Peru is Good

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, October 9, 2006

With our amazing Rapa Nui, Easter Island, Isle de Pascua (whatever you prefer to call it) experience behind us we enjoyed an uneventful (bar the turbulence we're getting used to flying around places all the time) four hour flight back to Santiago. Having changed our flight, we made our way straight to the connecting flight up to Lima in Peru. The flight arrived around midnight and after the two hours getting through the huge immigration and customs queues we finally made our way to the taxi ranks. In the wee hours of the morning we negotiated a taxi and asked to be taken to Hostal Espana, in the old town part of Lima. Now at 2AM in the morning the streets of Lima probably weren't the best place for a couple of gringos. Driving down the road the taxi driver suddenly made a right turn and headed into what looked like a dodgy part of town. We thought "Here we go, time to lose all our stuff and get mugged..." but no the driver lent across and locked all the doors and ran most of the red lights, dropping us right out the front of the hostel. The negotiated price was fair and after being severely ripped off in Chile, it was a breath of fresh air. We both looked at each other and thought we're going to like Peru! The funky hostel had real skulls in the foyer and when we asked about them the owner just smiled and said "Israelis!". They seem to have a bad reputation here as they like to bargain hard on everything and it's not always appreciated, although we have met many that are really nice. They checked us into a nine bed dorm room all to ourselves and we hit the sack.

With no plans to do much in Lima we just wandered around town and wondered why there were so many people out on the streets. Walking to the Plaza de Armas we negotiated our way through about 40 police officers, half of them in riot gear. Cool! A riot! But no there was no riot, they were there as crowd control for the thousands of people that were at the Catedral de Lima to celebrate the Battle of Angamos, an important struggle in the War of the Pacific where the Peruvian ironclad Huáscar was surrounded and captured by the Chilean Navy. We finally also got our washing done. You have no idea what it's like to have clean clothes that don't smell skanky!

As we were going to come back to Lima sometime next month we wanted to get moving and head to Ica. After a bit of a walk we found the bus station and eventually discovered that buses to Ica leave every six minutes. Yes every six minutes; that's a lot of buses, we decided to just show up the next day and jump on the next available bus.

After Europe we're a little bit museumed-out so we just walked around soaking up the Peruvian culture in town. We had heard about the catacombs at the Monasterio de San Francisco and as it was right across the road from the hostel figured it would be worthwhile checking out. Joining a tour we had a great insight into the monks and the work they preformed there. Unfortunately our Spanish is not very good so we understood about 1% of the guide's animated tour. He had no idea we didn't understand anything as both of us listened intently, nodding our heads in appreciation of his vivid descriptions. In the monastery you couldn't take photos, but imagine being under an old church, in dimly lit caverns, looking around and seeing piles and piles of bones. Heaps of stacked femurs and skulls, some lovingly arranged in circles. Creeeepy!
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