by Jim and Melanie
It was morning of 16 Oct 2018. We started our journey to Peru the day before and arrived in Lima just before midnight. Our hosts met and delivered us to our hotel. This morning we enjoyed breakfast at our hotel and walked a few blocks for a view of the Pacific Ocean. This was certainly not ‘darkest Peru’. Lima is a large city of 12 million in the metro area.
We walked along the elevated path to another good observation point. To our surprise, we met Paddington Bear. This was a sign our trip was going to be full of wonder and surprises.
Upon our return from the ocean views and Paddington, we gathered with the other travelers in our group. There were 14 from around the U.S. The company, Overseas Adventure Travel, organized the tour and keeps groups to 16 or fewer. We met our tour leader Walter and introduced ourselves to each other. Soon we were on our way for a walking tour of the Miraflores District of Lima. The district is a cultural and artistic center with many cafes, shops, and art galleries. We stopped for lunch.
Walking in the city can be hazardous to your health. Pedestrians do not automatically have the right of way. Walter emphasized the importance of getting eye contact with a driver for permission to cross their path. Then, acknowledge them with a thank you. Traffic was busy with lots of small cars and some buses. Honking was common is areas where it was not banned.
After lunch we walked several blocks to Parque Kennedy. This active park is surrounded by eateries, shopping, and entertainment. Some of the buildings are very attractive. It is a nice place to rest. There are many resident cats in the park.
Walter told us we had the rest of the afternoon free with dinner on our own. We checked a map for our location and that of the hotel. Melanie was interested in visiting a textile museum before returning to our hotel. Walter gave us some directions and we were off. She tells more about that experience in another post. It wasn’t as simple as we thought.
Colonial Lima Tour
After breakfast at our hotel the next morning, we boarded our bus to go to the old historic heart of Lima, founded in 1535 by the conquistadors. This link gives a map. First stop was at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History. Our local guide Yvonne led us through the collections of ceramics, gold and silver items, textiles and paintings from the cultures of Chavin, Mochica, Chimu, Tiahuanaco, Pucara, Paracas, Nazca, and Inca.
Back on the bus we headed to our next destination. Traffic came to a standstill for several minutes. Surrounding a plaza ahead was a large group of protesters. They represented worker unions. They cleared the plaza and headed for another location. We got to our next stop and exited the bus. Soon we encountered many police armed and shielded for possible trouble. As far as we know, nothing bad happened, but they were ready.
We reached our destination of San Francisco Basilica and Convent. The yellow walls of the church and convent were quite striking. This World Heritage site was blessed in 1673 and completed in 1674. The structures have suffered damage from earthquakes and have been rebuilt. Below the buildings are catacombs for an estimated 25,000 people.
Lunch was to be on our own. Walter wondered if we would like to join him in Chinatown at a Chifa restaurant. We all agreed. Chifa is based on Chinese Cantonese elements fused with traditional Peruvian ingredients and traditions. It is quite popular and very tasty.
Walter often suggested learning adventures for us. After lunch it was time to return to our hotel. We could take taxis, walk a long way, or ride the metro train. We chose the train, which stopped a few blocks away. The C train was the one we needed to board. Some A trains stopped. Then along came a C train. The cars were all very full. Another A and C. Still too full. Next C was to be ours. We squeezed all 15 of us into the car with standing room only. It was a crush. We held on tight as the car swerved on the tracks. More people wanted to board at stops. Some wanted off. It was certainly a learning adventure. As you can see by Melanie’s face in the righthand photo, it wasn’t always comfortable.
With great relief and laughter, we reached our exit stop a few blocks from our hotel. We were glad to have some free time before gathering for our welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Next morning we went to the airport for our flight to Cuzco in the heart of Peru.
Thanks for going along with this quick trip through our first two days in Peru! Here are links to the rest of our posts on Peru:
Peru | Lima | First Impressions
Peru | Textiles and Ceramics
Peru | Arts & Crafts
Peru | Pisac & Ollantaytambo
Peru | Machu Picchu
Peru | Tipon and Sacsayhuaman
Peru | Beer Bar – Oxen – Blessings
Peru | Hillside Homes | Traffic Woes
Peru | Everyday Life
Inca Pot | c 1500
Noon @ Ollantaytambo
Peru | Machu Picchu Plus Much More
Such an interesting post, looking forward to hearing about your adventure. Thank you
Hi Anne. It is good to hear from you. As you can probably tell, we had a fabulous time. We want to go back.
I backpacked through Peru 40 years ago – I expect much has changed! Looking forward to your future posts.
No doubt it has. That was before Shining Path and those troubles. Things are quiet now.
Glad to hear that. I was pretty oblivious to the SP, though I remember seeing graffiti and posters, and hearing talk of protests. Gringoes were left alone, thankfully.
AWESOME! The architecture is impressive! Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more of your adventure!
The architecture is very interesting. The Spanish influence in Lima is pretty normal. But, in Cuzco it is a mixture of Inca foundation stones in many places with Spanish built on top using many Inca stones. Spain came in 1532 and immediately set out to make everyone christians and take the gold and silver.
Great job with the videos!
Thanks. There will be more.
Wow amazing – I was wondering if one of you were going to post photos and stories from the trip. The videos were cool as you get more of a feel of what it is like to be there than a photo!
We have a lot of photos. Getting them sorted and deciding on an approach to our story has taken some time. Thanks for the feedback about the videos. We like to include them and keep them short. More posts are in process. 🙂
Very fine post! Looking forward to travelling along with you in future posts.