Friday, September 5, 2014

Flashback Friday - Peru Part 1 - Lima and Cusco

At the end of my maternity leave in 2012, we took ten days away from E and travelled to Peru.  This was a trip that Dave had wanted to take for awhile, and since it would be unlikely we would want to hike Machu Picchu with a small child, we decided to take this trip while we could.  We flew direct to Lima and spent two days there before proceeding to Cusco to acclimatize for our hike to Machu Picchu.  A few people told us that we shouldn't spend any time in Lima because it is dirty and just another city, nothing exciting. But we wanted to spend a few days there and I'm glad we did.  Lima was out of my comfort zone, even though we stayed in the nicest and safest neighbourhood (Miraflores).  We arrived in the middle of the night and had to wait forever for our luggage.  We had arranged a driver with our hotel and I'm glad we did, he had a nice new car and was waiting for us with a sign.  I had read about carjackings in Lima and I was a little nervous as we drove through the poorer neighbourhoods and sped along the road by the beach.  I wondered why he was going so fast, but I went with it, he must know something we didn't.  We stayed at the Radisson.  It was a nice hotel and I felt very safe.  The next morning we set out for a walk.

The smog was there the whole time we were there.  I have heard Lima is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

This is the Larcomar mall built right into the side of this cliff.  If you're standing at the street level you can't even see it.

Art in the park.

Parque del Amor. It is covered with mosaics and dedicated to all lovers.

These evacuation routes were located all along the beach.  Not many places to go with that big cliff up to the city.

This is the neighbourhood of Barranco.  It is the artsy part of the city with many colourful buildings.

The best churros.  I still think about these. 

The restaurant with the churros.  LA 73
Other restaurants we went to were Saqra and an amazing Mediterranean restaurant.  I can't remember what it was called, but the hummus, the fresh pita, lamb, and salads were amazing.  It sounds weird that we ate at a Mediterranean place in South America, but Lima is actually quite well known for its globally inspired cuisine.  Thank goodness for Tripadvisor and wifi at the hotel.  We just looked for high rated restaurants within walking distance of our hotel and found these places.  Our travel pet peeve is wandering around looking for places to eat while we're hungry hangry. 

On our third morning in Peru, we got on a plane to Cusco.  I had booked our flight to Cusco on Expedia and I was so nervous that we didn't actually book the ticket, but it was all fine. 

View from our hotel.

This was our hotel. A very cute loft apartment bed and breakfast. It had so many nice touches - the owners met you with tea when you arrived, they had a picnic basket of treats, and you could have them build you a fire. As much as we enjoyed exploring Lima, we did wish we could have spent more time here.

Tons of shops as you walked around the town.  We got an alpaca scarf (that may or may not be pure alpaca wool), finger puppets, a hat for E, and a painting of Machu Picchu. 

We actually saw a documentary about this wall before we went down. The stones are all laying on top of each other with no mortar, and they have been as straight as an arrow for hundreds of years.

I am always interested by these huge symbols of organized religions plunked down in the middle of these ancient civilizations.  These buildings are so impressive and beautiful.  They represent destruction but also hope for many people. It's hard to reconcile at times.

Our breakfast delivered to our room.

We ventured out of the strictly tourist area to this market frequented by the locals. 

All through the streets are rows and rows of clothing, shoes, luggage, and other items. I could not believe the amount of stuff, and all for so cheap.

We again employed our practice of going to the top rated restaurants on Tripadvisor.  We ate at some pretty great places - Uchu Peruvian Steakhouse, where we cooked our own food on a hot stone, and we ate twice at Cicciolina where we enjoyed some local ingredients spun into some amazing cuisine. 
Next week I'll write about our hike to Machu Picchu in Peru Part 2.  


  1. Do you think you've become a more adventurous traveler since this post? I mean, going to Peru is adventurous but just curious?

  2. We haven't really done anything "adventurous" since this trip. Our trips are fairly normal, Jamaica resort, Europe, Hawaii, other US cities. I would say that because we did the hike to Machu Picchu, I have often felt that I can do anything. And seeing poverty in Peru has enlightened me about different parts of the world.