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Trip Report Round the World Part 2 - Lima, Peru

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This is the second installment of our round the world trip. The first installment is in the Europe forum. We decided not to do Machu Picchu on this trip because we didn’t want to complicate this trip any more (I had a fear of having bad weather in Cusco and missing our flight from Lima and messing up the whole rest of our itinerary) and we also didn’t want to increase the amount we were spending, as this was just a part of a 7.5 week trip. We live in South Florida and Lima is an easy, direct flight for us. We will go back and explore more of Peru another time! We really enjoyed our stay in Lima. We found plenty to do in 5 days there – I think perhaps people give Lima short shrift, and simply use it as a jumping off point to other places in Peru, which is a shame!

June 28

After a comfortable business class flight from Paris on Air France, we arrived in Lima. We had reservations at the Hotel Antigua Miraflores and since we were staying 5 nights, we had a complimentary pickup at the airport. The driver, Rafael was waiting for us and we had an uneventful drive to the hotel. We enjoyed chatting with Rafael on the way – he is a very nice guy. We checked in and had a room in a newer wing of the hotel. It was very new – you could still smell the newness of the carpet. It was a large room with a large bathroom and very comfortable. We just got settled and went to sleep.

June 29

We woke up the next morning and had breakfast at the hotel, which was included in the room rate. There were several choices – eggs, tamales, maybe oatmeal? It was a nice breakfast. We decided to explore the city center on this day and Rafael was outside the hotel and took us to the San Francisco church. As we were driving, he told us it was the festival of Saints Peter and Paul. We did the guided tour of San Francisco, which was excellent. We had a very knowledgeable guide. We found this every place we went in Lima – any site that provided a guided tour invariably had a guide who was knowledgeable and friendly. They have a room with some impressive paintings by a student of Reubens. We enjoyed the catacombs here. We did wonder what possessed someone to arrange the bones by type. Gee, look at all these skeletons – I know, let’s put all the skulls in one place, all the femurs here… When we finished the tour, there was a service taking place in the church. We went back to the Plaza de Armas, where we found a big parade taking place – bands, drums, dancers in bright costumes. The plaza was filled with families and people enjoying the festivities. Our next stop was the Cathedral of Lima. Again, they had a church service taking place, with many bishops taking part. We heard some very beautiful music here – DH got some of it on his video camera, and I want to find out what it is and get a copy. The Cathedral was packed and we walked around the back and to the side - many people were standing and walking around in the back – we weren’t conspicuous!

We then went to the Iglesia San Pedro which was also very beautiful and had a service taking place.

It was nearly noon so we walked to the Government Palace to see the changing of the guard. At the end of the ceremony, they played the theme to “Rocky!” We headed to a restaurant recommended by Rafael – Bar Cordano. We shared a curry chicken with French fries and fried yucca and Coke Zero. It was tasty and we were glad we decided to share because it was a huge portion!

After lunch we went to the Santo Domingo Priory. We again had an excellent guided tour. We saw the tomb of St. Martin de Porres – we found his story to be particularly interesting, and the tomb of Santa Rosa de Lima, which we had to go down a very narrow, low, but pretty short staircase to see. We also got to climb the tower, which gave excellent views of downtown Lima. It made me a little nervous climbing the wooden spiral staircases that were attached to the walls – hopefully well attached! The arcades around the courtyards had lots of pretty hand-painted tiles.

We were getting a little tired of being on our feet by this point – probably around 4:00 or so – so we got a taxi back to our hotel. We did walk up the road to the Vivanda supermarket after we returned. We were expecting a little dingy place, but this was a really nice supermarket! It was comparable to Fresh Market here in the U.S. We weren’t terribly hungry (it was a big lunch we had!) so we just had club sandwiches at the hotel restaurant for dinner.

June 30

We had prearranged this day to go to Pachacamac with Renato of Taxi Lima Peru. He picked us up, right on time at 10 am. We drove to Pachacamac and hired a guide, Sandra, who rode with us in the car and told us all about the ruins. We got out at several places to explore a little more, including climbing up the temple of the sun, from where we got a great view over the ruins and down to the ocean with the islands. She told us an interesting legend of how the rocks came to be there. She also took us through the museum, pointing out and telling more about the highlights. We stayed to look around the museum a little more after Sandra left us, then we headed back to Lima. We very much enjoyed visiting with Renato on our drive and I would highly recommend his services. In setting up our excursion, he called me to clarify everything – very organized! Renato dropped us off at La Rosa Nautica, where we thought we’d eat lunch. Well, let’s just have a Pisco Sour at the bar. DH was excited to do this, as many years ago, he had been in Lima on business and his business contact in Lima had brought him here and he had his first pisco sour at this bar. He said it was just as he remembered. We looked at the menu and they have many pisco drinks. We got Lima Sours. They were excellent. We were sitting by the windows and enjoying the crashing waves, views of the cliffs and the parasailers sailing along the cliffs. Soon, we are saying, gee these are strong drinks and very, very good! We finished the first ones and ordered two more. We finished those off and headed up the stairs to go up the cliff, when we realized we were starving! We also realized at this point that we forgot to eat lunch! We went to Mango’s at the Larcomar mall and DH had a steak sandwich and I had a pork sandwich. We ate on the patio overlooking the ocean. Back to the hotel. I lay on the bed and realized that I was becoming hungover at 8 pm! Ugh! We somehow got to watching some movie about some group of people on a boat that get stranded and begin one by one to be eaten by a giant crocodile. We went to sleep before it ended.

July 1

After breakfast at the hotel, we took a taxi to the Pedro de Osma museum in Barranco. It is in a beautiful home that was built in 1906, with stained glass windows and high ceilings. We had a guided tour here and we were the only ones, so it was a private tour! We very much enjoyed the artwork and religious items on display, the architecture of the home, as well as the silver museum. We walked up the street and found the Museo de Electricidad, which is free, and was actually a fun little museum – they had some old TVs, VCRs and jukeboxes. They had a contraption that showed how much electricity certain appliances used – you push a button next to a picture of an appliance and a certain number of lightbulbs lighted up to show how much that appliance used. The stove/oven made all the light bulbs light up! We then took a ride on the old streetcar that goes a few blocks down and then a few blocks back up. We were the only riders.

We took a peek in the La Santisima Cruz church on the Parque Municipal, then ate lunch at Rustica, which Renato had recommended to us the day before. We had the buffet and tried lots of different Peruvian dishes. I particularly enjoyed a soup that was kind of like a tomato bisque with chunks of butternut squash in it. After lunch we went to the Puente de los Suspiros and down Bajada los Banos to the ocean. We sat by the ocean for a little bit, then walked back up to the Parque Municipal. We found a Starbucks there and did a little e-mail checking, etc. We took a taxi back to our hotel. We went to Vivanda and picked up some sandwiches and chips and other odds and ends for supper, as we were still kind of full from lunch. We found another terrible movie on tv – Return to the Blue Lagoon. We still laugh about how terrible that movie was!

July 2

Breakfast at our hotel again, then we walked up to Huaca Pucllana. Our guide took our group around the pyramid, up to the top. We took a look in the little museum there as well. Very interesting. It is amazing how big it is, right in the middle of a neighborhood. We went to the 4D Gelateria after our tour and had ham & cheese sandwiches and ice cream. DH had coconut and I had cherimoya. Yum! We then walked to the Native Market and enjoyed looking through it. We saw a small painted bowl and got that – it’s a shallow bowl with green, brown and black designs, including a llama. We walked on to Park Kennedy, where we loved watching all of the cats! I am a cat lover and took lots of photos of the cats. DH took a lot of video too. We now wonder why! But they were so cute! We walked down to the cliffs, where we found the point from where the parasailers were taking off and landing. I briefly thought about a ride, but decided against it. We walked through the Parque de l’Amor and down to the ocean by the stairs. There was very large surf today and it had been sunny, but had turned suddenly cloudy. There were big brown jellyfish on the rocks. Oh, look, we said, there is La Rosa Nautica. Maybe we’ll have some more Lima Sours! We did have the Lima Sours – I had a small version (and only one this time), but DH had a big one! We did order food this time – we had an appetizer platter with parmesan scallops, mussels, fried octopus and shrimp with ocopa sauce. All was very good. We had thought about going over to the restaurant, but were just happily ensconced in the bar, at our same seats by the windows. The staff at the bar were so friendly and nice. DH asked the bartender about how to make the Lima Sours and he said they were made with lime infused pisco. We have some brewing at the moment – hope it turns out well because those were some good drinks!

Just had some snacks in the hotel for dinner.

July 3

This was our last day in Lima. We had breakfast at the hotel, then checked out and stored our bags for the day, as our flight didn’t leave until midnight or so. Rafael was outside and took us to the Larco Museum. When we went to buy tickets (in the gift shop), they said they didn’t take credit cards – huh? What if someone buys a large ticket item in the gift shop? That really confused us, but off we headed to find an ATM. It was about 6 or 7 blocks before we found it, at a gas station. We passed by a KFC and decided to just grab a quick lunch there. We just each wanted one piece of chicken and a drink and some fries, but all they had on the menu was big meal deals. We were trying hard to convey this information, when a very nice guy behind us stepped up and spoke for us. I really, really must learn Spanish. I have the time now to learn it and will order Rosetta Stone now! We then walked back to the Larco Museum, with our cash for tickets. When I say that the museum has lots of pottery, gold ornaments – earrings, necklaces, crowns – and textiles, that might not sound intriguing. But it was absolutely fascinating! We spent hours in this museum. The pottery was some of the most interesting, beautiful pottery I have ever seen. They also have, in a separate museum, some erotic pottery! They also have their “warehouse” of pottery, more of what is in the museum, just rows and rows of it on shelves! It was quite astounding.

We got a taxi back to our hotel and waited in the lobby for Rafael to come at 8 pm to take us back to the airport. We ate at the business class lounge at the airport and waited for our flight. We had a flight to Atlanta, then to Hong Kong via Seoul. So, if you want to read about the continuation of our trip, head over to the Asia forum!

We really enjoyed Lima and found very interesting things to do. The people were so nice and friendly. I definitely want to go back to Peru and see Macchu Picchu, of course, and the Amazon region.