Lima

We were warned not to eat or drink too much alcohol at altitude as the digestion works that much more slowly. Pisco Sour is certainly in the latter category, around 2am I woke with hangover/headache. A couple of aspirin later I went back to sleep and slept until 7.30am. Luckily, I only had the one glass of this Peruvian nectar.

Breakfast was the usual international affair, though the option of a probiotic yogurt was a nice touch. The fruit bowl had the addition of a fruit we have never seen before, beetroot looking, with seeds and to Sue’s liking but not mine.

Afterwards we headed down to the beach again and chose to walk along the path that led the opposite way to yesterdays ramble. Sue’s has a poorly foot so we stopped at every opportunity to watch the locals and see the sights. While sitting on one bench in a little park we made friends with a pug dog and its owner. The little dog was very scatter brained, but amusing. It passed a pleasant 15 minutes or so watching his antics. The path ended when a ravine with a road cut across our route, so we headed into the city and found a nice cafe. We stayed for half an hour, drinking the superb hot chocolate they have out here and people watched.

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We returned to the hotel and Sue had a short nap while I had Peruvian pie in a local shop. Later we had another short walk to stretch the legs and ended up having ice-creams before returning to catch the bus for our afternoon tour of the city. The ice cream tastes as if it is made from yogurt, very refreshing.

There was fourteen in our party that had opted for the city tour and we all met in the Foye of the hotel before boarding the bus. We first stopped very briefly at an archaeological site that was being worked on. It looked like a flat-topped pyramid from several thousands of years ago. It was originally made of adobe bricks and was being renovated using the same method. It looked quite spectacular and very special, but unfortunately we didn’t get off the bus to investigate further. Disappointing.

We moved on into the old city stopping at the central square. Here we did have a chance to wander and marvel at the stately buildings. I managed to photograph the changing of the guard in the government palace. From the square we visited a chocolate making establishment . We were treated to the usual talk on the process of growing, harvesting and making chocolate and then had the opportunity to sample the delights of the end product. The liqueurs proved to be very popular and I purchased a couple of bottles.

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Moving on we visited Lima Cathedral and its associated convent. A fascinating building especially the crypt and story of Saint Rosa, whose skull is kept there and a painting of what she looked like.

Our guide informed us that for nine months of the year Lima lives under a cloud. January, February and March are the only sunny months. I was pleased that we are not just unlucky with the murky conditions, this is the norm for the locals. It was getting dark on our return to the hotel and the traffic was bad, giving us a great opportunity to watch the citizens of Lima as the went about their business. They are very much reliant on public transport and seemed happy to stand in line waiting. I guess their reluctance to return a wave was down to the lack of sunshine!

We headed off to the park of last night for our evening meal, but chose a restaurant across the busy road from the park. A nice meal, but unfortunately the main course was preceded by two free Pisco Sours! They were a little sweeter than the previous evening and Sue enjoyed hers. Only the morning will tell if we have acclimatised. It was to bed when we returned to the hotel as it is a 2.20am wake-up for our flight to Puno tomorrow.

Lima has a population of ten million, the country itself only has 30 million, so it is a very busy city. Miraflorres is where the majority of hotels and tourists reside. This is a policy of the government. In the past and still to the present there has been a severe problem with gang culture, when quite  few locals and tourists were blown up in the very square that we visited today, it was decided to move hotels and tourists to the safer district of Miraflorres. The security in this district is very obvious. We found it similar to that of Copacabana, uniformed police on street corners, escalators, in fact everywhere. Today, on entering the chocolate outlet there was a line of riot police (with shields) who were only too pleased to be seen being photographed with some in our party in silly postures. Makes you think doesn’t it what living in the UK could be like?

 

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