Lima Plaza de Armas.
It was apparent as I came into Lima early morning, that Lima was a huge city. There are over 10 million people living here and my destination after getting off my comfortable night bus ride from Trujillo was the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco. Like Medellin and Cali, Lima has exclusive bus lanes that shoot down the middle of the freeway. After I got on for my ride to Barranco, I saw that both sides of the freeway resembled a parking lot and the articulated bus I was on was standing room only all the way to my stop in Barranco.
I quickly found where I was planning to stay which was a bed and breakfast, but after ringing the doorbell several times, I realized that the owners must be on their own B & B adventure. I then decided to head up to the neighboring neighborhood called Miraflores where I would be meeting up with the Crooked Trails tour group on the 12th.
At the El Patio Hostel I asked if I could get a discount over the 125 COP rate, but no luck so I ended up staying at a very good hostel called Laughing Dog Hostel for just 30 COP per night in a 4 person dorm which included a Daysayuno Americano----coffee, juice or fruit, toast, jam and butter, egg-fried or scrambled and coffee or tea. It overlooked Parque Kennedy with its hoards of cats and had a great room where I watched CNNI with rarely anyone else in the room.
After those long bus rides, I enjoyed relaxing and just walking about the Miraflores area where I spotted the paragliding area along the ocean cliffs. I definitely wanted to do that, but when I first checked the winds were too light.
On the 10th I met up with Gary and Heidi Holliday, my friends from Loreto, MX who also live in Austin, TX, who had joined me on this Peruvian adventure. We headed downtown for lunch at the Carona Bar and Restaurant near the Plaza de Armas where they say that all of the Peruvian Presidents have dined since it opened in 1905.
After lunch we headed up to the Monasterio de San Francisco where we saw a picture of the last supper Peruvian stylle with cuy-guinnea pig--served on the dining room table along with some Quechea looking people around the edges of the painting. We then descended to the catacombs where the cleaned up remains were carefully sorted out. They no longer allow pictures here so these are my pictures from 2005.
At the El Patio Hostal, we met with our Crooked Trails tour guide, Alexis Bonoff, Steven Smith--living in Peru, but from the Bay area, Malu Alverez--from New York City, Gary and Heidi and me. Alexis gave us an overview of our upcoming travels to Cusco, Choquequirao, and Chinchero.
On our last day in Lima all but Steven took a walking tour around Miraflores with our first stop at Huaca Pucllana Inca ruins that date back to 400AD. There were four civilizations that were discovered including some Wari civilization mummies.
Following that we continued on to Huaca Huallamarca which was a pyramid that dated somewhere between 200-500AD.
We then walked through a huge olive orchard park on our way to the Lima Country Club.
No trip to Peru would be complete without having the national drink, Pisco Sour--- combination of lime juice, pisco---distilled grape juice, egg whites, sugar, and angostura bitters. We decided to do it up big by going to the Lima Country Club wood lined bar like out of the roaring '20s complete with that era music and uniformed waiters. So much fun we had two Pisco Sours.
After that most of us were up for doing paragliding off the cliffs of Miraflores near the Parque del Amor. Once we arrived and stoked for doing this adventure, we were disappointed because the winds had died down. Only those under 120 lbs were still able to take these rides. All of these rides that cost 240 soles included a video of the trip using the gopro camera that features your fear and excitement of the trip.
After a bit of relaxing back at the hotel, we headed to the nearby restaurant row for a delicious dinner along with a liter stein of local beer.
On the morning of our flight, Alexis called me around 4:30 to say that Star Peru had changed my departure time to 8 am with the rest of our group at 8:30 am. When I got to the airport and standing in line, Star Peru asked for solos so I raised my hand and was quickly whisked through the airport security to the 6:50 am plane and I was the last passenger to board.