I arrived in Lima – the capital, very early in the morning, after a very long and dramatic journey, no thanks to American Airlines! I cannot continue without having a little vent, so here it goes: DO NOT under any circumstances fly AA – most staff were incompetent and rude. Flights get delayed due to bad weather, which is out of human control – I get that. However, the fact that delay upon delay upon delay occurred due to the incompetencies of AA employees – is simply unacceptable!! Ok now moving along with my adventure….
After I went picked my backpack up from the carousel and cleared immigration, I managed to make my way over to the “Green Taxis” stand and order a cab to Miraflores – the “posh, affluent” area of the capital. As my cabbie drove on, Lima was slowly starting to wake up. But then I freaked out! All of a sudden the cabbie turned off the main road and began to navigate through the back streets of the capital. My mind began to race, as he had insisted that I place all my bags in the boot – luckily I had my passport, wallet and iPhone on me. We then ended up on a road that ran parallel to the Pacific Ocean (days later as I shared this story with the other people on the tour, the exact thing happened to them…). In his broken English, he then started to explain the redevelopments that were happening along the shoreline. I began to relax as he simply tried to explain our surroundings and be a “tour guide”. Looking at all the houses and apartments as we drove past, I noticed that they ALL had wire on top of the fences with security cameras and guards. My first impression of Lima definitely was not great… after driving for about 35 minutes; I paid the cabbie 50 soles as we had arrived at the Ibis Miraflores. For any of you who are thinking of going to Lima, I can definitely recommend the Ibis – it’s in prime location (only a 5 min walk down to the Larcomar and the coast) plus its clean with good service AND doesn’t cost a fortune…
The changing of the Palace guard was taking place as we approached the Plaza de Armas, which was the main square. A lot of well-groomed horses with uniformed men parading around with a marching band… The catacombs of the monastery of San Francisco were both ghastly and cool. There were bones EVERYWHERE! I actually had a nerdy moment (its natural, I’m a scientist), I began to examine the femoral neck lengths and the shape of the bones… it was weird that the skulls were all perfectly arranged in circles in pits – a little creepy if you ask me… our guide was really nice, so when we asked him for a good place for lunch he said that he’ll walk us seeing as though he also was hungry.
Lima has definitely got some awesome coffee! My friends tell me I’m a bit of a coffee snob, so I know what I’m talking about 😉 Make sure you check out Bisetti in the Barranco neighbourhood (the Bohemian quarter) of Lima – I went there on multiple occasions, its even got a separate room called “The Lab”, so they really know what they are doing. There is also another amazing café in Larcomar, called Arabica Espresso Bar which I think is owned by the same people as Bisetti – serious coffee here… they do cold drip coffee with funnels and instruments – looks almost scientific! I also tried a Lucuma smoothie – its some sort of Peruvian fruit and it was oh so delish!
Ceviche is a must – it’s basically very similar to sashimi but its cooked with the acidity of key limes. They also make different sauces, so the ceviche you eat is flavoured, whether it be chilly, minty or citricy…
Overall, the capital isn’t very exciting and you can easily see most things in about 2 days…