Trujillo was stuck in my brain because of Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel characters, with the familiar theme of ‘cerranos’ and ‘costenos’ at times slipping in this city on the northern Peruvian coast. I want to say one of the guys in the City and the dogs is from Trujillo, but I could be totally wrong. In any case, this was one of the few city names that I had known prior to the trip and a stop seemed like a must.
Trujillo stands out in the — at that point a very familiar — ‘colonial crowd’ for its bright colors cheering up the old walls, together with artfully wrought iron, and for being located at the heart of the region that was blossoming in pre-Inca times. Of the latter fact we are still reminded by the ruins of once great cities that displayed high levels of progress combined with mind-boggling levels of superstition (I’ll get back to that in the next post about the archaeological sites we visited). We, of course, visited the ruins and extended the trip to a nearby coastal town, but first we walked and walked and walked around the old heart of Trujillo, enjoying its reminders of how important it was through large chunks of history. There are the long Moorish balconies, the rounded entryways, the large windows guarded by proud lions, the gates, the squares, the towers, the churches (Wikipedia says 10 are within city walls — it certainly seemed like many). Peruvian independence was coined here for a time, Catholic church fought and won the battle for the rest of the hearts, all over the truly fascinating remains of Mochica and Chimu civilizations (two of very many that roamed the territories of South America but were overpowered in our collective memory by the successive Inca empire).
We were charmed. Admittedly, not enough to pass the opportunity to stay at the actual beach, so we only spent a night or two here (in our gigantic room we scored on our fourth attempt of a check-in the night we arrived). There is a reason why so many of those places are bind under the umbrella ‘colonial’, and we just lacked the enthusiasm at this point. Beach time, on the other hand, was long overdue! However, as far as colonial cities go, Trujillo is a pretty gem not to be missed.