Here we are in Lima, Peru! We flew in yesterday and just had time to exchange money (3.18 soles per dollar), get SIM cards for our iPhones (127 soles each) for a month, and eat dinner. A somewhat inebriated young man could see we were looking for something and offered us help. Mama Olla’s was tasty and fairly priced. A glass of wine was only $3! The waiter, Angel, is an older gentleman seemingly past retirement age, who seems to love his job!
After a huge breakfast buffet we rounded up a taxi to take us to the older section of the city where there are multiple buildings with closed balconies still preserved. They were used by women who could see out but not be seen by passers by. Though the skies were gray on a misty morning we were able to enjoy Plaza de Armas with its huge cathedral, presidential palace along with Andean music, and numerous ochre buildings.
Then it was on to the Franciscan monastery where we were forced to take a tour to get to the catacombs and were not allowed to take photos or videos. We were first shown the library with 25,000 thousand year old books! The catacombs contained bones from 25,000 people which were also about a thousand years old! Upon exiting the mist had gone but the air was still chilly under the overcast sky. Apparently the sun is rarely seen this time of year. Funny because flying down here it was sunny until we approached Lima! Outside the church was a procession to honor the virgen of winter. After a bit people danced to the live band.
After a spot of tea and a latte we returned to the former train station which now houses Peruvian literature. They have a special exhibit around children’s literature. There was even small room with some books for the youth.
One building with balconies is being renovated. The very proud yet humble manager of thirty years allowed us inside to show us the books, some from 1550! Only researchers and doctors with special permission are allowed to use any of the books. He also explained to us that staircases to the left of the entrance were for the common people, those buildings with staircases to the right were of nobility, and a central location meant conquistadors lived there.
In Lima there are money exchangers who work in the street and give the same rate as those who work on a building. Neither charge a fee to use their services. I found their rates to match the rate on my currency converter app which is current to the day. The street guy was even willing to change two hundred dollar bills for twenties, although he didn’t like the hardly discernible dirt mark on the back of one!
We meandered back to Plaza San Martin where we were told we would find a safer area to get a taxi. One part of the area has numerous cats! There was food set out for them and some were even wearing sweaters!
A taxi did take us back to our hotel where we relaxed before going to the beach for dinner. The Pacific Ocean was at high tide as a paraglider swooped by. We were given a window table at Tanta’s and were pleasantly surprised to find how delicious dinner was! Bill had a Lomo Salteado which was Steak chunks with onion, tomato, and fried potato chunks in a light sauce and a side of rice with white corn. I enjoyed a creamy corn risotto with grilled chicken bits, onions, tomato, and mushrooms. My glass of wine was twice the price of last night’s, and Bill’s two craft beers were more than his dinner! It was expensive at fifty dollars!