Lima, downtown and M{flores....

Trip Start Aug 28, 2004
Trip End Aug 2005

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Where I stayed
Hostel Tradicionales

Flag of Peru  ,
Monday, April 18, 2005

Well we touched down onto Peruvian soil without too many hitches....Immigration was another press the button and wait for the lottery as to whether you got the red/green light and follow the appropriate route!!! We met up with Avin (who unfortunately was chosen for the red route) and Heather the couple previously mentioned in our last entry (Panama). They being the organised folk they are had already arranged a place to stay complete with pick up from the airport, so we were cheeky and cadged a lift with them. After a few phone calls andsome confusion over the whereabouts of our hotel pick up, finally it arrived and we all rode out in one of the 200,000 taxi´s ferrying around Lima City.

We stayed at the Hostel Tradicionales in "Miraflores", a nice and quite affluent part of Lima City. Angelo the gauy that runs the Hostel was a fountain of knowledge and information and woe betide if you got into conversation, as you´d be there two hours later!! But with all the information you required and more. We definately recommend this as a place to stay, as you get the full breakfast, and can ask for tea/coffee anytime. All these small details amount to a lot when you´re constantly on the move like us!!! we sampled some of the local restaurants and tested some traditional Peruvian fare, Cebiche is a raw fish dish which is marinated in Lime juice and chillie with red onions and just delicious to the taste buds a must to try! Lomo Saltado is a dish made up of beef strips salted with chips, onions and other yummy stuff also an excellent choice, which definately got the thumbs up from all of us. "Miraflores" is a lovely area to take a walk, with many night time markets both "Antique" and more indigenous "Indian" ,markets also. It is a short walk to the sea also which is quite nice. Taxi´s are inexpensive at 4/8 sols depending on wether it´s "local or downtown", they are so cheap as there are so many!!! We managed to in the two days we were in Lima get two in as many days to break down en route (be it run out of petrol or just a knackered engine!!). Can you picture this, all passengers out at the back of the car pushing it into the nearest petrol station!?? Very funny not, what was worse was the second cabbie insisted we get in only for his car to conk out yet agian, are you crazy????

Contrary to what the guide books say, "get out of Lima fast" and do "Machu Picchu" etc.... Lima is actually worth spending a few days exploring, it is very "Colonial" within the centre and becomes more concrete blockish as you head out of the centre. If you can avoid it DO NOT go to the post office as you can quite literally spend the whole day there quite literally!!! We visited the "Spanish Inquisition" centre, (Inquisition de Espaniol) where prisoners where put on trial and tortured....interesting mock up rooms etc...with vwery dodgy gory human figures being tortured. the guide assured us it was not quite as horrific what the spanish did as the sculptures displayed! We then visited the "San Fransisco Church" which houses the most beautiful library containing thousands of books dating hundreds of years...In here the church also houses the "Catacombes", which hold 25,000 skeletons of local people whom where buried beneath the church. there are numerous "Plaza´s" and statues dotted about the city to look and gaze at. The Palace has a daily "changing of the guards", and this was accompanied by a large Brass Band, all very impressive and worth observing for a few minutes. It has been cleaned up somewaht according to Angelo, (Hostel Guy) and this is true, you see many Police and there is always someone looking to help you find somewhere, (it´s all very civillised indeed). We visited the National Museum, which was very informative and houses many of the local archeological finds. All of the above places come with a free guided tour (in English) and are totally excellent and we fully recommend anyone do this, as all the written blurb is in Espaniol. A very positive initiative of Lima´and one of which we approve.

China town is also worth a visit, if only to receive an absolute feast, if yopu select the daily special menu, Avin, Heather Martin and I all over ate on a great deal for 4 people!!!! The price was a bargain for what we had. If you´d prefer to spend time in the centre then the "Hostel Espania", seemed a pretty good deal and is smack bang in the midst of the centre. A very old but beuatiful rambling, building with much character, but it seemed to be in the middle of resoration whilst we popped in, check it out if you´re in the area at all.

Well time to move onto see the "Andes" in "Huarez", only a 9 hour overnight coach ride away, Hoorah!!! Keep on reading folks and hope that spring is well and truly on it´s way for you all.
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