It’s been overdue but I finally got the time to sit down and put together the experiences and impressions from Lima.
Let’s start with accomodation: we arrived in Lima at 6pm and took a taxi to Miraflores where we stayed in Pariwana Hostel. The place was great! They organize daily activities during the day and also in the night. They have a cozy roof terrace, a clean kitchen, offer food and drinks of course. It’s super easy to meet people and due to it’s good location, also easy to visit other neighbourhoods of the city. Shower and loo’s were always clean, thus all in all a very comfortable stay and recommendable. Although we enjoyed staying there, the next time we come to Lima we will probably stay in Barranco, which is a less posh area which seems more local. Miraflores, of course very save, has almost only expensive touristic restaurants or american fast food chains.
Activities: When we arrived in Lima, we literally had no idea nor plan for that city. Therefore, it came handy that the free walking tour in the center started in our hostel. We saw the Plaza Mayor with the change of guards and some other churches and buildings in the surrounding area. I was surprised that most of those buildings are actually relatively new because of all the eartquakes or fires that Lima had to endure.
Later that day we visited the Basilica de San Fransisco and it left me very impressed by its beauty, significance and age. The old monastery was built by the spanish with a great arabic influence, that is visible in the tiles and ornaments. There is an old library with over 20’000 books as old as 400 years. It’s a very dusty place and unfortunately the monks don’t have enough money at the moment to restore it. In addition the very humid air in Lima is not at all beneficial for the preservation of those books. Another thing that stuck out to me was the fact that many flemish artists have their work exposed in that monastery – not an obvious connection. Very recommendable are the catacombes below the church. They say approximately 25000 people were burried there on about 4 levels. Only one level is open for visitors with and endless number of bones and skulls, which were arranged nicely by the archeologists.
On our last day in Lima we visited Barranco which is an artisty, picturesque neighbourhood close to Miraflores. We walked all the way from our hostel, checking out the mall at the coast, which is only a small detour. In Barranco you can just wander through the streets and admire the wonderfull street art everywhere. While doing this, you are accompanied by street musicians playing the soundtrack to your day.
Food: In those 3 days Lima we ate in very different places and restaurants. We started off in a tiny comedor that we found because we walked in the wrong direction than adviced by the hostel. Since Sergio is vegetarian we just asked for recommendations. For 15 soles each, the lady made us a nice big portion of chaufa with veggies for him and chicken for me. The next day after the walking tour we went to a restaurant next to Plaza Mayor, called Cordon Blue, where a lot of workers seemed to go too. A menu (3 courses + drink) was 12 soles and the people working there were super kind, explained the meals, gave us to try different things and suggested vegetarian options. Finally we checked out Isolina Taberna Peruana in Barranco our last day which was recommended to me by a friend who lives in Lima. When we arrived around lunch time, it was full and we put our name on the list (40 min waiting time). They offered us a seat at the bar, and after 15 min we already sat at our own table. As soon as we came in we smelled this amazing food, so were really looking forward to this lunch. The plates are rather big, so if you come with more than 2 people you can easily share only a few plates together. It was definitely the best place we ate in Lima, although all of the food in that city is mouthwatering good. By coincidence we found a very cozy cafe close to our hostel, called Cafe Sofa, which sells amazing waffles with some sort of apple compott. Not very traditional but so good, we went twice!
Lima was food wise great, we met super chilled travellers and was thus a perfect start to our long trip. From Lima we continued by bus to Paracas where we hoped to find a bit warmed weather and wild nature areas – and we found it!