified visitor myself, I have to say, I felt very at home. The hotel was beautiful and very well maintained, but set inside a seemingly small, mostly simple structure. The staff, as in most places in Peru and especially the nicer ones, was exceedingly patient, well trained, and polite.

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I neglected to take a photo of our own room, but you can get the idea below. Mostly, take a second to appreciate that enormous fantastic monstrosity of a bed, which takes up about 80% of the floor space; it was gorgeous to fall into that every night after our long, dusty days exploring abandoned temples. I would also like to note that the bathroom had a fantastic wooden lattice window, which (with extreme discretion, of course, due to its height and design) let you listen to the sound of the square as you showered. Unfortunately, no photo for that, as any search involving the words “shower window” led to results that would probably require my credit card and birth date (get some help, Google).

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Trujillo itself, and especially the city center, was splashed with color. Specifically, the same three colors that can be seen in any of the quintessential Spanish squares I’ve seen thus far in Peru: a brilliant, cheerful bright blue, several earthy tones of red, and a striking sandy yellow.

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The city and its surrounding areas are considered a rich cultural center, where music, art, and writing have developed in intimate connection with the land and country for well over 1,000 years, from the ancient natives to the colonizing Spanish to the Peruvians who remain here today.

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One of the feature buildings in the main square is the yellow cathedral, which has been marrying and burying Trujillo’s citizens for over 350 years (built 1647 to 1666). Even though the weather was the typical Peruvian light grey, the architecture was still an impressive sight.

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During one of our evenings in Trujillo, we were able to spend some time on one of its beaches, compliments of our most recent tour. Our timing, as evidenced by Ivo’s postcard pictures, was perfect.

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Some perhaps 2,000 years later, the people here still love being out on the water. Now, though, while the traditional tortora-reed boats are still available, the main attraction is surfing.

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