We arrived in Lima early morning after 13ish hours on a rather pleasant flight by Avianca completely not knowing what to expect. This was going to be our first day in South America.
We dropped our bags at our hotel and rather excited took a metropolitan from Miraflores to the city centre. At first I thought it will be a metro but instead it was a long bus that had its own bus lane and very long stations in the middle of the road. I felt it was convenient, cheap and most importantly a safe mode of transport.
Plaza de las Armas
On the way to the Plaza de las Armas, we went past a governmental building in front of which people were protesting against something. We later heard that it is very common in Peru to express your discontent in this way.
As newbies at metropolitano, we missed our stop but luckily my Spanish was good enough to ask for directions and friendly locals explained that we needed to go back as we nearly arrived at the other side of the city.. typical tourists.. ;).
After finally making it to the right bus stop, I noticed an interesting smell in the air that accompanied us throughout Peru. It smelled like cooking on fire using wood. I liked it. As we kept walking, we heard Reggeton that was blasting out of the shops and even banks.
On every corner of the street there was an old lady selling snacks, making it impossible to get hungry in this city. Men in yellow vests with thick stashes of cash were offering money exchange services. Other men were selling all sorts of things.
There was a man that opened a book in front of me and from the inside it, a red butterfly flew out. Magical by my standards.
People were waiting in large queues in front of banks. It looked like internet banking has not yet made it to Peru or maybe queuing was another form of social activity like protesting.
Then we got to the main square. It was stunning like nothing I’ve seen before. Very unique colonial architecture with wooden facades and arches.
It was heavily armed with police officers making sure people behave with appropriate decency. For example, we saw them reprimanding some children for stepping on the grass.
Cathedral Of Lima & Convento de San Francisco
We did tour a few churches that were stunning including the Cathedral of Lima and Convento de San Francisco where we got talked into buying a painting from a street artist.
Then the jet lag got the better of us and we decided to retreat to Miraflores.
We first got to the edge of black cliffs to admire the vista. And there was a lot to appreciate! The unruly ocean hitting the shore with fringy waves and the surfer dudes taking their chances in the turbulent conditions. We sat on the concrete fence to take it all in.
A few locals went past taking their evening jog. Others were having coffee in the upmarket shopping mall Larcomare. Local children had their faces painted at a fancy park.
As the dusk descended on Miraflores we headed back to the hotel. We walked passing by lovely houses guarded by high walls with electric wires and security guards.
Tomorrow we were getting picked up by Peru Hop to continue our journey. What a first day that was!