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Published: March 30th 2014
I had arranged a cycling tour for my first day, which started at 9am. I walked to the meeting point, only 10 blocks away. On my way there, I found a French bakery and had a cafe mocha and un chocolate pan. Mucho gusto. I sat watching the workman repair the ancient solar site in the middle of Lima, while drinking my coffee and croissant. The pre-Incans covered a hill with mud brick and raised platforms to the pray to the sun. This site is now covered in crumbling mud, rather than bricks, so they are returning it to it's original state. The bike guide joined me and gave me all the history. We were driven to the outskirts of town at the top of a hill overlooking Lima. There is a stature of Jesus that must be 60metres tall and and even taller cross on the next hill that is lit up at night. We rode down to the city below and stopped at a number of tourist sites, mainly along the water line. I loved cycling in the city. I loved getting up and out on a beautiful day. I then felt comfortable wandering around town, finding my quarter's
(Miraflores) food and craft markets. This neighbourhood feels very safe. I liked walking both morning and afternoon and would not be worried to walk at night. (I will be sleeping instead after all the exercise). After stopping for a meal, I am home early, but beat and am sitting on my bed looking out at the skyline as night falls through the doors that are open onto the rooftop terrace that is my home this week.
I decided to splurge and booked a gastronomic tour for this second and last full day in Lima. I was picked up at the BnB and joined two others in another tour around town. We started with a cappuccino at a little restaurant where they roast their own coffee daily. we sat in the back which is a garden space. There is ivy climbing so many of the walls, but their ivy is clematis so everything is covered in purple blue bloom, when its not covered in red or yellow or white flowers. Next we went to a shop that makes milkshakes from a local peruvian fruit. On route there, we crossed the bridge of sighs. I held my breath, made my wish,
and breathed out a sigh at the end the bridge to make the magic true. These cafes are in the Barranco district, full of bohemian night life, art and culture. I would like more time to walk around there. The milk shake place was a garden jumble of inside and outside rooms with all doors open to the outside. I'm told it never rains in Lima, it's the edge of a desert and only gets a lot of fog. So, much of Lima's architecture uses the outdoors. The parks all along the cliff edge are magnificent, with views of the ocean and riotous flowers, cactus and trees. From the milkshake cafe, we drove to a market high on the cliffs in another more distant district. This market threw the one I had wandered yesterday into sharp contrast. This market is paved with white tile and open to the air. Yesterday, the covered market was dark and somewhat frightening, with narrow alleys that were in disrepair. We tried at least 10 different local fruits, two of which I had never seen before. We learned that there are close to 5000 different kinds of potatoes in Peru and that the tomato originated
here. I will be much more comfortable trying to cook or choose fruit and vegetables here now, having tasted so many. From here we moved to the business sector of town where you find the high end seafood restaurants. Here, we were going to learn how to make pisco sours and cerviche. Pisco is a brandy type alcohol, that isn't as sweet. We tasted some natural and flavour infused pisco and then made the national drink. There is an art in mixing the ingredients to get a tall foam in the glass. Then we sat down to a work station for cerviche. We used premium quality seabass and lots of very fresh key lime. There were all kinds of little tricks for freshness. The cerviche here is made with lime, salt, chillies, coriander and the special sauce that this restaurant makes with celery, ginger, garlic and I don't know what else. It was fantastic, eating incredible fresh cerviche with pisco sours we had made. But this was not the end of the day. Next, we went to the ruins where I had started the bike tour the day before. There is a very posh restaurant as part of the entrance
to the site. There we sat at lined draped tables on the deck looking over the ruins. We were served another pisco sour and 4 tapas, scallops, octopus, heart, and a potato based sushi/peru fusion. Each taste was very different and exquisite. We finally ended with an array of custard type desserts that we could share. I was dropped off at home by 2:30 and had to have a nap to recover from all the food and drink. Once refreshed, I walked the main tourist areas of Miraflores down to the ocean and along the parks before heading home to get a good night's sleep in preparation for the main adventure, archaeology in the mountains of Peru.
Good Night and Sweet Dreams
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