2 Days in the Capital
29.08.2013 - 31.08.2013
Sorting out the lost bag situation took a long time and I knew my hostel pick up service would've been long gone. I arrived to scores of people asking me if I needed a taxi, I had heard and seen a lot of warnings with regard to illegal taxis so decided the best options were the ones setup by the airport despite being a little bit more expensive.
The man was friendly enough, as we left the airport complex I motioned a questioning look to the security guard (as if to ask 'is this guy alright') he gave me a reassuring nod which made me relax back into my seat.
I wasn't relaxing for long however as we emerged into traffic upon traffic, there seems to be some sort of order to the madness but I certainly don't understand, at one point on the 45 minute journey I am sure 6 cars were squashed into four lanes, constant beeping and shouting followed us the whole way , at several points I even let out a short gasp at how close we got to other vehicles at a speed that was unnecessary for the situation we were in.
We made it with all limbs intact and because I only had a small bag to carry I felt a little freedom entering the hostel.
I checked in with the little Spanish that I had and found my 8 bed dorm empty. Perfect.
It took 4 hours from landing at Lima airport to get to the hostel and was now 9am. I thought I'd take the opportunity to enjoy the free breakfast of scrambled eggs, rolls and jam and an excellent selection of teas before crashing out.
The prospect of wearing the same shorts and tshirt combo did not excite me when I awoke especially since the Peruvian spring hadn't really started. I shivered on downstairs to find a friendly mix of people, hostel staff, a Swiss girl who was leaving for home and two Israeli boys who had just started their leave from the army.
They had plans to head into the city and with my schedule free I decided an exploration of the capital would be a great idea and joined them. We managed to haggle a taxi down a little on price (saving ourselves 60p) and ventured into the heart of the city. First stop the Plaza de Armas, where the Palace and the main cathedral of Lima are situated, along with some fancier looking restaurants. We were lucky to find that all four roads that surrounded the square were closed to make way for a huge parade, paying tribute to Saint Rose, who is the patroness of the Americas. Incredible to see the normally bustling roads completely empty. We also walked down the main shopping arcade of Lima, Caught a glimspe of some Peruvian boy band which had 100's of girls stampeding around the Plaza San Martin.
I managed to chat about the customs in Israel, the majority of which revolved around the obligation of every person to do their stint in the army. They were a very interesting pair with exceptionally good English but thankfully poor Spanish meaning I could feel a little proud of helping them with taxis and directions that they didn’t understand.
We managed to tick off the beautiful Church of San Francisco and the Parque de Maralla which has stretches of restored old city wall. Really nice area to walk around. It is important to note at every corner of every street you will be able to find street vendors, selling mostly food but on occasions toys/games/jewelry and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I bring this up now as outside the park gates a woman was boiling small eggs, I later found out these were quail eggs and you eat them as you would a normal boiled egg, although it’s a quarter of the size. Strange.
The guys I was with decided it would cool to cook something traditionally Israeli for dinner, I was treated to Shakshuka, which is a combination of tomatoes, onions and peppers reduced into a more saucy mixture with eggs on top, we bought some lovely bread and ate this saucy eggy concoction accompanied by Inca Kola
(I have to add my new addiction here, it is a fluorescent yellow soft drink, which has a similar taste to Irn Bru. *Fun Fact: Every country that Coca Cola is available to buy, it is the number one selling drink except for Peru, where Inca Kola is number one)
The following morning I was invited to Miraflores by the guys but with the potential arrival of my bag and my tolerance of wearing shorts and a Tshirt in cold drawing thin I declined and waited. I stayed in the hostel relaxing and catching up on sleep till 2, when finally my bag was delivered by the airline to the door, which isn't a bad service. I finally changed and wasted no time in getting to Miraflores in an attempt to find the others but more so to enjoy a wealthier suburb of Peru.
My first point of call was to be a very typical tourist and take a Red bus tour around the perimeter, It was little chilly (I hadn't learnt from my previous cold outfit). The bus, which had commentary in Spanish followed by English, took us some fantastic sites. The national stadium, an Inca ruins that were still being excavated and the best part of the trip following the coastline for several miles. When the tour had ended I made my way back to the coast, It was busy with tourists residents alike, playing all sorts of games, relaxing and picnicking in the many parks stretching along the cliffs that overlook the ocean. One of my favourite, Parque del Amor, featuring a huge monument of two people laying down kissing. It sound rather cliché but I found it pretty lovely!
Walking along further I found all sorts of fun things going on, as well as a tribute park to the Nazca lines made with flowers, the Miraflores boardwalk and an immaculate lighthouse area all made for great photos.
Knowing I was leaving in the morning meant I wanted to pack as much of Lima in as I could. I headed to Parque de la Reserva which features a huge waterfall collection, aptly named Circuito Mágico del Agua (Magic Water circuit) I am so glad this was my final sight in Lima, a combination of 14 different waterfall formations spread around the park make for a spectacular couple of hours. Using a range of coloured lights tactically spaced the waterfalls make all sorts of beautiful arrangements. One of which was a Belagioesq routine performed to music and lights. Creating a fantastic array of different images in a wall of water that was created.
No wonder it has achieved a Guinness world record and for 4 Soles (1 pound 50) it wa a bargain. With a huge water tunnel, pyramids and jumping fountains it was a great finishing point. Another quick memory is of a waterfall that had random timings of when it jumped up and moved around, many kids were playing in and around it (despite being around 8pm.) I watched it for several minutes deciphering the pattern and then confidently strolled up to show everyone how it was done. Holding my camera to create a video of my talent I stepped into the Waterfall area, tactically maneuvered through several water sprays and navigated effortlessly through another few, the end was in sight and I confidently headed in that direction. I had no anticipated a child falling over and as I reached down to pick him up I got soaked by a fountain right in front of me. I was not happy although several children and a couple of adults found it rather amusing.
I arrived home dripping, to find the smiling faces of the Israelis, who also found the story funny but to ease my sorrows had cooked way to much rice and Snitzel and offered me a plate to which I jumped at!
Saturday morning saw me leave the hostel for my 9 hour bus journey to Trujillo, felt like I could've spent one more day but I am sure I will be back.