- Paracas – Lima
- Punta Hermosa
After a farewell to Naomi a few days previous and a realisation that I don’t like making new friends anymore (!), I was relieved to head to Lima and reunite with Fran and Rhona. Although, I was extremely sad for this to be my last Peruvian stop considering the country had been so great.
I arrived at 1am to Kokopelli in the neighbourhood of Miraflores. The girls were on a night out with their friend Lydiana. This was fine for me because I was tired and wanted to rest. This proved a more difficult task than imagined because someone in my room had stolen my pillow and the hostel was full, meaning there were no more available pillows for me. Greaaaat! Anyway, I made it through the night and awoke to a nice hot temperature and an extremely drunk Fran and Rhona arriving home at 9am! I let them rest and went for breakfast and a mooch around the area whilst they sorted themselves out.
About 1pm, we met with Lydiana for lunch at the local health cafe. I have to say that nothing about my Mexican chicken sandwich felt that healthy, but it tasted fab so no complaints here. We had to then check out and move hostels and chose to stay at ‘The Point’ in Barranco, the neighbouring area and other touristy, more Bohemian part of Lima.
Since the girls were dying a slow and painful death, I let them sleep whilst I head out wondering. My stroll took me in to the neighbourhood and it’s main plaza, in front of an old library building which was quite striking. I window shopped at a few of the market stalls surrounding the square and then found the public walkway down between the cliffs which head towards the ocean. Lima is a coastal city but built raised up on the cliffs so accessing the water is more difficult than it seems it should be.
This path was lined with bars, restaurants and artisans selling homemade jewellery and trinkets. Once I got down to the beach I found the area to be mostly pebbly. There was a very densely populated beach ahead which I walked towards, soon realising this was the only sandy part in the nearby area. Plonking myself down with my kindle in hand, I read in the sun with the calming sound of waves and children playing around me. A very charismatic toddler was Dad dancing in oversized sunglasses next to me to make the entire experience thoroughly enjoyable too!
Lydiana and I really wanted to watch ‘Beaty and the Beast’ (or here, La Bella y la Biesta) at the cinema that evening but it proved to be difficult finding a non-dubbed screening after 8pm. Instead, I ate my new favourite dish of Lomo Saltado with the girls at the hostel, watched some terrible tv and got a fairly early night in our hot and stuffy dorm room.
Breakfast was the bland old bread and jam so after we got ready we walked around the corner to a cute little cafe. A peppermint tea and açai bowl down and we were ready for our day! This day did only consist of wondering the shops of Miraflores though. A few purchases were made of cheap silver jewellery and a couple of tops to vary up my “wardrobe” before we started walking towards the neighbourhood of Sequillo.
We’d heard of an excellent ceviche hole-in-the-wall restaurant which produced some of the best in the city. With Lima being my last stop and ceviche being the national dish, it was imperative I have a taste before leaving. Lydiana met us at ‘Al Toke Paz’ where the dish of the day consisted of ceviche, mixed fish chicarron (battered) and fried rice. It was FAB! I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and couldn’t believe I’d waited so long. Stupid really, considering how fond I am of fish and seafood.
Lydiana and I planned to attend a 4pm screening of Beauty and the Beast that afternoon and hopped in a cab towards the cinema. We’d pushed it on timings and couldn’t get a spot so instead decided to wonder around before attending the 6.30pm show. Turns out we stupidly pushed it on timings there too and missed that one! Honestly, for two Russel Group graduates we weren’t half stupid. As such, we booked online for two tickets for 9.30pm at a cinema in Mall Del Sur, a little bit away from our hostels but with a large mall and food court to fill our time.
I chose to eat at a kilo buffet type restaurant whilst Lydiana opted for Pizza Hut. Her choice proved to be unexpectedly bad when they took over 30 minutes to make one tiny cheese pizza, then topping it with pepperoni! All was fine when they agreed to return her money and all we really wanted to do was go and watch our film.
We sat in the cinema chairs thankful that we’d finally managed to get to the cinema. That feeling lasted about 5 minutes until we checked our tickets to see the letters D U B instead of S U B. One guess what that meanst in a county used to dubbed films. Luckily we found the entire fiasco of watching this film hilarious. So there we sat watching La Bella y la Biesta in Spanish, following the dialogue based on prior knowledge of this fairytale. Well, Lydiana is actually a Spanish grad so she managed alright. At least it gave me a chance to practice my Spanish!
At 1am, I finally got back to bed and filled Fran in on my hilarious evening. I was glad to be back in a familiar place and googled all the songs from the film in English so that I could actually hear Emma Watson’s voice before falling asleep. What a day and what a funny story.
Considering how much we’d eaten the day before, I vowed to go running the next morning. It had also been something close to a month since last attempting a run at altitude in Sucre. I had no excuses in Lima, being at about 2m above sea level as I decided to run along the coast. Sweaty and slow, I plodded 4 miles of the coastline but felt infinitely better afterwards. The girls had only just got up when I came back which worked in my favour and we all got ready and head out for some breakfast.
To save some money, we walked the 3km’s in to Miraflores that lunchtime in order to see the all important statue of Paddington. Remember, he came from deepest, darkest, busiest, most urban Peru! The statue of Paddington Bear was right above the Larcomar; a grand shopping centre built in to the cliff face, overlooking the sea. Lydiana met us there where we grabbed some lunch. Actually, our lunch choice was awesome. The little cafe we’d chosen had a deal on roast pork belly, sweet potato and salad and it was some of the best food I’d eaten all trip. Lima was quickly becoming an excellent culinary experience for me.
We left Lydiana reading her book with the view whilst us three wondered around some Inca Markets and found Fran some new flip flops. We’d done a lot of shopping in Lima but our original plan, of visiting the ceramic porn museum, turned out to be expensive and far away. So shopping was the natural alternative for four girls!
We walked back to Lydiana who had found a perfect table by the edge of the cliff from which we watched the sun set over the islands in the water. This was topped off with a few beers and a sandwich and we spent our evening gossiping to the sound of the sea, until we got too cold and went back home. It’d been a really chilled and lovely girls day.
My last day in Lima began again with a run. As I said, at 2m above sea level I had no excuse. Upon my return, we checked out and grabbed a Starbucks and then the 4 of us ordered an uber to go to the beach. Fran had been recommended the nearby town of Punta Hermosa, a surfers town an hour from Lima. It took us a while to find how to access the beach and when we did arrive, it seemed almost deserted, save for the weird family party that appeared to be occurring.
Still, who’s going to complain about a near private beach?! Whilst not entirely warm enough to brace the sea swim, we certainly stripped down to bikinis in an attempt to tan after such a long time off. We’d also brought along a picnic and spent the afternoon munching, tanning, playing with the puppies out on walks and laughing at middle-aged men stretching before catching some surf. It was a great way to end Peru and my time in the city.
Getting home seemed to be a challenging task but a lovely local cafe owner helped us out with an uber back go Barranco. To make the most of our last few hours with Lydiana, the four of us grabbed some dinner near the hostel. The restaurant was playing some odd Peruvian gameshow on TV, followed by a terrible version of ‘The Voice’ which we could only laugh at! The food was lovely but it was then time to wave farewell to our little pal and get ready for the airport.
We met a French guy in our hostel who was on the same flight as us and so all shared a taxi to Lima airport that night. It turns out that you must have proof of an exit flight from Colombia before entering the country. Well, no one told me that! So there I was in a panic, booking any old flight out of the country with just minutes before boarding closed. A ridiculous system was almost everyone was cancelling said flights immediately after. Still, I was relieved I wasn’t the only one in his position and did make it on to the plane without any other problems.
Now, when they tell you that flights in Colombia are cheap it is because VivaColombia flies at 2am, giving you less than zero legroom. Certainly not a flight I was looking forward to but it was time for my journey around Colombia and that was something I couldn’t wait to start!
So, 171 days in to ‘life from a bag’ and Lima certainly tickled my tastebuds and stretched my purse strings. Having said that, I loved its familiar city feel and contrast to wherelse I’d been in Peru already. Peru, I love you.