We arrived in Lima at about 830pm and got into a taxi to the hotel. To say it was a shock would be an understatement. It was like being dropped into another planet, it reminded me of Blade Runner. Passing by tons of neon lights in the rain at high speeds. The neighborhood by any airport isn’t the best part if town in any city and this was no different. It was going good until Laurel turned to me and says “Is it weird that in a little scared”… YES, it was weird. She was supposed to be my travel guide, but we are In this together an that’s all that mattered… and there was no turning back now!
We checked into the hotel in northern Miraflores and asked the man at the front desk if there was anything open to eat around here, he suggested a little place around the corner. It turned out to be an Italian place, Which are apparently very popular in Lima. The wine was great and the food was delicious.Â A trend that would continue through out our trip.Â We were so tired that all we could manage was a quick walk around the neighborhood and then back to he hotel. We didn’t know it at the time but we were right next to the Huaca Pucllana, which is a huge ancient ruin, but as is common in Peru, you don’t always know the history of the area around you. Â When we got back to the hotel they gave us two bottles of Cusquena to celebrate our arrival in Peru! These would not be our last Cusquenas…
The next day we woke up early, mostly because we weren’t used to the hard bed, we decided to get an early start on the day and went down to the lobby for breakfast. The staff at the B&B Miraflores was amazing. They were always happy to get us anything we needed for the room. For breakfast they served us toast, coffee, and bread with cheese. You really feel at home with them. After the breakfast we set out to see Miraflores. It is a really nice neighborhood, I would compare it to Arlington in the DC area. There are little shops and restaurants intermixed with houses. Some of them are clearly not expecting many tourists, at least not at this time of year, but like most of the Peruvians we me they were very friendly and gave us great service. We walked down the Ave. de Arequipa until we reached the Parque Kennedy which is the central park in Miraflores. It was really pretty and clean and surrounded by a lot of little cafes and shops… and stray cats.Â We ate a second breakfast at Haiti (recommended in the guidebook, but nothing to write a blog about) and then set off exploring. We stopped at the cathedral that sits on the west side if the park. It was an active church so we didn’t want to be the rude tourists and take a lot of pictures, but I did take one of the altar because it reminded me if the end of “Big Trouble in Little China” …with the neon lights. For the next couple hours we wandered the streets looking for interesting shops and parks. We saw many pigeons doing their mating dances and abandoned cats sleeping in the grass. It was a good introduction to the city. Kind of a self guided tour of Miraflores. We talked to a lot of interesting people and ate some great street foods. Churros FTW!
The next day we set our sights on Lima Central which is a much bigger and more crowded section of the city. Â We didn’t know exactly where to go but we decided to explore the area around our hotel a little more before getting in a taxi. So we just started walking north on Ave. Arequipa until we got hungry enough to stop. Â Miraflores is a little bit touristy so the prices were a little high. Â But about 10 blocks north they are dirt cheap. We had the biggest omlettes, fruit, juice, coffee con leche, and anything else we could stuff our faces with, The price.. about 10 bucks. Â When we finally stumbled out of the cafe we went back to the street and found a taxi. Â Laurel talked with the taxi driver a bit and we were off to Lima central. We learned that the taxi driver was starting his own taxi service and he gave us his number so that we could call him whenever we needed a ride. This actually worked surprisingly well,Â he even picked us up at the airport on our way back too!Â We were dropped off near an art museum, which I always like to see in other countries. But unfortunately they were closed because they were preparing for a new exhibit. so we just walked around the grounds for a while. They were really amazing actually. behind the museum there was a free clinic going on, we talked to a couple of women who said it was something to do with optometry. They were actually very excited to hear that Laurel and I were on our honeymoon in Peru. As were most people actually, it may be just my lack of spanish vocabulary. But I saw their faces light up when they found out that we were coming to their country to celebrate our marriage.
Central Lima is pretty much like any big city, lots of tall buildings and cars whizzing past on the street. But there’s something European and old world about it too. We went into the Cathedral Â near the presidential palace and got a tour from a really great guide. I really recommend this for someone who doesn’t speak a lot of spanish. Our guide really knew his stuff. Sometimes in the tour he would go ‘off topic’ a little and you could tell that he really didn’t speak English that well, but he had this energy to his talk, that really made you believe him.
After that we walked around a little and bought a few things to take back and drank a coffee at a Starbucks.. because we are Americans after all.