I never thought that Lima would be my favorite part of the trip - I had heard Cusco was more enjoyable from almost everyone I knew who had been to both cities. And as predicted, it wasn't my favorite.
The books I read talked about the crime problems there, so we were constantly on our guard (even without the armed guards on every street corner after dark). I also felt a lot more of the colonial influence of Spain on Peru here than in Cusco, where there is much more pre-colonial culture.
Still, we had some interesting visits. Our hotel, the Gran Hotel Bolivar, is a grand old dame where the pisco sour drink was allegedly invented. The lobby had a striking stained glass cupola (see at right). And by this point in the trip, I was able to converse a lot in Spanish with the hotel staff.
On the afternoon of Day 8, we were able to see the Covento de San Francisco and its fascinating catacombs. It was probably my favorite thing that we saw in Lima. It killed me not to take pictures inside, because the courtyard and cloisters were amazing, as were the arranged bones in catacombs.
Also, there was a hilarious moment at the end of the tour, the guide said simply, "OK guys...that's it. It's over." Well then.
We had a really enjoyable Italian-Peruvian fusion dinner at Tanta in the El Centro district. Apparently this chain was begun by Gaston Acurio, founder of modern Peruvian cuisine. And apparently there is one in Chicago. Guess we'll have to go!
On Day 9, we had a quick breakfast at the hotel and visited the Iglesia de San Pedro, which had gloriously ornate altars and decorations.
I think I might have been all churched out at that point, though.
On our way back to the hotel to leave, we passed by a supermarket. I love perusing supermarkets in foreign countries, because you get to see how people really live.
Of course, tons of potatoes. I should have bought some Inka Corn. DAMNIT.
Well, that was my trip to Peru. It was really fantastic, and I'm so glad I went. If you are thinking of going, go. If you can't do a full hike, get a train. Just go.
I'm planning on doing a post later with all the Incan doors I took pictures of. What glory. And now I'm off to buy some Inka Corn on Amazon.
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