Saturday, 12 October 2013

Just a day in Lima

Catedral de Lima
Unfortunately due to our time schedule we only had a day in Lima, which in hindsight was a bit silly as the city is amazing. We arrived from Bogota late at night and had organised for the hostel to come and collect us, which was just as well as it is quite intimidating arriving at Lima airport, there is a sea of 'taxi' drivers - mostly just people who call themselves taxi drivers and have no licence and probably no insurance, and there are horror stories of muggings by drivers, so we thought it best to use the hostels taxi. There was a nice bloke, who drove like a rally car racer (this is standard South American driving) to our hostel.

The hostel itself was very basic, but cheap and in a great location in Barranco, a suburb south of the city, there is a regular and very cheap bus service, like the Transmilenio in Bogota, at only £0.44p a journey, it's a bargain. There are also several bars and restaurants around, and the sea is right across the road.
We decided as we just had one day we would cram in as much as we could, we caught the bus to the bus depot to buy our ticket to Paracas for the next day and then headed into town (very easy to get around). We got off the bus at the central station and walked up the road to the Plaza St Martin, where there is a statue of St Martin (of course) with a statue of Madre Patria below him, this statue was commissioned in Spain and instructed to give the lady a crown of flames, the Spanish (not latin american Spanish) word for flame is llama, so the hapless craftsmen put an actual llama on her head. 

The Llama

We then walked up the pedestrian shopping street where we must have been asked to buy a map twenty times at least (even though we were holding one) up to Plaza de Armas, as it was Sunday there was a mass on in the La Catedral de Lima and the worshippers were pouring out onto the plaza, all the roads were closed off and there were literally thousands of people, and the mass was being broadcast outside. 
We saw the Palacio de Gobierno (house of the president) where we had missed the changing of the guard about guide book said it was noon but it was just over as we arrived at 12, so we walked up to the river, which was empty as they are currently in the middle of a massive project to build a motorway under the river! We did not head over the bridge, but it looked like the poorer part of town, with shanty houses on the hillside.
We walked back towards the central bus station and stopped at the now faded Gran Hotel Boliviar as this is apparently famous for its Pisco Sour, so naturally we had to sit in the old bar and have one. From here we caught a bus to Miaflores, one of the more affluent suburbs of the city, Lima is very clean, in fact compared to other South American capital we have been to, it's the cleanest. 
Ellen with her Pisco Sour
We walked to the Huaca Pucllana, an ancient Inca ruin, which is smack bang in the middle of the suburb of Miaflores, it's quite arresting that you have these modern houses next to this pile of inca bricks from 1,600 years ago! 
We strolled around the suburb and stopped for lunch at La Lucha on Kennedy plaza, it's a great American-style sandwich place with a Latin American twist, it's huge very tasty sandwiches are so big so that we didn't eat dinner. From here we walked down to the ocean front and watched the paragliders for a while and sat in the lovers park before walking along the coast, with so little time and wanting to see as much as we could of Lima we decided we would walk back to the hostel along the coast as our hostel was on the coast. We stopped in the massive new shopping centre built into the cliff edge, this was full of the types you would expect (you know, the sort of people who wear sunglasses inside and wear their jumper over their shoulders) even though the shops are average UK/US stores like Gap and Starbucks, this is obviously where the well to do in Lima shop.

Huaca Pucllana, Miaflores

All over the Lima coastline are signs for Tsunami evacuation routes, which kind of amused us and freaked us out a little (ok, freaked Angel out). The coast of Lima is a sandy cliff edge with a motorway running along the beach below it so we assume if a tsunami hit it would slam into the cliff and bring a lot of it down, which made us think the shopping centre built into the sand of the cliff edge seemed a little reckless, especially adding the history of earthquakes too. 
Tsunami evacuation?

Walking along the cliff edge we watched the sun set and then wandered around the suburb where the hostel was, Barranco, it was Sunday night so not a lot was open, though we did manage to have our first Inca Kola, kind of tastes like creaming soda, but it's bright yellow.

No comments:

Post a Comment