On a roll! Now, it’s time to talk about my greatest adventure across the globe so far – Peru and Bolivia! This post is about Lima in Peru! Apologies for the poorly named title but you’ll just have to bear your teeth and accept it.
My bestest friend Alicia had been planning a monumental trip across the Americas – East to West coast USA, travel through Central and then South America before flying home. I have always wanted to go to Peru and knowing Alicia was heading there I decided to join her on part of the leg of her journey.
Preparing for a trip like this one is something I’ve not done before and I felt like I spent so much money and time in doing so. I’m not one for organising and preparation of trips but this was necessary. Injections, bags and gear all costs money. I also really hate packing and quite frankly, Louis Theroux was the only person who could support me through this (that’s a lie, him not being physically there was a disadvantage and a big shout out to Mama Gee for keeping me sane in this process).
I worked at Mousetrap for two days before heading to Heathrow for my night in a pod. By the way, the Piccadilly line at rush hour with an enormous backpack is a mean feat.
9 November 2016
My night in the pod was gorgeous and I was ready for my 7:30am flight. I passed through security and just like that my phone died. Full on, not resurrecting through much button pressing, DIED. I hate that I have a life ruled by an iPhone but I seeked computer advice over a Heathrow desktop from my Dad at 6 in the morning and in that moment I had the most expensive morning of my life and bought a new phone.
In many hours of flying (14 altogether) I got myself through some decent film watching (Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Star Trek etc) and ate a salad because apparently you had to let the airline know you’re a veggie in advance… Thankfully, I managed to have some brie and bread on me so a sandwich did the trick to survive hunger.
I arrived at the airport to the wonderful sight of Alicia holding a sign saying ‘Mowgli’, then headed to a taxi where I witnessed Alicia channel her inner amiga and bargain a taxi ride in Spanish. That evening we went to dinner and my new phone fell out of my pocket and straight on the floor. Scratches in it already, it had only been 12 hours. Nice one Mowgli.
10 November 2016
Okay so enough about the moans and groans of preparation and the struggles of being a millenial, the first day in Lima was glorious! The sun was shining and even though jetlag was messing me up I could not wait to explore!
Our hostel was on the outside of Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, a park inhabited by cats! Somewhere I’m sure that if Kieran visited Lima he would have spent all day there. The walk along the coast of Lima was stunning. We could see people surfing, the sky was blue and I was in SHORTS! The sculpture garden was impressive.
Lunch took place in a building with a transculent yellow ceiling so everything I was eating was yellow. I tried my first Inca Cola which was delicious (I did later discovery in daylight exactly how luminous it was!).
After the yellow lunch we took a bus to Centro Historico. Only the bus didn’t exactly take us there and when the bus crossed a bridge we knew we were going the wrong way! (I later discovered on a walking tour that tourists shouldn’t go to the area over the bridge because of pick pockets, oops!) We walked for about 30 minutes and eventually arrived at our destination.
Alicia and I decided to explore the catacombs at Monasterio de San Francisco. I had never been to any catacombs before so was looking forward to it but obviously not super keen. After all, who really wants to see piles and piles of bones? “No Photos Allowed!” And good too! I always think there’s a time and a place to be a tourist and you certainly shouldn’t be snapping around dead bodies. It was incredibly interesting to see how the monastery had been excavated and how the bodies were catalogued. Skulls in one place, femurs in another.
We crashed back at the hostel and Alicia went to bed feeling unwell. She’d been struggling through the day and the illness she was encountering may or may not have been the result of eating ‘serviche mixto’ a few days earlier.That night, I received a horrifying email. One from IncaRail – the train company we were using to get to Machu Picchu. The email contained information about a strike at Machu Picchu and about the trains that day not running for safety reasons as protestors were known to get violent.
[[Small rant ahead, you’d understand why I was pissed off about this! But feel free to skip to 11 November if you’re not in the mood for a rant. I have left a more extensive rant on trip advisor I promise you.]]
I felt sick. Honestly, Machu Picchu is one of the main reasons I had wanted to come to Peru and now my chances of going there were unlikely. The website to buy official tickets is crap to say the least and I was in panic. I knew that everybody else planning to visit the days of the now striking days were going to try and change their ticket and I had to beat them to it. Cutting to the next day briefly, I couldn’t access the website from either my phone or the computer because apparently the official MP website is a flash website(?) and so my lovingly and kind parents bought them on my behalf all the way back in the UK. I couldn’t find an option to swap my tickets and panic encouraged me to just buy tickets again. Apparently, since this I’ve discovered you can only be refunded if there’s “a natural disaster”.
[[Rant partially over but may continue in blog post about Cusco and Machu Picchu]]
11 November 2016
On this day our plan was originally to go to Ica to cut the journey to Cusco in chunks. but, Alicia was really unwell and we decided against a long coach ride and to stay in Lima one more day.
While she rested in the hostel I went on 2 walking tours! (Lima By Walking, the best walking tours I promise you. Go to them. They will teach you. Also, credit must be given to them for the group photos provided in this blog post.)
The first, in Centro Historico. I met Tom from Bristol and Delphine from Belgium. We all got on really well and enjoyed the walking tour with pisco sours and learning about the history of Lima. I had some churros and chica, both of which was yummy. After that walking tour we headed for lunch where we learned to make sure we got the correct menu and not the one for the tourists which was twice as much(!)
The second walking tour was my favourite and it was around an area called Barranco. I went on this walking tour with Tom and Delphine. This area was your hipstery, gentrified answer to Lima so while there were loads of cool bars and cafes you could slowly see the Starbucks and McDonalds creeping in to the neighbourhood.
The area had loads of great street art and here are a few of my favourites:
The sun started to set and we had a photographer with us on the walking tour who took some great shots of us all being travel-y, awesome, super cool people. Be warned, this would be instagram hash tag worthy.
Barranco, I bloody adore you.
After the walking tour, Tom, Delphine and I grabbed a pisco sour drink at the bar. The sun had gone down and I really felt like I was on holiday. I know that sounds like a weird thing to say but often with travelling it’s sometimes so easy to forget to make it feel like a holiday and not a journey.
We then headed back to the hostel by a combibus. Let me tell you, I will never complain about London driving after what I experienced on that bus. They have a guy leaning out of the door (WHILE THE BUS IS MOVING) yelling people to get on the bus. Also, there are 2 lanes marked on the roads but with 4 lanes made up by the cars. This is scary driving!
Back at the hostel we consumed a bottle of wine out of my red water bottle to disguise the fact we were drinking alcohol not bought from the hostel. This was the only alcohol I had on the entire trip. I will explain why this was the case in the other blog posts!
Lima, you were wonderful. I had heard things like “you should only spend a day in Lima”, “there’s not much to see in Lima”. OH BUT HOW WRONG YOU ALL WERE. I could spend a week here. Easily. I would highly recommend if you’re heading to Lima to give it a little more time than a day. You’ll get loads of snobby travellers telling you there are more interesting places outside the capital but don’t listen to them! They may be slightly correct in that but you shouldn’t miss Lima.