After almost 14 months on the go, finally it was my turn to see a familiar face. My good school friend Javi had recently moved to Lima in search of new opportunities for his company Tenseon, and he kindly offered us to stay at his place. It had been over three years since the last time we had seen each other and to make the reunion even more special we were arriving to Lima the day after his birthday, right on time for the celebrations. Javi had organized a little party in his gorgeous apartment with a few of his friends. The yummy pisco sour and chilcano made by the Peruvians warmed up the atmosphere in no time. Isma and I haven’t really gone out much in the past few months, so just two drinks were enough to get us tipsy. The night ended in a fancy club where we shook our rusty hips. Great night with great people and a fantastic welcome to Lima! We surprised Javi with a blender as a birthday present, the indispensable kitchen gadget that is a must have in Peru, specially for making pisco sour and healthy jugos!
We woke up with shore heads, consequence of the pisco. We had already been warned about the effects of this malicious drink, so couldn’t really complain too much. After a bit of breakfast, Javi, our guide for the day, Isma and I walked our hangover around central Lima. Central Lima is the oldest part of the city and where the vestiges of the city’s colonial era remain today. Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas were a great example with their beautiful historical buildings. Around 4 pm we made a mandatory stop at a cafeteria to listen online our début on the radio! A few weeks ago we had been interviewed for Levando Anclas, a travel radio show on Radio Euskadi, after Esti, a friend of mine, sent them a mail and the link to our blog. When I was little I used to listen to this very same show every Sunday and now it was me who was on air, so strange and so exciting and the same time! I can’t deny that I was as nervous as hell, but at the end it didn’t turn out that bad.
The private city tour continued in Miraflores, the modern city centre of Lima. This cosmopolitan neighbourhood is one of the most upscale districts of Lima and it is full of fancy cafés, lively pubs, expensive restaurants, shops and hotels. Our stomachs were craving a bit of post drinking greasy food, so Javi brought us to La Lucha sangucheria. A legen… wait for it… dary place (yes, we are watching the 7th season of How I Met Your Mother) where they make incredible sandwiches with an exciting twist of creole flavours. Juicy beef, melted cheese, ripe avocado and tartar sauce with crunchy bread, seriously, one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. The visit to Miraflores concluded with a visit to Larcomar, an outdoors shopping mall overlooking the Pacific coast, very popular among the middle and upper classes. We saw there our first Christmas tree which reminded us it was almost Christmas! How easy it is to lose track of time when you are travelling!
One of the worst things of Lima is its infernal traffic with its endless traffic jams. But it’s not just the traffic jams, Lima lacks a decent public transport system, and to travel from one place to another you have to rely either on combis (mini buses) or taxis. For example, making it from San Isidro, where we were staying, to Miraflores, just 4 km away, can take over half an hour in a good day. At least, and thankfully, they have the metropolitano, a bus system that has its own lane and that connects Lima south with Lima north. It does run very well, but sadly, the route still is very limited. Also travelling by bus in and out of the city is a bit chaotic, there isn’t one central bus terminal from where all the bus companies leave or arrive. Each company has their own terminal and they are all spread around the city… not good!!
In Lima we had the chance to visit the puericultorio Perez Aranibar. German, the uncle of a friend of mine, is a Corazonista brother who has been working at this puericultorio for the last three years, and in Peru for more than 20 years. He kindly showed us the work they do at the puericultorio with poor children and with children from broken families. They help them up to the age of 18, giving them a home, food and studies. It was really a rewarding and eye opening experience, but at the same time a bit sad and hard to realize how hard the life of those children is and to see in what conditions the facilities are. Curiously enough, the first lady of Canada was visiting the puericultorio that very same day and all the kids were behaving their best.
One month in Peru and we hadn’t yet tried the real Peruvian anticuchos (cow heart in a skewer). Manolo, a good friend of Isma who had been temporarily living in Lima a few years ago, recommended us to go to Barranco to try them. So after visiting the puericultorio we jumped on a taxi and landed on the heart of this bohemian neighbourhood. Right in front of the picturesque bridge of Suspiros we soon discovered the famous El Tio Mario, one of the most traditional anticucherias in Lima. Even though eating cow heart doesn’t sound too appealing, I have to say that they were truly delicious. Tender, juicy and mouthwatering meat that accompanied with refreshing chicha morada and good company made the perfect dinner!
Lima didn’t really impress us, it probably wouldn’t be a city where we would like to live: it’s difficult to make it from one place to another, the garua (the heavy mist that usually appears in winter) makes the days grey and sad, and according to the locals it’s not very safe at night. But the good thing about Lima, and what somehow compensates all the bad things, is the food. Lima is the food capital of Peru and there are endless and incredible choices where to eat unbelievable food, from the most traditional to the most innovative Peruvian flavours. In all, we enjoyed our short stay in Lima and it was great to catch up with a good friend.
Visit our flickr gallery to see all the pictures!
From Ica to Lima by bus (4h 30min) – We travelled with Cruz del Sur on a semi cama bus and we paid 35 PEN per person. They gave us lunch and we had free wifi on the bus.