First impressions from Cajamarca

It’s been already two weeks since I arrived to my final destination – Cajamarca. At the beginning of August, I said goodbye to the marvelous views of Cordillera Blanca and left Huaraz. I spent a weekend in Lima, at a friend’s place, picked up my stuff and took a bus to the north. When I arrived, the school still had a week of holiday left, leaving me just enough time to wander around the city and get adjusted to the place I am going to live in for the next months.

Cajamarca, the capital of the province known under the same name, lies in the northern part of the Andes, relatively close to the Ecuadorian border. In the middle of the  valley at the height of 2700m, surrounded by the mountains from all sides, it is often called ‘the Cuzco of the North’. The large part of the architecture dates back to the colonial times. The main churches – San Francisco, Belén and the cathedral – were constructed in the 17th and 18th centrury, and some of the houses atill remember the first spanish families that settled in the city.

Apart from the architecture the city in known for the… cheese production! The national joke says that in Cajamarca ‘pollo es de queso‘ – meaning: the chicken, most popular dish in Perú, is out of cheese. Those who know my passion for cheese can imagine how happy I am 🙂

The heart of the city is Plaza de Armas. This green square serves as a place to sit and chat, area to rest for the families, working place for the shoe-cleaners and a central meeting point on the Friday night. Although the center and the market area are always crowded and traffic gets heavy in the afternoon, Cajamarca still makes an impression of a quiet provincial city. The life goes on with its own slow pace..

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