Our accommodation in Lima is located in the Barranco area of the city. Not the largest area but one is blessed with some beautiful buildings and a small park (a popular spot for first dates in Lima apparently). Some information about the area showing how it has changed over the years refers to the area as the “city of mills” and it makes me of the town I grew up in.
The phrase is where the similarity ends. Bright sunshine and a beach are things that you certainly wouldn’t find in Oldham. We stroll the short distance to the sea front and walk along the promenade in the morning sunshine.
The sand is dark, presumably volcanic, and full of families relaxing and enjoying their last few days of the festive break. Though it looks fun I don’t think I would ever get used to a “warm” Christmas.
A dip of the toes in the the Pacific tells you that whilst it is sunny, it’s still early in the summer and it’s not that warm yet….brrrrr!
A taxi ride takes us to far side of another area of Lima, Mirraflores. Unlike Barrenco, it’s not a historic area, but one that is full of shops and places to eat. We eat at a place that, like other times on the trip, you wouldn’t without a very solid guidebook recommendation.
El Enano is located on the corner of a block and open to the pavement with stools bolted to the ground providing seating round a well worn stainless steal counter. From first impressions it doesn’t stand out from countless other basic food establishments you wouldn’t give a second thought to. The only slight clue is the presence of a couple of other “gringos” with copies of the Lonely Planet under their arms sat their.
Basic the food may be, sandwiches and fruit juices, it is all prepared with the freshest of fresh ingredients right in front of you. Yet again the recommendations never fail to deliver and it’s delicious.
Sated we head to explore the area and discover that Lima suffers a similar problem to that we experienced in Chile and Patagonia, and that is stray animals. The “Chile Dogs” are replaced with cats. Lots and lots of cats.
In a park named the 7th July we see perhaps 20 of them stretched out in the sun. Under benches, in flowers beds, on the grass, and just across on the steps and statues of the nearby church. We see signs that inform that it is forbidden to abandon animals here, but obviously without any success. Very much like the street dogs, the locals clearly take them to their hearts as there is evidence of feeding and a poster that publicises a group that cares for them (complete with the now obligatory FaceBook and Twitter links).
As we move on we are approached by a group of young Peruvian college students. They are studying tourism and have some English homework and ask for help and we agree. The “help” is to be interviewed by them all in turn whilst it is filmed.
The questions demonstrate a good vocabulary and we enjoy answering them…up until the last question.
“Do you have a message for young people?” Nothing makes you feel older than a group of teenagers asking if you have a message for “young people”. Deciding that “respect your elders” would just make matters worse we mumble something about travel and pose for a photograph (hoping my grey hair and wrinkles don’t ruin it).
There is a viewpoint at the end of the road which overlooks the sea. It’s located on the top floor of an open air shopping centre full shops and cafés and we watch the sunset whilst having a cool drink. I don’t think either of us has been to a more beautifully located shopping centre. Ever.