I am in love with Lima. Having prepared very little for this part of the trip because I knew that I would tour the city with my good friend, Pilar, I really had no expectations as to what the city would be like.
Every time I visit somewhere new, I contemplate whether or not I could ever see myself living there. Usually, the places are great, but they don't really feel like home. Lima was different.
I went exploring on my own this morning. The people were so incredibly nice and I had conversations all along my walk up and down the Pacific Ocean. There were people walking dogs and running everywhere. I went to the outdoor mall called Larcomar and was shocked to see a Chili's, Dunkin Donuts, TGI Fridays, and a Starbucks! After getting my cafe con leche in Starbucks, I went to El Parque de Amor, and then headed back to my hotel where I met up with Pilar. She told me that a friend of her nephew, another American around my age, was visiting and was going to tour the city today. How exciting. She then scolded me for not having any idea how to process the exchange rate and told me not to buy any more stuff because I'd already spent too much money. :)
So, we picked up Nicole, who is spending the next 3 months traveling around Peru, Chile, and Argentina, and headed to the old part of Lima. Wow. While there, we went into the museum that the Catholic Archbishops used to occupy and then to the cathedral where they house the tomb of Francisco Pizarro!
Afterwards, we had a typical Peruvian meal and then Nicole and I headed off to visit the city on our own for awhile. We shopped in a local mercado for handcrafted goods, drank cafe con leche outdoors while catching part of the Peru vs. Argentina soccer game on tv, and made friends with some Argentinians in town on business. Then we walked around the city for a few more hours.
Tonight was great as well. Pilar and a friend picked us up and we went to another interesting part of town called Barranco. It's know as the Bohemian section of town, home to all the artists and creative types. It was filled with really cool restaurants, several beautiful churches, a bridge covered in lights, and a path down to several miradores (lookout points). They then took us to another typical meal, showed us some of the city, and gave me all kinds of tips for warding off altitude sickness tomorrow.
I head to Cuzco first thing in the morning and have a camera full of pics which I will attempt to post as soon as possible.
I couldn't have had a better day in Lima!