Exploring a new continent

Travel time: March - June 2010  |  by Dominik Weber

17 - 19 April Lima

I took an morning flight from Iquitos to Lima. There are three airlines and since LAN Peru charges every non-Peruvian passanger an extra fee of US$170, I decided NOT to fly with them but with a very new airline: Peruvian Airlines. They only exist since a few month and I was sitting in a former RyanAir-plane (Yes, i found this out!) . But I can´t say anything negative about this airline. We even got a small bite to eat and something to drink. And two hours later, I arrived in Lima.
Lima is a very big city, the capital of Peru and of course the biggest in the country. A lot of travellers were saying that Lima is not the nicest place in Peru and the following two days showed me that they were right.
Most of the travellers are not staying in the centre of Lima, but in a different neighborhood, called Miraflores. It is one of the savest areas in Lima, with a lot of police (because of the many tourists), a lot of embassys and consulates, but also a lost of hostels and a lot of bars. Some Germans, I met in the jungle lodge, recommanded a hostel called The flying Dog. This hostel is in the heart of Miraflores, but when I arrived they told me that they were sold out. But it was half as bad as it sounds: they are having four different hostels in Miraflores, so I just went to the next one, two blocks away and they had availibilities.
Although Miraflores is a nice place to stay and to go out, but there are not so many tourist attractions. The only one is the Huaca Pucllana that I visited the same afternoon. The name means "playground" and it was a place for ritual and holy ceremonies of the so called Lima culture, between 2nd and 7th century a.c. They are still digging and working on the site, but the place is inbetween a neighborhood and some old stone fundaments are now the fundaments of regular houses. But the main attraction is the immense pyramide made entirely out of bricks. They were using a special technic so that the entire construction won't get affected by earth quakes. Pretty amazing.

In the evening, I had some drinks with a guy from Texas and a girl from Ireland. We had a lot of fun and we weren´t the only one going out that Friday evening. Miraflores is really a great place to go out.
The next day, I decided to take a bus to the center to see all major tourist attractions there. I took a regular bus and it took me almost one hour to get there. My first stop was, as always, the main square, also in Lima it is called Place de Armes. It is surrounded by al colonial-style buildings, the palace of the President and the cathedral. Everything very stronly guarded by police and army. I was walking around (the centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), ate Ceviche, a Lima specialty (row fish with onions, chili and lime), went to the nearby Church and Convent of St. Francisco with its famous catacombes before I head back. I think I saw everything in the center.
Walking towards the local bus stop, I realized something that I will see more in other cities in Peru: the shopping streets. Of course, there are a lot of shopping streets, but it is amazing since it seems that they are some kind of "sorted". One street only has shoe shops, the street around the corner are the butchers, the next streets the copplers, the next the electricians, the next the tailors... It is really funny to see and I am always wondering how you to chose one of those shops if the street is full of the same kind of shops. I think that the first and the last in the row always make the best business. But I might be wrong.
The second night, this time it was the American guy from yesterday and an other one, we had some Caipirinha in a local Brazilian bar right at Kennedy Park. The bar was rather small and beside us, there were only local people, which usually is a good sign and indeed it was in this case. The drinks were very strong and we all had a little headacke the next day (we were still wondering how that one girl made it to work at 6am although she left at 2am with us...). But anyway, I wanted to get out of the hostel early: I wanted to see one museum, that my travel book recommended. It is the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera. Rafael Larco Herrera was an archeologist and his son opened a museum with all the various artifacts his father was collecting over the years. It is amazing overview of the various cultures in Peru and they are very nicely presented in this rather small, since private, museum. Most impressive are the storage rooms: several rooms with boards from floor to the top with all kind of artifacts, next to each others. I hope that the photo down below can give some justice.
Fromt he museum, I went directly to the bus company Cruz del Sur, one of the best bus companies in Peru, because I was booked on a bus to Nazca that afternoon. The bus terminal was like an airport terminal: You get your ticket, drop off your luggage, there are several gates - and everything in a high standard. Not to talk about the luxurious bus. We left on the minute (the company is very proud of that) and were driving through the dessert, on the Panamericana southbound towards Nazca, always along the Pacific Ocean.

In front of Huaca Pucllana.

In front of Huaca Pucllana.

Plaza de Armas with cathedral.

Plaza de Armas with cathedral.

...and just one street behind the Plaza de Armes...

...and just one street behind the Plaza de Armes...

But there are also some few nice, colonial houses left in Lima.

But there are also some few nice, colonial houses left in Lima.

One of the storage rooms at the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera.

One of the storage rooms at the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera.

© Dominik Weber, 2010
You are here : Overview The Americas Peru 17 - 19 April Lima
The trip
 
Description:
After working for too long without a real break, I decided to go on a long planned backpack trip. After changing the departure date and the destination several times, I decided to go to South America. Starting in Colombia, then Peru and finishing in Bolivia. At least, this was the plan but once on tour, you never know what to expect. This report is for all people asking how I am doing, but also for those who are thinking about doing something similar. I hope I can inspire them.
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 19, 2010
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Jun 15, 2010
Travelled countries: Colombia
Peru
Bolivia
The Author
 
Dominik Weber is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 11 years.
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