Lima the capital of Peru, is a mixture of Spanish colonialism and a buzz of a city multiplying within the 21st century. Driving through it was a mass of high class living and basic living all crowding together to find space.
For the majority of our group this would be the last destination for the tour - only 7 out of the 15 would carry on into Ecuador. Therefore our first night in Lima involved a goodnight dinner and many, many drinks. At the bar we were at, we discovered it was cheaper to buy a bottle of vodka than individual drinks. You can imagine how the night progressed. Therefore the next morning involved as little as possible!
City tours are perhaps the best way to see as much of a city in as little time as possible, and so we opted to do this in Lima. Unfortunately Lima does not have as many interesting sights as other cities- or so it appeared, but that may have been the hangover! I really didn't do Lima justice and this is apparent by how little I remember of the city tour.
I know we went to Lover´s Park, which is a lovely park beside the sea. In the middle is a statute of 2 lovers in a rather embracing position! Certain cities seem to have a passion for painting and dressing animal statues, Dubai did Camels, somewhere else did horses and Lima has chosen cows. All through the city were cows painted in hilarious ways. At the Lover´s Park it was a very cute one dressed as cupid.
We then did a drive through the city and I was amazed at the beautiful architecture. We went through a very rich area surrounded with olive trees. It was stunning in a very Spanish way. Huge mansions were gently surrounded by lovely trees, giving it a relaxing feeling. We ended up in the main square with the Palace and Cathedral, which was an example of Spanish Catholicism overtaking local religion. Again there were various cows (including a rock chick!) and the impact on Spanish colonization here was very apparent. Stunning buildings with overhanging wooden window seats dominated the square. It gave a clue to what Lima has on offer and which I stupidly never investigated.
We left the main square to enter a Franciscan church with catacombs, the Iglesia de San Francisco. The Church itself had a library that no one would turn their nose up at. Wooden shelves filled with thousands of ancient books. Simply beautiful. The walls held what remains of Franciscan paintings and mosaics from the local area. Underneath the Church was Lima's first cemetery where narrow hallways were lined on each side with bones. In one area, a large round hole in the ground was filled with bones and skulls arranged in a geometrical form, like a piece of art. The archaeologists who explored this did not keep the bodies together and so in one tomb was full of femurs, in another skulls. It certainly seemed unfair on the people who chose to be buried there to have their bodies taken apart in such a manner. It was therefore a relief to head back out into the sunshine and finish seeing Lima.
Our last part of the tour started in Lima and would take us up to Quito. We met our new tour guide and found there was no one else joining the tour so it was just we 7 who would go to Ecuador. It was not long before we were leaving the capital of Peru behind and looking back I wish I had seen more of her. Oh well, next time...
But ... next stop the beach.