Coming at you safe and sound from the comforts of a cosy AirBnB in… Lima! I’m still pinching myself to be honest; what a relief to be out of Bolivia. We are continuing to monitor the news closely and I think we were lucky to get out when we did as it seems to be getting worse. Now, instead of just ‘rock-throwers’, I’ve read reports of ‘dynamite throwers’. No thanks.
Lima is great. It’s coastal, has interesting architecture and an even better food scene. We are staying in the ideal location of south Miraflores, which is a relatively upmarket district and only a stone’s throw away from hipster neighbourhood Barranco. To be honest, we are still feeling pretty fragile, so our touristing hasn’t extended much beyond exploring these areas – but we have covered them pretty thoroughly.
Huaca Pucllana was our primary cultural stop. It’s an ancient settlement with a giant pyramid that has been extremely well preserved over the years. Weirdly, it’s located smack bang in the middle of Miraflores. Parts of the settlement are still maintained: for example, the growing of native produce, the keeping of animals (namely llamas and Guinea pigs) and the preservation of local flora. The only way to view the site is by tour (with options of English or Spanish) and this is included in the ticket price.
Our kitchen is beautiful and we have had the good fortune of being located near to one of the best supermarkets we’ve come across in South America so far. We loaded up on fresh produce, wine and some of our other favourite foods so that we could renourish ourselves (both nutritionally and emotionally!) after the events of the past week. Eating a dry piece of bread for breakfast five days in a row does not make me a happy traveller.
Being in the gastronomic capital of Latin America, there was no way we also wouldn’t be eating our way round town. We scoped out only the best (within our budget of course) and each meal was a raging success. Here’s a rundown:
Nuevo Mundo: first things first. We were craving the comforts of home and what better way to start than at a microbrewery. Located across the road from Parque Kennedy, we also managed to squeeze in some sightseeing from the get go. The beers weren’t quite as tasty as what we might expect at home, but they had IPAs so it was a good start. They also had yummy bar food and a funky interior. For the first time in way too long, we felt like we were on holiday.
Caleta Dolsa: my favourite meal of the day is brunch and here I couldn’t have been happier. The smoothie bowls were something else, the pancakes were insanely huge, beautiful and dirt cheap and the tostadas were bang on. That’s basically the extent of the menu (plus some other sweets) and it was all done so well. The vibe of the place was very zen: minimal, tasteful and chilled.
Canta Ranita: this was recommended to us for having some of the best ceviche in the world and we did not disagree. Located in the back of a local market, it was so busy we had to wait half an hour for a table. Cheap and cheerful is virtually the only way to describe this place. The menu was in Spanish and we couldn’t decipher much – thankfully we knew we were there for the ceviche. We also got a plate of fried mixed seafood. The ceviche was a lifelong highlight. So fresh and so simple.
It was here that I tried my first Inca Cola. Tasting like pineapple Fanta it has a definite time and place but it was perfect for the moment and probably wouldn’t be my last.
The Raw Cafe: still very much on the health buzz, we visited the Raw Cafe on our way to Huaca Pucllana as it was conveniently only a few blocks away. There was no shortage of delicious sounding options. Andy ordered the dahl with spinach croquettes and I got a classic Buddha bowl. Both meals were very tasty, healthy and filling. We also ordered an orange juice: so good it transported us right back to Spain.
Well, somehow this post about Lima ended up being a lot about food! We also spent time wandering through some interesting and intricate markets, sitting in beautiful parks and squares and reassessing our travel plans. We’ve decided that we are going to cut our trip short by approximately a month (skipping Colombia – ironically choosing to avoid the recent breaking out of anti-government protests) and we have now booked a flight to Vancouver for the 16th December – just in time for Christmas!