Wednesday, September 01, 2010

08 August: Lima to Pisco

Tried the Coca tea this morning, as usual I'm not a fan of tea and this isn't too different. But, apparently it has all sorts of fabulous "properties" (They really plug the Coca stuff here as being good for the altitude, not that that's a problem for us yet here at sea level :P), so I figured it was worth a try :)

We took a wander around Lima with the group this morning and met our 2 other tour-mates too. Our group has people ranging in age from 23 to 62 consisting of an American couple, The Ageing Aunt & I, our Peruvian tour-leader and 3 Aussies (1 guy, @UselessRob, & 2 girls all traveling individually).

> Follow @UselessRob on Twitter:

We started at Plaza San Martin and walked up to Plaza Mayor (the opposite walk to what The Ageing Aunt & I had done yesterday) but this time we got some explanation of what all the buildings surrounding the squares were.

The architecture in this area of Lima is really quite amazing. Such ornate building decorations & more colourful than you would believe! Plus they also seem to have those old-style enclosed wooden balconies that really reminded me of Zanzibar! View of the Government Palace and Plaza Mayor below.

We popped into the Cathedral of Lima and saw people giving confession! There was even a queue. I dunno why but, I was really keen to get a photo (Oh the fascination I feel at the whole concept of religious confession and that people actually do this!) but, I felt guilty (it being a private thing and their prerogative and all). The joke was that I could've taken a photo anyway and then just joined the end of the queue myself to ask for forgiveness - haha!

Then we went to the Convento de San Francisco. We didn't really go into this church but, instead took a tour into the Catacombs. It was really quite a cool tour, aside from the actual bones in the Catacombs which had all been removed for research and then replaced. They were all in piles in the different areas, sometimes making pattern from the variety of bones (which I thought was just plain strange honestly). The absolute best part of the tour for me was the library with masses of *ancient* books!! Just being in the room felt powerful. Sadly we couldn't take any photos at all :( :(

After that we went back to Plaza Mayor and watched a bit of the changing of the guard outside the Government Palace. There was a band playing and the guards put on quite a choreographed show! Can't quite believe they apparently go thru all this effort every day. And sadly you can't really see it all that well because it is all behind the palace gates and there is quite a bit of security ensuring you can't get anywhere near them.

Then it was time for lunch. We went to a restaurant called Tanta that is apparently owned by quite a famous Peruvian Chef. I tried another Peruvian speciality called Lomo Saltado (none of the ones I saw on the trip looked anything like that Wikipedia photo!!), which in simple terms is beef, tomato and onion stir-fry with chips and rice ... the chips are usually in the stir-fry with the rice on the side. I think the official Peruvian dish may just simply be rice with chips because just about every meal came with both and our Peruvian tour-leader was quite upset if a meal included one but not the other. Me, I'll stick with the choice of one or the other like we get back home, thanks. The amount of rice that got served but left un-eaten over the trip was huge! I don't even eat rice with my Thai or Indian curries, that's how little I like the stuff - haha. Anyway, the Lomo Saltado was quite tasty.

After lunch we caught a public bus to Pisco (the place, not the alcohol ... this time). It took about 4hrs and we eventually arrived at our hotel at 7pm. We're spending the night at Posada Hispana Hotel.

The drive to Pisco was uneventful, but I was quite surprised by the scenery. Mostly desert, quite like Namibia. And all these box-shaped houses covering sand dunes, top to bottom in some areas! Also reminded me of parts of Egypt, actually.

We had dinner at our hotel tonight - apparently there isn't much to see in Pisco since the 2007 earthquake it hasn't quite recovered yet. I will say from the little we saw driving thru the dark that it does look quite run-down.

Dinner was a "personal" (the size) pizza with ham, pineapple & *peach* (their version of a hawaiian). Was quite nice actually. And, of course, a Pisco Sour. We also had plenty of laughs at the menu: "chicken with smashed cookies" and "fish in orange sauce and honey-bees" were my favourites!

And now to bed, we've got an early morning tomorrow!


AngelConradie said...

That menu sounds fascinating! Did you get to taste any of the other stuff at all!?

phillygirl said...

It wasn't that fascinating, the "chicken with smashed cookies" was just crumbed chicken breast and the "fish in orange sauce and honey-bees" meant honey, not honey-bees (a mistake we saw often). I think it was more amusing English translation than fascinating menu ;)

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