I can only blog so much when I’m on the go all day, so I’m going to provide a “Lima in a nutshell” summary of the last two days here. Tomorrow morning we fly to Cusco, and I have to wake up very early, so I’m going to make this short and sweet. Anyway, seeing Lima wasn’t really the point of this trip. It’s just the place we had to start out before heading to the main attraction, Machu Picchu.
We started the day yesterday with a group meeting where we did introductions, and Henry went through the philosophy of Overseas Adventure Travel and the ground rules for our trip. Then we headed to lunch, and from there we had our first organized sightseeing stop:
Museo de Sitio Huaca Pucllana
We visited this archaeological site and had an hour-long tour. The site was built by the Lima civilization around 500–700 C.E. Around 1100 it was taken over by the Huari people, who turned it into a burial ground. Then in the 15th century the Ichma people used it primarily for religious rituals and offerings. Finally, it was abandoned and was covered by dirt and debris. Excavation began in the 1980s and is expected to continue for several more years.
On the way back from to the hotel, I broke off from the group to visit the local craft market, which is actually a huge array of shops selling art work, handcrafts, t‑shirts, woolen items, jewelry, and almost anything else you can imagine. I enjoy that kind of thing, but there’s a limit to how much aggressive salesmanship I can take at a time. I did buy a miniature vase to add to my collection.
Today we had adventures in a van (and some walking) with a local guide named Yvon. (I have actually no idea how she spells her name; could be “Yvonne” or “Iván” or some other variation.) Our first stop was in the Barranco district, an artsy upscale neighborhood with some beautiful old houses. Originally, Barranco served as a summer getaway community for wealthy Limeños, but it is now a part of the city.
Our next stop, Chorrillos, is a working-class area on the water, and we visited a fish market. We had the chance to chat with a woman who worked cleaning fish and with a fisherman who was repairing his nets.
I could devote pages to this extraordinary museum, truly the highlight of the day. The collection consists of artifacts from 5,000 years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history, including ceramics, textiles, gold, silver, and semi-precious stones. All are beautifully preserved or restored and displayed magnificently with detailed descriptions. Yvon provided a wonderful narration, but I could easily have spent hours on my own.
The historic center
After a group lunch, we walked around a small area of the historic center of Lima and saw a number of colonial-era buildings. To get there, we had to drive through the most chaotic traffic I’ve ever experienced. A firetruck going against the flow of traffic provided even more chaos.
Of course, there was more to see than I’m sharing, but I at least wanted to provide the highlights. Check out my photo album for more pictures.
I have a separate album from Museo Larco; as of this moment, while I try to finish this blog post before I go to bed, I have yet to organize it or add any descriptions. I photographed some of the descriptions from the exhibits themselves, but that will probably be difficult to navigate, so proceed at your own risk. Eventually I will organize my photos and add my own descriptions of each one.