Lima

I think this is my last chronological posting for the trip, some two weeks after returning home!

Another early start for the 90 minute taxi ride back from Ollantaytambo to Cuzco airport, retracing the route we followed to start the Inca Trail a week before. My flight left on time, and just over an hour later we were landing in Lima under the mist which moves in towards the end of April and stays for most of the winter.

A friendly taxi driver was waiting to whisk me across the city to the district of Miraflores, to the pretty and friendly Hostal El Patio. My room was right next to the entrance but this didn’t turn out to be a problem. I took a late lunch of excellent ceviche in the restaurant opposite, and explored Miraflores on foot for what remained of the afternoon.

Lima has something of a bad reputation but Miraflores is safe at all times, given the usual precautions, and the center is safe during the day. So the next morning I took a mini-bus for the 60 minute journey – at a miserly one nuevo sole or 20p – to the impressive Plaza de Armas at the heart of the old colonial city. I visited the huge cathedral, again experiencing some unease at the incredible riches on display in the midst of a city with serious amounts of poverty. I strolled around the central area and some of the shopping streets and lunched in a cheap and cheerful pollo a la brasa restaurant on chicken and chips.

In the afternoon I took a taxi to the impressive Museo Larco in a western district of the city. Its remarkable collection of ceramics and other artefacts including precious metals and textiles chronicles the development and achievements of pre-Columbian Peruvian history, and includes a well-presented gallery of erotica too! Another collectivo took me directly back to Miraflores, just ahead of the rush hour.

I’ve already written about my last night in South America, following pizza and pisco sours at a restaurant on the main drag in Miraflores.

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My last morning in South America was spent packing and reading the paper at a cafe on the park in Miraflores. Then I walked to the sea, where the mist was rolling up the cliffs off the Pacific, and parasailers were appearing out of the mist from above in a very eerie fashion. There’s a big posh shopping mall perched on the cliff, and I lunched overlooking the ocean on sea bass stuffed with prawns, yum!
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Lima is a strange city. I wasn’t there long enough to understand it, but my impression was of a less rich version of Los Angeles, where there are exciting things to be found but all spread out around acres and acres of non-descript urban and suburban sprawl.
My final hours were spent, as needs be, taking a taxi to the very modern airport and then waiting for my evening departure to Madrid and thence London.

Perhaps I’ll post again with some reflections on my trip, but for now: that’s all folks!

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