The final overnight bus took us to Cusco for like 5.30am, not an ideal time for hanging out but we managed to find a hotel cafe which was open at 6am for wifi, loos, power (all the 21st century needs) and of course coffee and sandwiches, whilst we waited to head to the airport for our (what turned out to be delayed) flight.
A few hours later, we were speeding through the streets of Lima, this time to Miraflores the touristy area of the city (actually has 80% of the city’s hotels). We were glad to check into a one bed apartment there, to have our own space.
This was VERY MUCH APPRECIATED the following day as we both woke up to food poisoning (from either the ceviche or paella we’d had for dinner, so typical, we eat all the street food and then the one time we eat in a restaurant haha, just shows!!). We spent the whole of Friday reading in the flat, with a couple of trips out for supplies to keep us going! It really knocked us out so there was a lot of naps and lying on the bed – bad times!
Saturday we woke up much fresher and ready for action. Headed up the road to a market for souvenirs and bargaining with the locals over fancy bottles of pisco and Alpaca scarves. After an ice cream to keep us going, we headed to the coast to a huge shopping centre, not dissimilar to Liverpool ONE or Westfields, built into the rock! It was here we booked and picked up the Lima city bus tour for the rest of the afternoon.
The bus took us to three areas, firstly, just south of Miraflores was Barranco. Known as the bohemian area it boasts building with a lot of European influences, many bars, shops and restaurants and apparently is where all the cool people hang out.
We then headed back to Miraflores, as I mentioned a proper tourist spot with loads of places of eat and drink. It’s also home to the site of Huaca Pucllana, an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD (that final bit was from Wikipedia).
We then headed north to “down town” Lima which is where the most historic buildings are, including the Justice Palace and Church of San Francisco (Iglesia de San Francisco) & Catacombs which we were able to go inside and visit!
Our bus / walking tour guide gave us a detailed explanation of the Franciscan way of life during the Spanish invasion from the the mid 1500s to 1821. Interestingly, (and totally corrupt) many rich people paid for bodies to be buried in the Catacombs, believing that they’d get they’re “own space” down there. Turns out, bodies were buried there for around a year in 5/6m deep tombs, separated by limestone (which helped them decompose quicker) THEN they moved the body parts to different sections. We’re talking a leg section, a head section, arms etc – to save on space haha! Members of the public weren’t allowed down there so no one knew, how crazy is that!? There was about 25,000 people buried under there in total.
As part of the tour in the church we also saw the oldest library in South America, it was like the one in Beauty and the Beast, but smaller. Curvy staircases, hundreds of books and “no photos allowed”. Many of the books dated back to the 1500s and the pages are made from animal skin; apparently they weigh upto like 30kg – get lifting, book worms!
We took the bus back down the full stretch of Lima, through the different districts; La Victoria and San Isidro, ending back to Miraflores. Rach and I got chatting to a Spanish man (who lived in Brazil, working for Nestle) on the bus and he recommended a burger bar for dinner. We had amazing cocktails there and some really bloody good burgers / a meaty sandwich for Rach. Our fave pisco drink of the trip at Papchos!
Our final day was Sunday – with an evening flight we had the day to chill and do any final explorations in the city that we fancied. We headed down the huge cliff face to the beach, got pestered by all the surfers to go surfing, saw some crabs and then finally plonked ourselves on a bench on the pier where we sat, taking in the sea air and chilling out watching surfers try and catch the waves for an hour!
As we walked back past the surf tents, one surfer guy who we’d been waving at gave us some tiny shells from the sea as souvenirs! Too cute.
Next stop, (after a hilly walk, during which we didn’t get out of breath for once thanks to being at sea level), we headed black to Kennedy Park and up through Miraflores to a market we had found online. Here there was loads of fruit, veg and meat stalks, plus plenty of civicherias. For lunch we got a two course meal of civiche (we both decided we had to conquer our fear after the illness) and Lomo Saltado, a traditional Peruvian beef stir fry dish, for just 9 sols (around £2.50 max). It was delicious, and as we were on a final budget we had to be careful, some of the restaurants in the main area charge 38 sols for Lomo Saltado, 4x the price! There was so much hustle and bustle around the market, loads of stalls selling different meals and foods to try!
The final stop before we headed for our taxi was the park, where we’d spotted some tasty looking street food we’d not tried yet. It was there we were drawn to a crowd in a small, deep set amphitheatre type thing. Turns out, there was a speaker with traditional music and loads of old people dancing! It was drawing a huge audience and we stayed to watch and cheer for a good 45mins! So chilled and so fun!!
It was then we had to say ciao to Lima and Peru and head to the airport. We managed to have a final pisco sours there with our last sols and pick up a bottle of pisco for our reunion in a few weeks together. Now we’re home after an 11+ hour flight, and we avoided getting caught in the BA delays – asta leuego Peru & Bolivia it’s been amazing!
Mmm ice cream
By the seaside
Having ceviche again
Boogie in the park