Lima was 100% better than we expected. First of all because we could stay in Luisabel’s (an ex colleague from Shell) apartment in San Isidro. She has a lovely 2 bedroom flat on the 10th floor of an apartment block which is next to the large green park. Because it is cool outside, due to the sun-blocking fog, the windows are open and we are woken up by the birds in the park. In the evening you see the city haze coloured red by the setting sun.
Secondly, there is a very good Uber taxi service. In this way you see the price you pay and because they do not discriminate between tourist and locals it is very cheap (only 3 – 4 euro’s per ride into town or to the museums).On Sunday we took Luisabel and Javier to their choice of restaurant for Sunday lunch. Since fish is abundantly available here so next to the sea, we had a lovely fish meal starting of with the signature ceviche followed by a grilled and a marinated sea fish. Later on they took us to the Barranco area where we walked towards the sea (a cliff with below you,a small bay with a beach) through some small alleys packed with locals enjoying their Sunday rest.
On Monday we started off with a city walking tour from Plaza San Martin. Lima has been able to maintain much of its Colonial past. The main pedestrian shopping street is lined with old buildings. The facades remain but behind them are modern shops. There is no high-rise in the old centre and the small side streets still feel very authentic and busy with traffic. We stopped for 30 min at the Palacio de Gobierno, a baroque style building from 1937 that serves as the residency of the president. At 12±00 hrs there is a changing of the guards. This is accompanied by a large brass band playing all different appropriate tunes. The show however takes place behind fence.
The tour went through the main market and ended in China town. Over the years a large Chinese community has settled in Lima. Lots of Chinese food products are for sale. Jamaliah could enjoy a large Pao for lunch.
After the tour, we went back to some of the historical buildings we passed. o.a La Catedral de Lima on the Plaza de Armas and the Palacio Arzobispal next door. The side altars and the main choir in the cathedral are memorable if you have not already seen so many as we have. They do have a lot more gold worked into the design, showing how rich this city was and some catacombs underneath the floor with large (empty) pits for the dead.
We visited another church and wandered a bit through the streets before taking the Uber back to the apartment.
The next day was a museum day. First the Museo Nactional de Antropologia. It goes chronological through the cultural history of Peru and shows pottery of each period. Attached is the old house of the country liberators San Martin (1822) and Bolivar (1826) where the liberation struggle with Spain is exhibited (Independences 1821).
The next museum is the private museum of the pottery collector, Larco. It is housed in a lovely large house with an exceptional beautiful garden. The pottery and textiles shown in the museum are of top quality. You can also visit their store rooms which are packed with Moche pots of all types. Sorted on the base of their design.
The following day we renewed our car insurance and stocked up the car and attempted to drive up north.