First, a long narrow gray road snaking through the mountains of northern Peru, bus packed to the brim, puke bags distributed to everyone at the beginning of our journey in Leymebamba (with most people on the bus already from Chachapoyas), views jawdropping and aweinspiring all along, the trip interrupted by a landslide that required a change of buses after a hike across the steep slope, hung with all our luggage and a queezy stomach after the curbs of the first part of the trip; followed by hours and hours more of left and right and left curbs, passing other vehicles slooowly, so closely you could feel the breath of the other driver if both windows were open; seeing down down hundreds of meters of rocks and branches to the bottom. Luckily, our puke bags remained intact but that could not be said of nearby fellow passengers.
After nine hours or so we arrived to Cajamarca, the capital of the region of the same name, and a lively cultural and commercial centre with some of the most gruesome historical tales reminding of the colonial past. For one, there are the remains of the chamber where Atahualpa was held and promised the captors gold and silver to fill up that room. Despite keeping his end of the promise, the Spanish colonialists sadistically killed the Inca leader (you will undoubtedly identify the photo depicting that below), marking one of the decisive blows in the Inca defeat.
Some sort of festival caused this to be one of the more tiring places as far as accommodation search goes, but in the end it worked out and we had a fine stay in a pretty city hugged by the mountains. One of the selling points of Cajamarca’s tourist agencies which abound around the main square and around is Cumbemayo, the ancient aqueduct surrounded by fantastic rock formations with an exciting geological past. Worth a visit, as long as you can avoid the somewhat psychotic tour guide filling time (pretty much every second of it) with second-person stories about himself and his tremendous achievements. Also, according to him, two places in the world have the perfect climate: Switzerland and Cajamarca.