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Field Notes Close to home or in a far away jungle, there is always something marvelous to see.

Lima

PERU | Wednesday, 24 March 2010 | Views [341]

Monestario de San Francisco, Lima

Monestario de San Francisco, Lima

When you are hung-over from 24 hours of sleepless travel, dehydrated and stomach queasy from airport food and are surrounded by people speaking rapidly in a language that you don’t understand it can be difficult to recall what it is you love about travel.  But as first days go, this one is pretty near perfect.

Our flight to Miami was packed solid – I guess they all are – but left on time just ahead of the expected snowstorm.  We deliberately booked a connecting flight to Lima that would leave around midnight just in case we were delayed getting out of Denver and so we would arrive in Lima in the morning, not in the dead of night.  Our few travelers’ arguments have happened after midnight in strange cities.  Besides, we didn’t have to pay for a room last night, although I didn’t get much sleep either.

We did book ahead for a hotel, something we seldom do, so we would have a place to hang out and store our luggage until check-in.  Hostal Torreblanca near the ocean in the upscale Miraflores neighborhood will be home for the next few nights.  “Hostal” means guesthouse or B&B as opposed to ‘hostel.’  Since we will be in Lima for only three nights we wanted something nice.  Our room is large with many windows, a fridge and a working fireplace.  The bathroom is big and bright and the shower is great.  Even the promised airport pick-up happened, a first for us.

Around nine we caught the purple bus headed, we hoped, for the Plaza de Armas in central Lima.  My Spanish has improved since our Central American trip but still has a long way to go and Peruvians speak ‘muy rapido’ but I was able to understand their directions to El Monistario de San Francisco, one of the oldest in Lima.  It survived the earthquakes of 1687 and 1746 but didn’t fare as well in the 1970 quake though it has been restored to its Moorish grandeur.  The highlights are the catacombs packed with random bone piles from the burials and the huge library filled with texts dating to the Conquistadors.  Sadly the library isn’t climate controlled and the volumes are in poor condition.

            Back at Torreblanca and after a much-needed siesta we walked a few blocks to the ocean front park.  I was surprised to see so many surfers on such great waves.  There aren’t too many cities of 8 million with world-class surfing within city limits.  We had dinner at El Seniorio de Sulco, a bit out of our price range but we deserved a treat.  Great seafood and a view to die for.

 

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