Lima rocks!! We flew in last Thursday and are staying in the Miraflores area, which we’re told is one of the nicest and safest parts of the city. And it’s easy to see why. Our apartment overlooks a lovely and very well-maintained park that follows the coastline for miles, providing a beautiful backdrop of ocean and greenery. The friendly tourist police are abundant, keeping order and offering assistance. Reassuringly, they are not dressed in militant garb like other countries we’ve been to, although there is some of this in other parts of the city.
Miraflores is a high class area, with many well-dressed people in tailored suits and polished shoes, but also genuinely smiling faces. Even the skateboarding teenagers look clean cut and friendly. It’s a social scene, with lots of families as well. The sidewalks are very wide and have plenty of room for bikers, joggers, and walkers to share. However, other parts of Lima are quite impoverished, with unemployment around 50%, so there is quite a gap here.
From our apartment window, you can also see para-gliders flying over the park, an opportunity we took advantage of ourselves. And it was a blast! The kids especially loved the feeling of flying. Personally, I got a little motion sick, but it was still amazing to soar gently over the tops of buildings and the green cliffs cascading down into the ocean.
Get out of Miraflores to the other parts of Lima, and it’s still a clean, thriving metropolis with ancient ruins and museums, modern skyscrapers, Spanish colonial churches, beautiful parks, designer shopping centers, and fantastic food! Lima is the food capital of South America and home to a number of internationally acclaimed restaurants.
The scariest part is the driving. While the roads are well maintained and generally free of potholes, the drivers are asking for a death wish! You’ll regularly see two cars to a lane, each trying to push their way in front of the other, slamming their breaks just inches from impact. Drivers generally ignore the traffic police who are constantly blowing whistles. I am very glad we’re not driving here, but I have had to put a lot of faith in our taxi drivers.
Being winter, Lima is a little chilly this time of year. Temperatures range from 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit, so the first thing we did here was buy us each a coat. Once we took care of that we felt more comfortable enjoying other activities. The kids loved playing on the many playgrounds, which is where I saw for the first time a woman standing with an apron filled with children’s books. Kids were sprawled out on the grass and the benches reading books from this portable library. I don’t know how she gets paid or if she’s a volunteer, but I thought that was an excellent idea.
One evening we went to Parque de la Reserva, the largest fountain park in the world, containing many colorful fountains that dance to music. It’s a spectacular sight to see water move in such interesting ways. They also have a show where they project images onto a wall of water. Very cool! You can play in some of the fountains, too, and try to avoid getting wet in the process. Upon entering the park we were befriended by a very friendly and loud young adult who we later realized was quite drunk, and was drawing a lot of attention to himself. Tourist police to the rescue – he was quickly told to stop bugging us. I love the order here.
Not too far from Miraflores is an archeological site called Huaca Pucllana. We saw the ruins of an ancient pyramid built almost 2,000 years ago, which was made entirely from mud bricks. They worshipped the sea, sacrificed maidens, and ate their pet guinea pigs. They also had big pots with shark images painted on them, which they would break into pieces with a stone and put back together like a puzzle, to commemorate the start of a new building project. Makes you wonder how these traditions start, doesn’t it? I also wonder what people will think of our traditions in another 2000 years.
We’ve eaten at many fine restaurants here, all at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay for similar caliber in the states. Everything from Peruvian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Brazilian and more can be found here at top quality, especially the seafood. One day after paragliding and a crazy taxi ride, I threw up my Chinese duck dinner 5 times and Emily and Marie were sick the next morning as well.
But since none of us really ate the same thing, we think this is due more to the yellow fever vaccination we received last week than to the food. It may have been helped along by our motion sickness, too. Fortunately, Jennifer was not affected at all, and was able take care of us all during our day of recovery in bed. Thank you, Jen!
On our last day in Lima, we went to Parque de las Leyendas (Park of the Legends), which is a huge zoo with animals from all over the world, including many interesting animals only found in Peru. It also has a botanical garden, and several archaeological sites from ancient Peruvian civilizations, complete with museums to display the artifacts, and also an interesting museum about mining and minerals, so it’s a pretty educational place as well. And for only about USD $2-3 per admission, it’s an incredible deal! After a long day of walking, the kids of course had rejuvenated energy for the playground, while Jen and I rested.
There were too many other little details and fun experiences to write about in this short post, so be sure to check out the video and pictures below to get a more complete picture of our time in Lima. Next stop: Cusco! We’ll be volunteering there for a week at a school. I’m really looking forward to it!
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I loved, loved, loved this post. Have you considered submitting articles to travel magazines? You write well and are having such interesting experiences!
The video was the best so far – and I literally had tears running down my cheeks watching Marie fall asleep at the table. Poor little thing…. lol….
I’m so glad you liked the post, and thought it was well-written! Thanks! I haven’t thought about writing for a travel magazine – wouldn’t want the pressure of “having” to write, but if I could submit an article now and then, it might be fun.
I laugh every time I watch that scene lwith Marie, too! The eye rolls are hilarious!
While visiting Acapulco as a teenager, I had the opportunity to go parasailing – basically in a parachute pulled behind a boat. It was great fun, but this paragliding looks much cooler. Lot’s more of a “flying” feeling I would think.
I think that most, or many, articles in travel magazines are submitted by freelance writers.
Those fountains were really cool….
Yeah, parasailing looks fun, too, but it does look like it offers a little less control of where you go. The fountains were amazing! You would love them. Any idea how much travel magazines pay or which ones might be interested in my writing? (just for fun)
I loved the beautiful parks and nice playgrounds in Lima. Food is great. The food here has been excellent, and I especially loved trying Chirimoya fruit for the first time.
Paragliding was a great experience, especially seeing Emily and Marie enjoying it so much. I am glad they were able to go up.
I loved learning about the ancient cultures through visiting the archeological sites and museums. So fascinating!!!
Glad I could take care of all you sickies while you were stuck in bed. :)
I’m really glad you weren’t affected by the vaccine or the motion sickness either. We have really needed you and you do such a great job taking care of us. :) I love you, and I’m so glad we get to spend this time together.
Amazing video and pictures I love this post. Reading it and seeing all the eye candy was almost like I was there. I so envy your freedom to experience all of this…Wonderful!
Thanks Paul. We’re really glad we can do this, too, and feel very blessed. I’m always amazed when I meet backpackers or others who travel around the world with just a few hundred dollars, earning a bit here and there as they need it and staying in cheap or free places. I’m not sure if I would have the guts to do that or not.
What a great video! I loved watching it and seeing some of the fun and interesting things you have been able to do the past week or so. I look forward to more of them. And that Marie is just the sweetest thing…
Glad you liked the video. It’s my longest yet, and I was hoping it wasn’t too long. Marie is really sweet. She’s been feeling a little sick this week, though, so hasn’t been quite as sweet. But she’s getting better.
Simply awesome! I just finished reading your post and watching the video. I’m peruvian (though I’m currently living in Spain) and I feel so glad you enjoyed Lima. You just made me realize how much I miss being there! (oh and the food too!!)
Well you might be asking yourself how I ended up in your blog.. I became aware of this trip of yours because I saw it in El comercio site (El comercio is the biggest newspaper in Peru!): http://bit.ly/c2Gflx
Hi Carlos! Thanks for the comment and for letting me know about the newspaper article. I had no idea we would be in the paper, or who wrote the article, or even that we were being interviewed! I wonder if it was one of our taxi drivers spilled the info. Anyway, it was interest to read, so thanks for sharing. I’m glad it helped you remember your home country.
Brandon, I rather suspect that the newspaper has staff that are constantly on the lookout for articles on their country. After all, Peruvians use Google too.
The article read like they got everything off of this very blog post, although you would think they would want to contact you for additional comments for publication – that’s the part I find intriguing. That they were willing to go with a feature story based solely on a blog entry.
It looks like you all are having a great time but aren’t you two worried about the lack of socialization that your two girls are being subjected to as a result of this idea of homeschooling?” (Tongue firmly planted in cheek).
Yeah, that makes sense. It very well could have come completely from the blog.
As for socialization, yeah it actually is a concern. They would love to have some English-speaking friends right now. But I think they’re doing great and their Spanish is definitely improving. We’ll be somewhere English-speaking soon enough.
Awesome. You’ve made the paper, Brandon :)
Yeah, who would have thought? I certainly had no idea. I guess you don’t need to submit to travel magazines to get published after all. :)
Ok for some reason I didn’t comment on this post.
Well Kennedy and I watched this video together and we had to watch the “Marie falling asleep” part about 5 times. It was hilarious. Kennedy can’t wait to see the girls (and I feel the same). These videos are so much fun.
Cool fountain show! Much better and more extravagant than any I’ve ever seen before! Amazing.
[…] Went paragliding for the first time […]
Great article, great photos of my native city of Lima. Thanks!