Tuesday 18 August

(magnify) Santa Catalina cathedral church

A lazy start (but Rachel says I woke her up). We have an excellent breakfast, including fried egg and slices of two kinds of cheese (the second of which, as Rachel discovers, turns out actually to be butter).

We ask about launderettes at reception so that we can get some clean clothes to wear. Then we head to the plaza to book a couple of tours to keep us amused while we are here. The first is a half day tour to Cumbe Mayo, and the second another half day tour to Porcón. Both are with Perú Andes Tours, one of many operators surrounding the plaza. We also pop into the Star Peru office to confirm our flight back to Lima on Thursday. We begin to feel a little more sorted.

We spend the rest of the morning walking around tourist sites in central Cajamarca. A lady in the cathedral offers to take us up onto the roof to see the belfry, from where we have great views across the city. Communication with her is a bit tricky with my very limited Spanish but we manage.

(magnify) From the belfry
(magnify) In the cathedral

The cathedral itself has a very ornate carved stone facade, though inside the roof is a rather plain dome. There is another highly elaborate gilded altar at the far end.

Near the door to the plaza, off to one side at the bottom of a flight of steps, in an almost pitch dark crypt a, statue peers creepily, half hidden, from an alcove.

We buy tickets for the tourist circuit of the town, which includes the Inca ‘ransom chamber’ where Inca chief Atahualpa was supposedly held prisoner and drew a red line on the wall to indicate the level to which he would fill the room with treasure to secure his release.

(magnify) San Fransisco Church
Ransom chamber

We eat lunch back at the Cascanuez Café on the plaza – sandwich and delicious chocolate cake leaving us both very full for what was supposed to be a light lunch.

After a long siesta (this is more like it) we climb Santa Apolonia Hill overlooking the city. It is breezy and none to warm at the top. It seems to be a popular place for kite fliers. We wait ages for the sun to come out for photographs before deciding that it is getting too cold.

(magnify) Santa Apolonia Hill
(magnify) On the steps
(magnify) Top of the steps
(magnify) Our roof-top hotel room
(magnify) Plaza de Armas
View from the hill
Santa Apolonia Chapel

Wandering back through the artisan district we look for ideas for gifts and souvenirs.

We arrive back at the laundry a bit early to collect our washing and since it is not ready we return to the hotel. We try again at 7.40 pm but it is still not back, so we wait in the shop. The girl there seems more annoyed and impatient than we are and makes several phone calls before sitting down again with a scowl and studying her nails. The laundry finally arrives at 7.59 pm, one minute before closing time.

It is later than expected so we decide to eat dinner in the chicken grill place near our hotel. It is very busy with locals. The service is fast, and the chicken every bit as delicious as the aroma drifting past our hotel window had had us expect.