Travel Journal

Lima

(Sunday 1 May 2011) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 258-60 4/22-24/11
Got into town about seven and caught a taxi to my preferred hotel. Had some problems finding it as there was no sign, the address number in the guide book was 14 instead of 114, and the taxi driver had to stop a few times to find the street. They had a room though and it was a good set up. I was starving and went across the street and got a fantastic pork sandwich. Got some groceries and went to sleep.
I wanted to get to downtown the next day and the owner spoke no English so getting directions was a chore but she mentioned take the metro and pointed one way. Sure enough I saw colorful signs for Metro and followed them a bit before I noticed the also said Metro on the back. Hmmm, asking directions I finally arrived at the Metro only to find that is the name of a supermarket! I gave up and hailed a cab to the city center. Anytime I have to take a cab I consider it a failure on my part as you have to haggle with them only to get slightly ripped off and the cost is ten times public transportation.
Lima is a huge city and the attractions are not centralized, I decided to hit the core and go to the Plaza de Armas and the taxi driver pointed out some sights on the way there. The Archbishop’s palace has incredible carved wood balconies and the Palacio de Gobierno dominates one end of the plaza. I was keen to visit the Museo de la Inquisicion which has some good exhibits but was disappointed to find it was closed for ten more days for restoration work.
I went to the monasterio de San Francisco which does not allow photo inside so here are a couple of the exterior. I took a tour inside and saw some interesting things. A painting of the Last Supper showed Jesus and the apostles seated around a table which seems more logical than Michelangelo’s painting where they are posed on one side; however, it’s interesting to see the main course was Guinea Pig. Well, I guess I should not be surprised that cultures add their own familiar items to historic religious themes … after all, I doubt Jesus had blue eyes as the paintings I grew up with contained. The library there had great stacks of books in old metal wrought cases and spiral staircases lead up to upper shelves and researchers with gloves hunched over old manuscripts. Also we toured the catacombs beneath the church and saw stacks of bones in common graves. Not as macabre as the catacombs in Rome, but interesting.
I walked around a bit looking at the historical buildings and interesting shopping centers before finding myself in a line to tour the Palacio de Gobierno. I’m guessing they have regular tours although there was a crowd there as a special exhibit of Machu Picchu was inside. It was very stately inside with marble everything and chandeliers and great halls. Outside it was time for the changing of the guards. I had gotten pictures of a drill in the courtyard at the fence but for the main event the sidewalk and street were cordoned off and I had to watch from quite far away.
I had marked down to visit the Museo de la Nacion and Museo Larco which had looked interesting but the hotel owner indicated that they were closed as it was Semana Santa – the holy week of Easter. I found a tourist office which informed me that they were in fact open. They both are in the suburbs and I toyed with going there but decided to wait till tomorrow, Easter Sunday.
I walked a bit and passed through Plaza San Martin with its giant bronze statue of General Jose San Martin and the smaller statue of Madre Patria. If you’re wondering why she has a llama over her head, it seems the commission requested flames over her head but the Spanish word for flame is llama so the artist put a llama over her head as requested. I got a poor meal at a Chinese restaurant and walked to a ticketing office to get bus tickets out of Lima before returning to the hotel. I wanted to try Guinea Pig but the owner told me there were no good places to get it in Baranco which was the suburb I was staying so I got me another pork sandwich and went to sleep.
Easter Sunday I decided to walk to the Huaca Pucliana which is a few miles away..... It was open and has a guided tour with admission. It was among other things a burial area and the small museum went into some details about the practice. It was concealed under a hill so many buildings and residence sprung up around and over some areas before it was declared a protected area. Not the most aesthetic structure as it was just formed by mud bricks stacked vertically one way and then the other; it is quite tall with the actual height being higher than what is presently there.
I noticed that Huaca Huallamarca which is a Maranga pyramid was about a mile away and hoofed it over there. I didn’t have a detailed map of its location so I had to ask a few people before I found it as it also is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The site also has a small museum and you were free to wander about the site but there wasn’t much there and I was done in fifteen minutes.
Try as I might, I could not find a place that served Guinea Pig and being Easter Sunday, many places were closed so I broke down and ate at an upscale Pizza Hut. I had decided to blow the museums off and instead went for some mindless fun by seeing a movie Red Riding Hood which was fair but killed some time. I had checked out of the hotel since I had a 10:40 bus that evening to Trujillo and after picking up some snacks at “Metro”, I collected my bags and went to the bus station, got on the bus, and promptly went to sleep.

 


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