Bienvenidos a Peru
After a pretty long fly from Madrid (with a 10-hour layover in Equador), we finally arrived in Peru! As Lima is a huge and crowded city, we were not sure if the amount of Spanish we are capable of speaking would be enough to get us through the first days in South America. The city from the plane seemed grey and sad with not much green in between.
Having done some research before our journey, we found out that the best and safe place to stay is the area of Miraflores.
We took a taxi from the airport and it cost 60 soles. The route takes about 45-min, depending on the traffic. The local drivers definitely abuse their horns. Noisy streets were the biggest disadventage of the city.
Even tho we were jet-lagged and tired we decided to check out our neighbourhood straight away. First impressions were not so optimistic – grey, concrete jungle.
Miraflores is a distict in the southern part of Lima. It is well known for its food and luxurious apartments. Apparently, it is the safest area of the city, too. It is becoming more of the touristic hub of the capital. The center of it all is a park nammed after President Kennedy. The green area is full of benches, flowers and…cats. There are heaps of restaurants and caffes around. You can try some of the authentic peruvian dishes. We recommend ceviche – a raw fish marinated in lime juice. The dish is so complex and it comes with sweet poatato and corn on the side, so the acidity of the lime and hot chillies are balanced by sweet tones. You got to try the most famous local drink too – the Pisco Sour. Amazing stuff!
The district of Miraflores ends on the cliff right by the Pacific Ocean. The edge is a lovely place for a walk as it is full of green. The best known park is the “Parque de Amor” – the Park of Love. You can find there a monumental staue of a couple kissing and mosaics with love quotes. There are planty of flowers around and the views of the ocean to die for. What else would you ever need for a romantic setting? If you look closely to the south you will see the statue of Jesus de Pacifico towering above the waters of the ocean. It reminded us the famous statue of Jesus in Rio. Plenty of surfers in the water taking advantege of the long weaves. Staying at the rocky beach is not so cool due to the noise of the traffic. Huge highway is right next to it and it kills all the joy.
Lima – the Historic Center
To the historic centre of Lima we got by a public bus – metropolitano. It’s interesing as there is a special lane dedicated to public transportation, only! That means no traffic jams for public buses! You enter the bus just like the train. It’s usually crowded inside and one-way ride costs 2,5 soles. If you need to exchange some money, you can find a money-changer with ease on every corner of the street.
Lima downtown is an example of the colonial architecure. Around the main square – Plaza de Armas you can find some historic buildings: the cathedral, Palaca of the Arcibishop, Palace of the Gouvernor, which currently serves to the President of Peru. There were policemen on almost every corner. In general, you can see the high presence of the police, even with sniffing dogs just walking around. They seemed quite friendly tho, we even took a picture together. We visited a few churches in the neighbourhood but the further from the main square we walked, the less appealing the souroundings looked. We headed back down to the South of Lima.
Ruins of Huaca Pucllana
Between II and VII century in the area of today’s Peru capital, the so called “Culture of Lima” flourished. The interesting ruins remained till present times marking their chapter in the history. Today it is not only a tourist attraction, but also an important archeological site. It is worth visiting the museum. For 12 sol you will be showed around by the guide. There are two main parts of the ruins. First, you walk around the administrative part of the temple and than you can go up the pyramid that was used in sacred rituals.
The guide shared some interesting facts with us. The way of constructing was very interesting and it is known as the “Book Shelf” method. The brics are put in the way that resembles books on the shelf. As a result the construction is resistant to the earthquakes.
The people of the Lima Culture worshiped the Moon and the Sea. One of the most important sacrificial items were frogs. Due to dry climate these animals were considered a link to the humidity and water. From the top of the pyramid you can see the contrast between the architecture. A clash between ancient and modern times.