After a long, educational day in Trujillo, I turned around the next day to gratefully take advantage of another shore excursion opportunity…two actually! I spent the morning touring the highlights of Peru’s capital city. After traversing the port city of Callao, our tour brought us into the heart of a bustling Lima, yielding local school groups, bench-snuggled lovers, and camera-happy tourists. The city has beautiful buildings and squares, yet is a little rough around the edges. Receiving very little rainfall (perhaps an inch per year on the high end), not a lot of opportunity exists for buildings to shed their outer layers of dust and grime. That’s not to say that Lima is dirty, just a bit aged looking in parts.
Exploring only a short time on foot, we had free time to wander about the presidential square to witness the changing of the guard; as well as to have a peek inside the neighboring cathedral and an old monastery. Many years of history are evident in the ambience of certain structures, namely the monastery. Currently undergoing renovations and professional restorations, the place carries with it such character, with its original Spanish tiles and peeling wall paintings. Unfortunately no photos are allowed in this building, so instead I must carry with me only memories of the unique space.
I practiced a tad bit of Spanish; however instead, I seem to have provided an English-practicing outlet for two grown local men and a group of students, all eager to master my language. I am happy to help but I want to practice too!
For the evening excursion, Rob and I were both granted tickets to enjoy the spectacle of the “Magical Fountains of Lima.” After a post sundown panoramic drive around some of the sights, we reached the fountain park with enough time to find our spots to capture the magic. The fountain show included a concoction of lasers, projections, and water manipulation choreographed to music. It was no Bellagio, yet I say that with absolutely no dislike for its Peruvian counterpart, but only with extreme admiration for the Las Vegas attraction. The park hosts not only the ‘dancing’ fountain, but also 12 or so more, lit up with varying colors and shaped to fit the unique flow of the park.
The following morning, thanks to the much-appreciated overnight, we awoke yet again in Lima. A poorly timed safety drill hindered our plans, leaving Rob and I to depart the ship later than we hoped for, but nonetheless we made it to Miraflores. This newly constructed district contains many American chains such as Starbucks, Quicksilver, and Radioshack; but what makes it special is the view. Looking over the side of the upper level (about 100 feet above sea level), coastal views stretch along the shore. While not the most scenic of my beach encounters, there is something extraordinary about seeing the ocean you’ve grown up near from an overhanging restaurant in a foreign country, drinking the local poison. Pisco Sours are definitely a strange experience. The local liquor, mixed with lime juice and egg whites is topped with meringue and cinnamon. This strange jumble of flavors results in one fine tasting fusion, and boy are they potent! Those plus our cuatro queso pizzas provided for a delicious afternoon!