Lima (2)

Tuesday 24/04

Wake up before 7am, before the alarm clock.

It’s the first time since quite a while that I have to wake up the kids. We indeed want to start the homeschooling early today in order to leave early to visit the city centre (Centro Histórico) this afternoon.

We want to be there at noon, to attend the (daily) changing of the guard in front of the Palacio de Gobierno.

We cut short the second homeschooling session and leave, with Uber, to Plaza de Armas. That’s another advantage of South America: everything is much more relax; there is no problem to take a Uber “cab” for the whole family (5 pax). They don’t mind. It takes 45’ to reach Plaza de Armas; the (main) road is quite congested.

We arrive just in time to attend the beginning of the “ceremony”. It is described in the Lonely Planet as “a ceremonious affair that involves slow-motion goose-stepping and the sublime sounds of a brass band playing ‘El Condor Pasa’ as a military march”. It’s nice but the the “solemnity” of the ceremony is spoiled by the loud music coming from the podium located on the Plaza de Armas.

We then go to eat at Café Cordano, a Lima institution since 1905. This old-world dining hall has served practically every Peruvian president for the last 100 years (the presidential palace is right across the street).

We then do a walking tour to see the main highlights of the city centre, which is home to most of the city’s surviving colonial architecture:

  • Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop’s Palace), with exquisite Moorish-style balconies
  • Lima Cathedral (we don’t go inside)
  • Plaza de Armas, very nice
  • Iglesia de Santo Domingo: the (pink) church is closed and we don’t go inside the convent
  • Iglesia San Augstin, with its elaborate churrigueresque façade (complete in 1720), replete with stone carvings of angels, flowers, fruit and, of course, St Augustine.
  • Iglesia de la Merced, with its imposing granite façade, carved also in the churrigueresque manner (a highly ornate style popular during the late Spanish baroque period)
  • Palacio Torre Tagle, the most immaculate of Lima’s historic casonas (mansions)
  • Basilica de San Pedro, one fo the finest examples of baroque colonial-era architecture in Lima.
  • All these churches are closed and we can’t visit the interiors.

All these churches are closed and we can’t visit the interiors.

We also walk on the Jirón de la Unión, the pedestrian street linking Plaza de Armas to Plaza San Martín.

We then go to the Mercado Central and then to Chinatown. We come back through a district full of street vendors. Nice atmosphere. Among these street vendors, many of them are selling Panini stickers for the Russia 2018 album. In one of the streets (towards Plaza San Martín), there are at least 30 vendors one next to the other.

We arrive at Plaza San Martín around 4:30pm. It was a nice walk, under a nice weather (blue sky).

We rest a bit. We go to Pastelería de San Martin to try their famous turrón de Doña Pepa (but the aspect of the “flaky, sticky and achingly sweet” cake doesn’t convince us to buy a piece). We then order a Uber. We got once more a driver who cancelled at the last moment (after waiting nearly 10’). It’s already the second or third time that it happened to us in Peru.

We come back home at 5:30pm. We chill a bit.

We eat a salad around 7:30pm.

I work on our trip around Cuzco (which will take more than 3 weeks). I received a full proposal including all my wishes but the price is not reasonable. It’s a pity since Matt, the guy from the ‘Amazonas Explorer’ agency has been the most responsive one so far, with a good understanding of what I was looking for. I try to find solutions to reduce the price. Let’s see his answer tomorrow. I need to finalize soon…

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