Yesterday, I explored some of the museums and ruins north of Chiclayo, in the Lambayeque area. This afternoon, I headed east, to the ruins of Sipán themselves — the site where the enormous treasure of El Señor de Sipán was uncovered. Long and much-delayed combi ride there and back — and the ruined pyramids are about as ruined and as unimpressive as their counterparts, that I saw yesterday at Túcume — but the tomb itself is a sight worth seeing, and the little museum next to the ruins is interesting as well.
After finishing up at the Brüning Museum, Kate and I continued on to the ruins of Túcume, which are also close to Chiclayo, about ½ an hour further up the road from Lambayeque (as the combi goes). Interesting Moche ruins, although they really are the most ruined ruins I've seen so far in Peru: they're supposed to be pyramids, but really, they just look like big mounds of dirt. Anyway, it's a nice walk to them, from the town of Túcume; and the scenery from the lookout is very pleasant there.
Along with my friend Kate, I caught a combi from Chiclayo to the nearby town of Lambayeque today, and had a look inside the famous Brüning museum. Named after the turn-of-the-20th-century photographer and artefacts collector, Hans Heinrich Brüning (who lived in the area for many years), the museum is filled with beautiful relics from the Pre-Inca civilisations that dwelt in the Chiclayo area — many of which are pure gold — as well as photos from the area 100 years ago. Nice place to look around, and not overly touristed either.
After we finished our guided tour of the Tiwanaku ruins this afternoon, our guide told us that there was one more little section left for us to see, if we wanted to have a look at it. But we had to hurry, because it was 4:30pm, and all the ruins closed at 5pm. So Chris and myself (Pascale elected instead to sit and smoke) went to check them out. However, even at 4:40pm, we were too late — already shut. Closing earlier than advertised is a popular pastime, here in Bolivia.
For a nice, relaxed day of Sunday ruins, today Chris, Pascale and myself went and visited the ruins of Tiwanaku, which are just an hour's bus ride out of La Paz. Tiwanaku is the home of the Tiwanaku culture, an ancient people that built themselves an empire upon the altiplano of Bolivia, long before Inca times, and that were most likely the ancestors of many modern-day Aymara-speaking Bolivians.
We did a good thorough hike of Isla Del Sol this morning, from south to north, and we saw the ancient ruins and rock carvings at the northern end of the island. It started out being just myself, Chris, Pascale, and Tony; but we ended up being joined by Ralph, two Kiwis, and two Americans along the way.
Took about two hours to ride the long but pleasant ferry from Copacabana to Isla Del Sol ("Island of the Sun") this afternoon. Once we reached the island, we were given a guided tour — after, of course, repeatedly insisting "no queremos un guia" (lit: "we don't want a guide") — of the nearby southern ruins. Nothing spectacular, but a nice, relaxed introduction to the island.