Lima – Last Day in Peru

My stomach! I don’t know what I ate that decided to completely destroy my insides, but I totally regretted whatever it was. I couldn’t eat or drink anything all morning, which was really sad considering how delicious the food in Peru is.

After sleeping in as much as I could, I met up with the rest of my family to hop on our airport transport. It took about 15 minutes to get to the Cusco airport but almost 45 minutes to get checked in. There were a handful of people being carted around in wheelchairs from rolling / breaking their ankles hiking the Inca Trail! Thankfully, none of us were in that bad of shape, though I slept more on the plane to Lima trying to recover…

The plane ride was short and it didn’t take long for us to drop our bags off at the Hotel Britania and set off in search of lunch. We walked to the Cat Park, the unofficial central park of the Miraflores district in Lima called Parque Kennedy that is home to hundreds of stray cats, and found a very packed, walk-up sandwich place called La Lucha. Trying to stick to neutral flavors for my stomach, I got a deliciously simple chicken sandwich. Ryan ordered a cookies-and-cream milkshake with his meal. I had a sip and, without a single shred of doubt, proclaimed that it was the most delicious milkshake ever made (and it still unrivaled to this day). Usually, I do not indulge in milkshakes, but I made Ryan split his with me. He was not super happy that I took 50% of heaven, so we got another shake to split and took photo documentation of the glorious drink (below). If you go to Lima, you MUST got to La Lucha and try a milk shake!

Splitting a La Lucha milkshake in Lima, Peru

After we filled up, we headed back to the hotel which hailed a cab for us. Cabbies in Peru can be a bit sketchy, so it is recommended to have your hotel call a trusted service for the area to take and pick you up from where ever you go.

We decided to go to the Larco Museum, home to thousands of piece of ancient ceramics and pieces of South American history. The Larco Museum’s grounds are immaculately kept with amazing flowers covering the building and the adjacent gardens.

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The galleries inside were filled with amazing jewelry, warrior outfits, pots and everyday goods, and most importantly, Pachamama and Pachapapa. Pachamama is the embodiment of Mother Earth, protecting over fertility, the mountains and the harvests, and who causes earthquakes. We saw the female and male figures of Pachamama all over Peru. Not only are they adorable, but we also heard a song about them during our first night in Cusco which had been stuck in our heads and sung by at least one of us every day since…

Pachapapa in Lima, Peru

We explored the museum for a few hours and, before we knew it, it was time to meet our cab driver in front of the museum to go back to the hotel. We quickly freshened up for our fancy, last-night-in-Peru / sister’s birthday celebration dinner. We went to a very high-end restaurant and had a 7-course meal filled with drinks, laughter, and reminiscing. While I wish I could tell you what the restaurant was called and describe each immaculate dish and cocktail in detail, I spent about 75% of that dinner in the restroom and only took a small bite of my dishes (minus the seafood or acidic looking ones). Being the foodie I am, this was one of the most tragic meal experiences of my life.. seeing all of this scrumptiousness before me and having my body rebel to the point where I couldn’t stomach anything.

Between the food FOMO, the “we’re leaving tomorrow” depression, and the Montezuma’s revenge (that ended up lasting two weeks after we returned to the USA), sleep that night came quickly and, before we knew it, we were on a plane and the back in the States. Even with a stomach bug, all of the adventure, rich culture, and family bonding made for an absolutely amazing trip to Peru!

Pachamama & I at the Lima airport

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Lima, Peru – Day 1

Lima, Peru – Day 1

I am not typically an early morning person, but on trips, the excitement and need to experience as much as possible gets me up bright and early. By 8 am, we were up and getting our needed nourishment for the day at the breakfast buffet. The hotel had these bright pink sausages that looked very strange but tasted delicious – I am never shy about trying something new and potentially tasty!

As our city tour did not start until after lunch, we decided to walk down to cliffs overlooking the beach. It was quite the journey getting down the stairs from the cliffs to the rocky coastline, but totally worth it. My mom wanted to “test the water temp” and needed my dad’s help traversing the rocks to get to the ocean. Unfortunately for my philanthropic father, my mom accidentally pulled him in the wrong direction and straight into an on coming wave that completely soaked through his sneakers! His sloshing sneakers marked the way back up the stairway to the coast trail lined with sculptures, amazing views, and gorgeous foliage.

The 70 degree, sunny day seemed to prompt everyone with the same “lets walk the coast” idea as us. It was packed! There were slack liners, dog walkers, hang gliders, work-outers, and all other types on the trails with us. We people-watched our way to this great outdoor shopping plaza overlooking the coast that housed our lunch destination – a resultant called Mangos. Not only is the patio view from Mangos out of this world, but the ceviche … the ceviche!! I felt like we were in food heaven “cheers”-ing with our pisco sours. If you visit Miraflores, you have to go to Mangos!

After one of the best meals I have ever had, we met our tour guide, and hopped on the van for our downtown adventure. The buildings in downtown Lima are heavily influenced by the French and Italian and are extremely ornate. Our van dropped us off at the Church of St. Francis for a walk-through. The church is packed with gorgeous, old murals that have both Spanish and Peruvian influence. It was fascinating to learn how the styles of the various cultures merged into the art hanging before us. We were also escorted below the church to the maze of a crypts that held over 25K bodies! Slightly creepy but still amazing to see.

A few blocks down from the church is the main square and Government Palace of Peru. We walked around the square, taking in all of the sights, until the sun set and our van picked us up.

We freshened up at the hotel and headed back to the Cat Park to look at the local art and find a spot for dinner. We ended up at a place called Alfresco based on the hotel’s recommendation – another winner! I had a fabulous sea bass in a shrimp and coconut sauce, while Ryan and my sister had delicious curries. We did have some food envy though when the table next to ours got their branzino… until our apple crumble ice-cream desert arrived! So yummy!

Thankfully, we were able to walk off our big dinner on the way home. In fact, based on my FitBit, we walked over 8.83 miles touring Lima. What a fabulous first full day to the trip!

Lima, Peru

Planning the trip to Peru was easy, but getting there was pretty complicated…

Stage #1: The Move

Our apartment lease came up at the same time as our trip and we wanted to move somewhere with a patio. Conveniently, we found an apartment right down the hall from our current one  – the only catch being that move-in day was May 15th, the same day we were embarking on our Peruvian journey! My roommate / boyfriend Ryan had to work that day so, with the help of our puppy, my taller but little sister, and some movers, we lugged everything to our new spot. My sister and I thought we were smart so we unhooked my 6ft long closet rung full clothes and tried carrying them to the new place in one go. Do not try this at home! Our ambitious plans deteriorated as MY clothes started falling off the rung and were then littered down the block-long hallway. Thankfully there was no lingerie involved for fellow apartment neighbors to see scattered along the halls!

We grabbed all of my rogue clothes and the movers were able to get our boxes and furniture over within a minute of the two-hour window I booked them for. My boyfriend came home to switch spots with my sister so she could go pack for the trip. We cleaned the old place, turned in our keys, and grabbed our luggage to head to Houston for the night!

Stage #2: Houston

I consider myself super lucky as my boyfriend conveniently came with the best perk possible – an adorable dog named Dakota. Ryan’s family was nice enough to volunteer to babysit Dakota for our trip, however, they live in Houston. My family took off for Lima, Peru the night we moved, but Ryan and I decided to drive to Houston and fly out from there the next morning. After a 4.5 hour drive, we arrived in Houston around 9:30 PM, and my adrenaline was still pumping despite the craziness of the day! Dakota’s was too and she took it out on about 10 stuffed dog toys which she found and quickly unstuffed all over the living room floor. Squeakers are her arch nemesis and any toys with them must be destroyed, always resulting in some fun clean ups.

Stage #3 – The Airports

5:30 AM wake up to head to the airport. We got word that my family had made it to Lima, so the race was on to meet them! When we arrived at the gate to learn that a couple with triplets was sitting behind us on our first leg to Miami. Never a good sign when you want to sleep your way through a flight. Apparently the triplets had the same snoozy idea though because we didn’t hear a peep from them the whole time and I got a few hours of sleep in before our Miami landing. Phew!

A quick layover and lunch later, we hopped on the next plane to Lima. Our flight attendant was a Spanish looking Robert De Nero who offered me a mini-bottle (about two glasses) of wine – for free! Of course I took him up on it and we fake toasted to the trip. About 30 minutes later, he passed us again, and this time we both took him up on more wine, a mini-bottle each! Robert was quickly becoming one of my new favorite people. He disappeared for about an hour and came back to us with a long face, exclaiming they had run out of wine – what tragedy! There was a glint of trickery in his eyes though. He smiled and reached into his jacket to pull out one final bottle that he saved just for us! By this point we were in great spirits and cheers’ed him as he walked off. Flight attendants can really make or break a flight! We finished up the inflight movie and I had a wonderful Chardonnay induced nap. I woke up to laughter as Ryan was taking pictures of me sleeping as we were landing.

Ocean view of Peru from the plane
The view of Peru from the plane.

Stage 4: Mia Flores District in Lima, Peru

We landed in Lima at 5:32 PM, hustled through customs, and found our driver to go to the airport. While we are driving through the city, the driver made me put my purse under my legs in the back seat as people could potentially try to steal it while stopped at a light! You must always be aware in new places. We drove all the way to Miraflores district in Lima, Peru to meet my family at the Hotel Britania.

We dropped off our luggage and took off on foot this time to find a resultant called Cafe Cafe for dinner. I got a delicious passion fruit and pineapple salmon dish and Ryan had a very green, but good, shrimp gnocchi. We also all got Pisco Sours – a traditional Peruvian drink made from grapes from Pisco, Peru. A must try while you are in Peru!

In the middle of Miraflores is a big park nicknamed the Cat Park where all of the abandoned cats in the city congregate. It is a beautiful park with local artists lining the outskirts and a chachki market in the middle. We ended the night by walking around the park and buying some trinkets at the market, including the below leather journal for all of our trip documentation:

My Peru leather journal