Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lovely Lima

Before we got to Lima, everyone we met was so negative about the city. "You don't need more than 2-3 days" "It's a big South American city" Over and over we heard how Lima just wasn't worth any of our time. So we took their advice and planned in only 2 nights in Lima. But boy were they wrong about Lima. What an awesome city!

First off, your home base really defines your experience. For us, we went with a funky B&B in the Baranco neighborhood. Baranco according to some people we met is the bohemian neighborhood. And while normally "bohemian" fills my mind with dread of dirty hippy artists, Baranco was a nice, inviting and very colorful neighborhood. It was filled with funky murals, trees and amazing views of the Pacific.

The first day after getting in we decided to spend walking around our neighborhood. We got a ton of great recommendations from the couple that owns the B&B. Being famished our first stop was a local eatery that offered an incredibly authentic and cheap menu of the day. Your options were either menu 1 or menu 2 (though they were out of menu 1 by the time we arrived). We had a nice chicken soup, followed by a very filling entre of chicken, rice and something else. It tasted homemade and was great for 12 Soles.

After lunch we walked to the main square, which had lots of beautiful plants, a fountain and some nice colonial buildings. Wandering past the square we headed for the "mirador" (lookout point), which turned out to be a park with a stunning view of the Pacific. While the beach didn't look like it was designed for tanning, or the water for swimming, the miles of beach, the cliffsides and the bildings towering over them made for a spectacular sight.

Our future apartment
After walking along the overlook we found a funky cafe/art gallery/large store where we could relax for a bit. We then called it a night, having gotten up quite early for our flight that morning.

The next day it was off to Miraflores, the most beautiful (and ritzy) neighborhood of Lima. We wandered along the waterfront, passing apartment tower after apartment tower, occaisionally making wild future plans of coming back rich and buying an apartment with an ocean view. After a bit of walking we got to the amazing mall that is built into the cliffside. It is home to many stores and cafes that all have spectacular views of the ocean. It's always funny to me to see the luxury restaurants that are found in these malls in South America - Chili's, TGIFridays... but most amazingly, there was a Havana Cafe (an Argentine cafe chain with amazing, albeit massproduced, alfajores). From the mall we walked to the meeting point for the Lima Bike Tour, and spent the next three hours discovering all of the hidden sights of Miraflores. There were two humongous ruins that we learned about, beautiful parks and of course lots of views of the ocean. After the tour we tried to go to La Mar (famous Lima cebicheria) only to learn that it was only open for lunch. Fortunately La Mar's head chef owns several places so we went to Tanta, which served up some tasty Peruvian food!

The next day we decided we might as well see downtown, so we dropped of our luggage at the Olturas bus office, and went off to lunch in Lima's Chinatown. Chifa (or Chinesetp-Peruvian fusion) is really popular in Peru. It was Chinatown, and a Saturday, so it was absolutely packed and crazy. The buffet was pretty standard, except the one or two Peruvian dishes that were also mixed in.

After lunch we headed to the main square, and walked around all the obligatory sights. It was hot, and the main square area was pretty standard (maybe the people that don't like Lima just spend all their time here) so we booked it back to Miraflores for some more time at the ocean. We got to ride Lima's "metro", which is a bus that has exclusive lanes on the street and highway. It was quite nice and made for a fast trip from downtown to Miraflores, and then to our bus later that night.

Our destination in Miraflores was the aforementioned Havana, for some tea/coffee and of course alfajores. Mmmm. We then watched the Avengers 3D, which was entertaining though cheesy. Afterwards, it was too our bus and off to Trujillo for a few days at the beach which I'll save for another entry.

More Photos:
2012.5 Lima, Peru

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