Tuesday, August 31, 2010

07 August: Lima

Woke up quite early this morning (6am) but dozed till half past seven when The Ageing Aunt & I got up, showered and went thru for breakfast.

Unfortunately reception is not very helpful because they hardly seem to understand any English but, we chatted to a French family (who had just finished another Intrepid tour) and a Dutch couple and got some tips for our free day in Lima.

Step one was to take a wander around near the hotel and change some USD into Nuevo Sol and then catch a taxi to the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia.

I feel quite safe wandering around here as there are so many other people walking too. Plus there are loads of very easy to spot and helpful security people too. The taxi's are also very easy to find and I like that you fix the price beforehand. Although we have had one or two struggles with trying to explain where we wanted to go and understanding how much it'll cost (at the moment my Spanish numbers only go up to cinco ;) ).

I was dead set on going to the Archaeological Musuem because I was so annoyed at having missed the one in Spain, but sadly the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia was quite disappointing, I thought. Just about everything was only explained in Spanish and mostly all they showed was pottery. I was hoping for a mummy or two ;)

After that we ended up buying a map of Lima. I was quite surprised to have to do that because so many other places I've traveled to seem to just have them freely available at reception. We only had a little map of Miraflores on the back of our hotel pamphlet. We thought we'd be able to walk between museums, but we ended up taking about taxi (this one over charged us, I'm sure!) to the Museo Banco Central de Reserva, which was a *free* museum in the Centro Historica de Lima which the Dutch couple had recommended to us.

I thought this one was well worth it because we even had an actual guide take us around and explain everything. I would definitely recommend this museum over the other one, if you find yourself with some free time in Lima! I especially liked seeing the ancient singing pottery they made actually working! Although I still clearly need to do some more online research into this whole "pre-inca" thing ... Seems like Peru was quite the melting pot of cultures.

When we'd finished our tour, we took a stroll to the nearby Plaza Mayor and generally wandered around looking for a spot for lunch. We found a McDonalds to try. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I tend to eat at least one McDonalds meal in each foreign country I visit because they always have such different menu items and I knew this would be my only day for it! I had the Pollo Gourmet Burger. Not bad, but I'll stick with the Cajun Chicken Deluxe from home instead, thanks.

After a little more wandering around, we caught a taxi back to our hotel and The Ageing Aunt climbed into bed to catch up on her sleep while I took a stroll down Ave Larco to see the South Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life :) Had a wander around Larco Mar (like a mall / plaza thing perched over-looking the sea) and watched paragliders in the air and loved hearing the ocean waves ... I certainly miss some things by living in Joburg!



And then it was back to the hotel after a quick browse around a little deli-supermarket - for some reason I love going to see what weird and wonderful things the day-to-day grocery shops stock in other countries. There are no odd flavours of Fanta for me to try tho, sadly (another travel-quirk of mine ... I can't explain this one either tho! Haha).

We had our tour joining meeting this afternoon too. It's a much smaller group than I've traveled with before, there'll only be a total of 8 of us, and that's including our tour-leader (2 of the group have yet to arrive tho).

The 6 of us all went to a local restaurant for dinner called El Parquetito and got our first taste of Pisco Sour, a very popular cocktail made with the local Pisco alcohol. Actually it was a whole evening of trying new things. I had Loin of Alpaca cooked in Pisco with mashed sweet potato (while in Peru you'll be told they have anything up to 4000 varieties of potato, I checked online and WikiAnswers says it's actually more like 184). It was delish! I also tried another non-alcoholic local drink called Chicha Morada ("made with Midnight Corn" - inside joke, sorry), which reminded me a lot of Gluhwein, it was quite cinnamon-y, but cold.

After dinner we took a bit of a wander around Parque Central Kennedy which was bustling with people and children and stalls all night. We noticed a very fancy old-style car outside the Inglesia Matriz Virgen Milagrosa (Catholic church) and realised there was a wedding going on inside so we (along with quite a few other passers by) popped in for a quick look. Voyeuristic, I guess?

And then we went to another spot for a drink. We all tried a Machu Picchu Cocktail (also made with Pisco but with 3 colour layers), which was quite potent!

After that we headed home, I was quite tired. Seems I wasn't as successful as I thought at breaking in my new hiking boots tho, because my ankles are now killing me after the day's walking around :(

3 comments:

po said...

Wow! I have always dreamed of going to Peru, am planning a trip now actually. I look forward to reading your updates very much!

Would you mind if I emailed you with some specific questions, if I have any? I will read all your updates first, you will probably cover them.

phillygirl said...

You can absolutely mail me any questions you have and I'll try my best to answer them :) gladtobeagirl [at] gmail.com :)

Angel said...

Oh its so interesting!!! I am dying to go to Peru!!

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