Once settled in our hotel in Mira floras we made plans to meet with Agustin in our lobby the next morning at 9 a.m. The four of us headed down to the cliffs of Mira floras and were rewarded with a beautiful, yet foggy sunset! We ended the evening with some snacks at a sidewalk cafe, with a few cervasas each. Yet another early night, in anticipation of the next day being a busy one!Agustin. Did not disappoint. He was there when we came down stairs and we set off to meet Silvia and Freisa at San Antonio. Not sure what we ate, but was very good, Gary and I shared to each get a taste of traditional Peruvian food.
As our travel partners, Derek and Maureen opted for a relaxing day and did not join us, we took one car back to Agustin & Silvia’s and continued down to the main square. Did I mention that Peruvians are “loco”drivers? What a wonderful experience to have such a personal tour!
Nothing was left out. Lima, was founded by Francisco Pizarro – January 18
1535 and given the name “City of the Kings”. My bucket list was to see the Monastery of San Francisco, and the catacombs. More than a little disappointed photos were not aloud, but able to purchase post cards.
The church and monastery were consecrated in 1673 and completed in 1774.
Lima’s first cemetery were the catacombs which lie under the monastery. There are some secret passageways that are rumoured to connect the cathedral and the Tribunal of the Inquisition. They used the catacombs until 1808, then began using a cemetery out side of Lima. The catacombs were not discovered until 1943, and approximately 70,000 burials are said to lie there. All the hallways have very low ceilings, and narrow walkways along the rectangular and circular holes where bones are piled on top of one another in symmetrical designs. Oh to have a few hours to explore by myself – well maybe SOMEONE with me, cause it was a little creepy! What amazing history!
The Government Palace is the Residence of the President of Peru. The initial structure was built by Francisco Pizarro as the Governor. The location of the plaza previously was home to the San Juan de Dios hospital which was torn down in 1850 and replaced by a railway station, which in turn was torn down between 1911 and 1918. Lots of security, but really friendly!
The Plaza San Martín was inaugurated on July 27, 1921 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Peru. The streets were made from granite while benches and hand rails were made of marble. There were four water fountains, bronze streetlamps, and beautiful gardens. The design for the monument was chosen in an contest in which the design shows San Martin during his trek across the Andes.
. Next on the agenda was lunch! We traveled to José Antonio Restaurant where we were treated to a fabulous Peruvian meal. We left the ordering up to Agustin, and as I suspected, he did order ceviche, which surprisingly was pretty good! My main course was aji de Gallina, a chicken dish that was spectacular! Gus had Lomo Saltado which was just as tasty! Of course, we would never have ordered ourselves as we had no idea what we would have gotten! Tour guide extraordinaire came through for us yet again. 🙂
After lunch we were off to Freisa’s house. What a wonderful home and yard. She gave us a tour, and showed us some art work that she had been working on. She gave me some Peruvian music CD’s that will work wonderful for a slide show that is sure to follow this tour! Then off we went to pick up Agustin and Inez from school, and then back to Silvia & Augustin’s for a short break in the action. Or so I thought! Actually, we had two different “shots” of Pisco, straight up, then he explained how to tell if the Pisco you purchase is good or bad! I believe I will pick some up at duty free! Soon we were off again to Mirafloras to go paragliding I guess it wasn’t WE as I was the only one that was going to “fly. We got to the point where age, and weight was asked, and then was advised the wind was in the wrong direction, so they were not taking any more passengers! Huge disappointment, but of course you dont push the issue with safety. So we stroll along the park and watched as the last sails flew lower into the sunset, and Agustin and Inez playing and running ahead, as they had so much more energy than we had.
THEN in the traditional Peruvian way, Agustin thinks we should eat yet again. Although it was dinner time both Gary and decide they should go and eat, and we will go back to the hotel…..but not before a walk about the beautiful mall that is built into the cliffs of Mirafloras!
They took us back to our hotel, with the promise to pick is up the next morning . Derek and Maureen, had just returned to the hotel as well so we shared our daily stories over a few cervazas. (Remember, don’t drink the water!)
The next morning our Tour guide extraordinaire was there right in time, but brought care packages for the Canadian touristos! Two vehicles, so girls in one, guys in the other and off we go into the country – with a brief stop to have a huge nail pulled from a tire, and the spare put on. We are headed out to San Bartolome where Agustin’s parents reside. As the huge wooden doors opened, we drive through into their beautiful landscaped court yard. So welcoming, and so nice to share with us.
We sit for only a minute, and have a very FRIO cervaza before Agustin, itching to get ” moving” again. He loads the four of us into the car and off we go for yet another adventure. (Silvia stays behind to have a sleep as she was up very late – I believe she knew what was ahead!) We drove a little ways south to a village where the president gave us a warm welcome Then off to buy some fruit and water, and our hike began! I apologize to Gary, Maureen & Derek for teasing Agustin for all the photos he has posted on FB of him sitting and resting during his hikes, because it was a steep, in very hot weather, and he proved he did not have to rest at all! We only did a short hike, compared to where this trail goes, but glad we did not continue as Agustin explains when he did the longer hike previously they set up camp in the pouring rain and dark, and woke in the morning to discover they had camped in a cemetery! On reaching the top, once again, we were rewarded with a spectacular view! Which made one temporarily forget the difficult ascent. The hillsides were covered in cactus, which the locals use for their main income. The cactus are covered in a white powdery substance which the locals scape off, and it is used in cosmetics, such as lipsticks! so very impressive the altitude, the slopes, and heat at which these people work. Once again what goes up, must come down! We descend about a quarter of the way on the same trail, and then changed the route to follow a gully down to the creek bed. Glad for clear skies, and no flash floods!
Once back in the village we thanked the President for sharing their beautiful landscape and head back to “town” where we met up with Silvia and Agustin’s parents at the Country Club El Bosque, of which his parents are members. What a wonderful place’ pools, duck/fish ponds, playgrounds, bocce courts wonderful little restaurants which make the best chicken lunches in all of Peru I’m sure!
After our lunch we dropped Agustin’s parents at home, girls in one car, boys in the other, and back to the city we went! Did I say that Lima drivers are ” loco”?
It was such a wonderful experience for us all, and one I don’t imagine I’ll forget. But NEXT TIME parasailing will be 1st on the list! To bed early, as another early morning departure to the airport, and we are off to Quito Ecuador for a night, and then on to the Galapogas Islands!
A departure gift from Agustin… So Great! 🙂