Thursday 17th September 2015
We arrived in Lima around 6.30am and dropped the bags at our respective hostels to check-in later. One of the thing Rebecca, the two Matt and me wanted to do that day was paragliding! We walked on the sea front to find where the spot was. First we ran into a fountain in which the water was so still that it was creating perfect reflections. I loved that!
We ran into that statue of the Paddington Bear. Did you know he was from Peru? I didn`t!
Saw the pier, next to which people surf.
Got to the paragliding spot, but people were doing Tai-Chi and there was no wind anyway in the morning.
Lima waterfront is quite pretty with those cliffs. If only the sky was not that white!!
We went for a long brekky and decided to come back later. In the afternoon, we called and they said to just turn up there. So we went back to the site.
When we saw this guy about to land, we got really excited about doing it too!
Rebecca and the two Matt went in the sky while I was taking photos of them, and then I went and Matt the photographer took the photos of me. Here I am, just took off with one of the expert there who seats just behind you.
Above the sea.
Checking out the hill over there.
If you have never gone paragliding, I would highly but highly highly recommend trying it out. It is probably the most easy sport you can try out. Way easier than trying windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing for the first time for example, or even roller-blading, snow-boarding, even climbing. Paragliding is super simple and give you incredible sensations. You book a session, you turn up there, and one guy will be behind you doing everything. You let them put all the materials on you, the harness, the helmet, whatever is needed. Three or four other guys are assisting him and you, they help to lift the sail. You walk a bit in front of you, you walk a bit back, and before you know it, the sail is up and your feet are in the sky and the guy behind you controls it to take altitude. You just sit in the “canvas chair” behind your butt, you put your hands on the canvas stuff next to your left and right arm. And you enjoy the view during the ride. That`s it. Anyone could do it really. I think I would be 80 that I may still go paragliding!!! And what an incredible feeling!! You are like a bird. There is no noise of a motor. And you are 100% in the air. The sail is above you, so you don`t see it. You are just sitting in the sky. Flying. You are above all the Earth life which keeps going on while you are out there and you can observe it from so higher up. I had done paragliding a few weeks before for the first time in San Gil so I was not nervous at all this time. In San Gil, it was all about the valleys and the mountains. But in Lima, it was a totally different scene. I could see from the sky the highway traffic of the road which is along the sea. I could see the surfers below me taking waves, and the waves series coming through. I could see all buildings of Lima and further away to the hills. I could see all the little humans walking around and kids playing just below me in the park. It felt like being a bird. There is a book I love love love which is “Le livre du voyage” from Bernard Werber, a French writer. I loved it so much that I have onced done the full translation of this book to English in a Word document to offer it to a really good friend of mine. If it still hasn`t been translated, let me know and I will send a copy to you. But basically, in that book, Bernard Werber makes you lie down still on your bed, and imagine that you get out of your body and you climb a ray of light coming from your belly button and you climb up and higher up and you start seeing the world from higher up and higher up and then you start flying above your city and you see the buildings and the people from higher up and the power of your imagination can take you literally everywhere. You can practice that many times, and the more you practice the better you get at taking off and flying with your imagination because it develops. It is an awesome sensation to be able to do that. But still, it doesn`t replace the fact of doing it for real. Well, paragliding is so far the closest to this experience that I have found so far!!! Go for it!!!
After the paragliding, it was time for a good lunch and we went to Cafe del Mar.
We had really good sea food, and really well presented!
After that we went to Museo Larco founded in 1926. It is a privately owned museum of pre-Colombian art. The guy who founded lived from 1901 to 1966 and is considered as one of the fathers of Peruvian archeology but when you read about how the museum came into place, it is an entire family passion here really. His dad had got from his brother-in-law 600 ceramic pieces, his son Rafael Larco Hoyle who had been sent to the States when he was 12 to study there and who loved the impressive American museums got hooked into this and wanted to create in Lima a decent museum too which would show to everyone the amazing pre-Colombian art Peru got. He created the museum with the help of the brother of his dad. They were all into that art but Rafael Larco Hoyle made the museum happen and spent his life searching and collecting for pre-Colombian art, in particular ceramics and pottery. When he got 30,000 piece of art, he started classifying them and realised some links were missing so he studied to understand all there was to know about archeology and what was known about the existing cultures and identified some missing cultures from various areas of Peru. His contribution to making the past of Peru better known is absolutely striking. This museum is a story of love and passion for Peruvian History.
Besides being a fascinating museum, it turned to be a very pretty place with beautiful alleys full of flowers.
The museum was closing at 10pm and we were there at night fall, which made us see it in an awesome atmosphere.
Such a beautiful atmosphere in the evening.
One of the piece of art that got my attention was this golden set which besides of being beautiful was also a unique piece of art of its kind. It belongs to the Chimu culture who lived between 1300 and 1532. This ornament belonged to a great lord who was wearing it as a symbol of power. The feathers at the top of the crown represent the birds who are able to go close to the sun, the sun being an important element of power in ancient civilisations. I let you read the full details in the next image! 🙂
The full details about it here.
There were thousands and thousands pieces of pottery in the last room, it was overwhelming!
After this museum, we wanted to go for dinner near the Huana Pucclana ruins but it was full so we took a taxi back to Miraflores and went to a nice comfy place where we had great food and Pisco sours!
Friday 18th September 2015
Matt, Rebecca and Rachel were off to Ica, south of Lima to go sand-boarding. I wish I had the time too to get there, it looks fun, but that will be for another time! In the evening, Matt would take a night flight back to New York and as for me, it was maybe time to decide what I was up to next and book something ahah.That Huaraz trek just got us lazy somehow. What I knew was that I was keen to go to the jungle next, and flying to Iquitos was the closest to get there. So I checked out flights to Iquitos for the next day with Lan but couldn`t book by credit card so would go do that in a shop later. First we went to a cool place for breakfast where I remember asking the guy to explain every single item of the menu. I haven`t spent much time in Peru yet and when I am in front of a menu like this, I am lost!!!
I got that dish, but don`t even ask me which one it was, I forgot. It was original and tasty though! The brown thing was a kind of potatoe crepes filled with meat and onions and other things.
After that, we went to Lan where I booked a return ticket with a departure the next day, 5 days there and a return flight to Lima for the day after. It is so funny to go to an airline shop to book a ticket in 2015, when we are so used to just booking them online now!
After that, we took a taxi to go to tourist markets to get some touristy souvenirs for Matt to bring back home. The taxi actually took us to normal markets and from there we walked around. It was a much more authentic Lima, a bit rough, the buzz of the streets going one like crazy, no tourists. We didn`t really feel comfortable there, it felt kind of on the edge of being unsafe, a place where you may get your camera stolen in a matter of a seconds if you got it out. We were both happy to not be walking there alone and at the same time, it was such an “in-your-face” experience compared to the quiet posh Miraflores neighbourhood. It was colourful, noisy, vibrant, hectic. We didn`t dare take our cameras out though. So we kept walking and found a local place where we had local chicken and rice. Then we walked away from that area to the souvenirs shops areas. We got to Plaza de Armas which is the centre of Lima where there was this pretty cathedral which was built between 1935 and 1938. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Lima
The fountain on Plaza de Armas.
Woman knitting on a bench.
We checked out the Government Palace from closer . More info about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Palace_(Peru)
It really made me think of Buckingham Palace in London with its guards!
We leaned against the Palace and observed the street life going on. It was funny to observe things that 10 years ago you would not see, like this Lima security guy going around on a Segway.
Or this girl taking a family photo with a selfie stick. A thing you would not see yet even just 5 years ago!! What is coming next? This is why I love street photography. The streets evolve, the people evolve, and when you look back later at photos of the street of a certain time in History, it is fascinating to see how people behaved and what they did when walking around.
We were told to not lean against the Government Palace too long and moved away from that reverie to the right and kept walking. We ran into this bunch of kids.
Saw people queuing up to take photos of their family in front of a fountain
Checked out if there was souvenir shops in this gallery (but there were none)
Walked behind that kid whose skate-board sounds so plastic and small to me I wonder how far he can ride on that!
Saw that impressive tank
Saw the colourful houses over there of another side of Lima on the hill
Saw this man petting a dog, in front of smiling military guys keeping an eye on the streets to make sure they are safe
Crossed the bridge and saw this crazy traffic going on
A pigeon on a wire
And ohhh wait, did you notice something this afternoon??? The sky of Lima is blue!!!!! It makes everything so much more pretty!
It was time soon to head back to Miraflores but we were on one last mission. Finding the Cusco chocolate bar that Mary had made us try during the trek. We entered this unusual supermarket setting, but it was not in there.
Back in Miraflores, we went to the Chocolate museum but it wasn`t there either. We made lots of degustations of every chocolate type possible, drunk some cacao bits drink, and tried all the various chocolate jam, the one with mango, the one with Brazilian nuts, the one with peanut better and so on. We got a few things there, but they still didn`t have what we were really looking for, the Cusco chocolate bar!! A French girl working in the store told us to go check out some touristy shopping area so we went there but didn`t find it either. A woman there sent us to a massive supermarket a few blocks away and here it was, finally!!! Sol de Cusco. Matt bought a dozen bars to bring back to the States for friends and family and I got one.
We passed this place on Parque Kennedy in Miraflores where some street dancers were performing, some people watching were trying to learn their dance moves too, the atmosphere was nice. Lima so far is a very interesting city, it has surfing and paragliding right next to Miraflores, it has beautiful restaurants, music, cultural life…Very developed modern capital with lots to offer!
And that was it, time to say good-bye too to the last hiker of the group, after having said good-bye to Mary and Adrian two nights before in Huaraz and to Matt, Rebecca and Rachel the night before. Before I knew it, Matt was off to the airport for his night flight to Fort Lauderdale and from there another flight to New York and would be back at work on the following Monday. I stayed one more night in Lima, had a quick dinner and was off to Iquitos with the 10.20am flight with Lan the next morning!