Before mud volcanoes and coffee in Colombia, we were in Lima for a few days, enjoying delicious food, city sights, and doing a lot of laundry after all of our adventures in the (hot, sticky, rainy) Amazon (yes, we still have plenty of chores to do on the road!)
Lima is an old city (especially by U.S. standards), having been founded in 1535, and is on the Pacific coast of Peru. What’s amazing (and was surprising to me) about Lima is that the downtown has a mix of Incan archeological sites, elegant Spanish cathedrals, and opulent Spanish palaces, all set against the backdrop of beach life on the coast, including a vibrant surf culture. Given my prior experience with Lima (and Peru in general), I never quite imagined it as a coastal ‘beach’ city, but we were definitely happy to be near the ocean again, which we hadn’t seen since November in Uruguay.
We stayed in a neighborhood called Miraflores, which is south of downtown Lima and known as one of the more modern and affluent neighborhoods of the city. Our Airbnb was on a quiet street a few blocks from bluffs with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Our first day, we arrived in time for a glorious sunset. We didn’t realize it at the time, but our adventures in the Amazon had tired us out, and we ended up taking it VERY easy in Lima, which was enjoyed by all.
Neighborhoods around the city have been built up around many of the old buildings which makes for beautiful architectural sights where you’d least expect them. Some of them have been turned into boutique hotels, some into private homes, and still others into trendy restaurants in the happening Lima food scene.
On one of our adventures while in Lima, we ventured to the district south of Miraflores known as Chorrillos, which is rougher around the edges, to have ceviche at a ‘local’ restaurant. Peru is known as being one of the top destinations in Latin America for food, and the ceviche in Lima is one of the reasons why. (It also just happens to be one of Jim’s all-time favorite foods…)
Surprising all of us (including herself), after Cecelia tried fresh fish ceviche and fried calamari, she declared that she is no longer a vegetarian. Not sure if it will last, but her enthusiasm was still a major testament to the food for which Lima is best known.
We had ceviche two of the four days we were in town, and Colin was the only one who wouldn’t try it (preferring to enjoy two of his favorites, pizza and pesto which were in short supply in the jungle).
After stuffing ourselves with lots of fresh fish (and other yummy things), we needed a walk to keep us awake so we headed toward the local beach. On our way down a foot path, it was hilarious to hear the mom of a local family walking up past us say (in Spanish of course) “Mira los gringos, que lindos,” which loosely translates as “How cute, look at those gringos.”
And yes, they are pretty cute, especially when they’re goofing around like above. Just funny to hear her say it and of course she didn’t expect us to hear (or understand) her.
The beach in Chorrillos was packed and families were enjoying the perfect beach weather. In Rio we noticed that people sit really close to each other at the beach, and the same was true here. The density was truly impressive. We’ve seen the same thing at Coney Island of course, but it’s not the typical scene we’re used to from our experiences in San Diego and on the Jersey Shore. Probably the biggest disappointment of our Chorrillos outing was the amount of trash we saw people leaving everywhere on the beach. It was truly a mess; plastic bottles and bags were floating around at the shoreline and the beach was strewn with all the waste from the day’s festivities, waiting for the incoming waves to carry it away.
What was cool, however, is that the kids noticed the trash on their own and talked amongst themselves about how people shouldn’t leave their trash behind because of the animals, the ocean, and other people who want to enjoy the beach. I guess it was a small silver lining to an otherwise discouraging moment.
The coastline in Miraflores was a great place for us to get out on another family bike ride (we’re SO close to actually all being able to do this without special seats, etc.), and bike rides on this trip have been a highlight because they are something that we unanimously enjoy (there aren’t that many things on the unanimous list right now…) The coastline has been beautifully designed with parks, paths, and recreation facilities in mind (although some of it is under major construction currently which created some small detours), so our ride took us through sites like the Parque de Amor (park of love), with which its passionate starring statue, was not the kids’ favorite.
We even tried a mini BMX course (dirt, off-road) along the way!
After Lima, we said goodbye to Peru and headed for Bogota. The relatively shorter stays in the Amazon and Lima before leaving for Colombia left some of us in a better mood than others, but we rallied and got psyched up for our fun plans in a totally new place.
More to come soon!
Tchau for now,
All of us