Edit Blog Post
Published: January 31st 2010
Lima and Pisco, Peru
We arrived at the port of Calleo, about a half hour drive to Lima through much traffic. Lima sits atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and having many parks with breathtaking vistas. As we drove along we saw parasailors leaping off the cliff and taking flight - most impressive. We also learned that it “never rains in Lima.” Because of the Humboldt Current, the coastal areas are very dry. It may be cloudy and look like rain, but it just doesn’t rain in summer, and very little in winter. The water for irrigating comes from the Andes Mountains to keep plants and lawns alive.
Peru is an agricultural country exporting many fruits and vegetables with asparagus its largest crop. Avocados are in abundance, but they are too soft to ship out of the country, so many dishes include avocado which is fine with us. The food is wonderful if the two meals we had are any indication. More about that later. The drink of the country is a Pisco sour. Pisco is a kind of brandy made entirely of a certain grape. It is a clear color, not brown. The drink mixes pisco, lime
juice, and just a touch of egg white to make some foam on top. It tastes much like a marguerite or maybe a whiskey sour, and goes down very smoothly. Our guide told us one drink makes you happy, two, even happier, and with the third, we would all be speaking Spanish.
We had two days in Lima, so on day one, Bruce and I went on separate tours. I went on a Lima Highlight tour, Bruce went on an archeological tour. He may add a note about his tour later. My tour took us to the old Colonial section of the city where the cathedral and Presidential Palace are. The main square is lined with beautiful colonial buildings, many of them with gorgeous carved wooden balconies. Lima lies on a fault, and therefore is prone to many tremors and earthquakes. The cathedral has been hit several times, and the ceilings have collapsed. Now they have learned that if they make the roof of wood and mud, and make the columns hollow, the building will absorb the shock of most quakes. The cathedral has many small chapels off to the sides, each one honoring a different saint such as
Santa Rosa de Lima. From the cathedral we walked a few blocks to a Franciscan monastery where we saw some gorgeous tile work along the walls of the area surrounding the courtyard. Following the monastery we drove to an area called Mira Flores, and up scale modern area with parks and high rises for the wealthier people, mostly Europeans and Americans. Then, we drove down to the beaches and passed a restaurant we had eaten at the last time we were in Lima before our Machu Picchu trip. You have probably heard about the floods in the Cusco and Machu Picchu area where they are air lifting out people stranded there. The government has closed the whole area, so the ship’s tour was canceled, too. We met a couple who had booked through another tour agency, and they were probably not going to get their plane fare back, and didn’t know about their hotels. Sometimes cheap turns out more expensive after all.
Bruce went out into the desert to an archeological site and a pyramid. The ancient Indians had a chief who lived with a combination of eight wives and concubines. The worker bees lived in the surrounding lands and harvested the crops. After a hard days’ work they enjoyed some beer made from corn. The museum had ancient mummies in bags, and many pre-Colombian artifacts, including “mugs” for the beer. The pyramid didn’t come to a point, but rather was flat on top, but as in Egypt, the upper crust were buried within. He enjoyed the sites, but said his guide wasn’t the best, and maybe because of language problems, couldn’t explain things in much depth.. He seemed more interested in pointing out all the casinos on the way to the sites.
That evening we attended a lovely dinner in an old mansion that has been in one family for sixteen generations. It is passed down through the eldest male heir. This generation there are only three girls, so instead on going to the heir’s brother who is considered “old,” the house will go to the eldest nephew. Currently there are fifteen people living there, seven of them servants. We had a brief tour of some of the main rooms and the interior courtyard before being served pisco sours and appetizers while a string quartet entertained us. From there we moved on to the dining room which was huge, and was set with long tables strewn with rose petals and bowls of roses. The china was beautiful, too.
We sat next to two people we had met, and across from an interesting couple from Connecticut. Joe has been to Madison and is impressed with the engineering department at the University. Joe teaches biomedical engineering at Trinity College and has visited UW. He and his wife, Barbara, are delightful, and we had great fun together over a delicious filet mignon dinner complete with dessert, liquors, and coffee. A special evening with fun people.
The next day we went to Pisco. There is nothing in Pisco because a few years ago an earthquake destroyed most of the city. Peru is a poor country and rebuilding is slow in coming. We went out into the desert to the town of Ica where the largest distillery in Peru can be found. We tasted pisco (again) and other sweet wines but didn’t buy anything. The next stop was a local winery. Here we saw a more primitive approach to making wine. Again we tasted some more pisco and more sweet wine, and again we didn’t buy any. On returning to the ship, we had a quick bite to eat and “rested” for awhile. A good day, but long.
We set sail for Arica, Chile, our first stop in that country. More after we leave Arica.
Tot: 0.102s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 10; qc: 57; dbt: 0.0214s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb