Sparky Travels

April 28, 2011

Lima

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 8:12 pm

My Cruz Del Sur bus arrived in Lima at 10am on the 26th of April. I’d reserved a bed at the Pariwana hostel in the upmarket Miraflores district and caught a cab there to dump my bags. Soon I was off exploring, beginning with a walk down to the Larcomar shopping mall solely for the purpose of seeing the sea. I hadn’t seen the sea since Ushuaia, Argentina a couple of months ago and it had been even longer since I’d last gazed out over the Pacific Ocean. Lunch was an 8 Soles set meal in a local restaurant while watching the Champions League semi-final between Man Utd and Shalke. The evening was filled with blogging and beer in the hostel bar. I managed to come 3rd in the Pub Quiz which was decent enough given I was playing alone. With a couple of team mates to jog my memory and answer the ones I missed we could have blitzed it.

I was up early on Wednesday the 27th to try and see some of the tourist sights. A friendly taxi driver who gave me tips on Peruvian cuisine took me into the centre of town where I began with the Museo de Convento de San Francisco. It was interesting to hear about the influence of Franciscan monks in South American christianity and get an insight into the art, sculpture and architecture of the church and adjoining buildings. The most enlightening part was the dark catacombs below. Filled with the graves and piles of bones from an estimated 27,000 worshippers who were buried here over the years, the extent of the maze, much of which remains unexcavated, is unknown. Now only the Franciscan Monks from the convent are buried here.

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I watched the first half of the Real Madrid v Barcelona semi-final in a Chinese restaurant while having lunch before spending a couple of hours in the Museo de Arte (MALI).

It had four interesting exhibitions including one on the famous painting ‘The funeral of Atahualpa’ by Luis Montero. One of the earliest historical paintings by American artists.

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Through Parque de la Cultura and on a couple of blocks is Parque de la Reserva. It’s newest attraction is a number of fountains dotted around. Apparently it is best to view from sunset onwards when multicoloured lighting produces a real spectacle but since I was in the area I thought I might as well have a look. Though none of the fountains were a revelation, they were all impressive and as pretty as any I’ve seen around the world.

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Back at the hostel I met Mia and Marie who’d arrived that day. An hour later both of their day-bags had been stolen! They went to take showers and some local sneaked into the hostel, into their dorm and grabbed the first two bags he saw before scarpering. They happened to belong to the girls and each contained their camera along with items of purely sentimental value. All Machu Pichu pictures gone in an instant, real bad luck. The hostel, who failed in their responsibility (guests had to wear wristbands but these were never checked on entry), at least gave them free accommodation and a couple of cheap drinks so we spent the night in the hostel bar trying to erase the memory of the theft.

The next day, I caught the bus to Mancora, 18 hours away in the North of Peru, for my first beach in South America! People I’d met travelling hadn’t had much to say about Lima but I thought it had potential to be a fun place to stay once you got used to the size and tempo of the city.

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