After some wonderful times along the coast exploring the surf and cultural ruins, we aimed for the capital of Lima with plans to pick up Sarah’s father Bob and step-mother Andrea who planned for a visit to sample Lima’s famous food and culture. We were very excited to see them and spend some time out of the van while learning even more about the fascinating history of Peru.Bob and Andrea had arranged a small apartment for their time in Lima overlooking the famous Miraflores beaches full of waves. A successful airport retrieval had everybody happy about the time we were going to spend together.On our first day, we embarked on a free walking tour with them to obtain some background and historical information about the city.
Unfortunately, we had a guide who spoke rapid-fire English with an accent that made it hard for everyone to understand. Despite this, we witnessed some nice and important areas of the historic district of Lima. Lima is famously known as the city of balconies and all throughout the historic district beautifully preserved balconies adorn most buildings. Here the Palacio Municipial is hanging one of the largest sport jerseys we have ever seen. During our time in Lima, Peru was playing in the last wild-card soccer game hoping to qualify for the world cup for the first time since 1982. The city was buzzing with excitement.Another beautiful area was near the old post office entrance which now enjoys eating post card sending tourists.Post tour, our next order of business was to sample some of the famous seafood and pisco sours of Peru.Luck was on our side after the flop of a tour, because we selected a restaurant that ended up having the friendliest and most informative waiter we’ve had on the trip, and maybe ever. Mike exuberantly informed us of his family history, his a passion for food and how classic Peruvian ceviche is made. He’d spent years in the US as a chef, eventually returning to Peru due to his love for the food culture and flavors here, and of course to be close to family.After such an enlightening experience, we now have a better understanding of Peru’s rich culinary history and can appreciate why it’s such a major player in the food world. Our exciting first day left us thrilled to relax and enjoy Lima and each other’s company. The apartment was ideally located in front of some surfing for Sarah and Matt as well as the Parque de Amor (love park). It was perfect for strolling around, watching the para-gliders swoop by and enjoying the beautiful sunsets. Lima can be famous for its grey skies that almost never clear except during a few months of the year. Fortunately, we had sun almost every afternoon.Markets have become one of our favorite places to enjoy the sites, smells and authenticity of countries while on our journey and we were excited to visit a couple with Bob and Andrea. Andrea has a knack for markets and immediately found gold in our world….bacon! The fish was fresh and abundant along with other fun things too, like whole goats ready for roasting and happy mannequins from years past. Lima has an abundance of world class restaurants and one that was on Andrea’s list to visit was La Mar. We spent a very wonderful long lunch enjoying their delicious ceviche, sudado de pescado and other flavors that had us begging for more.Continuing to explore the culture of Peru, we visited the Larco Museum. This was a very well laid out museum with everything labeled in English! The historical stories told here related to pre- Columbian societies dating from 10,000 b.c. to 1532 a.d.
These societies were highly developed which today are seen through what is left of their accounting system (string with knots), pottery, fabrics, and metalwork. The gold and silver adornments worn by the elite and subsequently buried with were some of the most beautiful pieces of metalwork we’ve seen. Imagine wearing a nose ring this big!One of the most amazing aspects of pre-Columbian art is the story it can tell, especially through the pottery. The pieces represent everyday life practices ranging from agriculture, pets and family to births, religion and sexuality. The Larco Museum is rare in that they allow visitors to visit their storage. We were thoroughly impressed at the quantity and quality of the pieces as we wandered through isle upon isle. The day after we visited Larco, we drove south of the city to a very important ceremonial site for the pre-Incan cultures named Pachacamac, arguably one of the most valued sites in all of Peru. It was so large that roads linked the different areas to visit, so Koru helped usher us around in style. The different layers of masonry displayed different accounts of the many cultures that used, built and maintained this religious pilgrimage center. Surrounded by desert, Pachacamac is yet another site that attests to the great societies that flourished in this harsh coastal climate.Bob and Andrea happened to be in the country at a special time for the Peruvians. The national soccer team had qualified as a wild card recipient to play two games against New Zealand for a chance to play in the World Cup in Russia. The first game was played in New Zealand which ended in a tie, but the second game was played in Lima in the middle of their trip! We happily watched the game on TV surrounded by passionate locals at a local bar. Peru went on to win the game solidifying their place in the famous tournament for the first time in 32 years! Needless to say, it was a very huge deal and the locals went crazy, and the air force even flew fighter jets over the city with ‘Vamos Peru’ signs on the bottom.The time eventually came for Bob and Andrea to head home to prepare for their Thanksgiving festivities. Again, we bid farewell to family with full hearts and big smiles, feeling very fortunate to have such a great support system.