Day 60 – National Express

Lima doesn’t have a metro or train system, but to try and provide an effective public transport system they have invested heavily in a bus infrastructure.

Dedicated bus lanes (segregated fully from other road transport) connect the areas of the city and there are stations on raised platforms that resemble the stations on the Jubilee line in London with sliding glass doors allowing access when the buses arrive. Compared to the metros of Rio and Buenos Aires it provides a good rapid transport system, it’s just a shame that they didn’t make the system utilise electric vehicles to reduce emissions.

The system effectively gets is from Barrenco to he historic heart of the city where we take another of the walking tours that are listed in the guidebook.

It starts, as they always do, in a plaza.  The most impressive building here is the Hotel Bolivar, and a look inside shows that it was once a very grand place to stay indeed.  It’s still impressive but it shows signs of being a little tired round the edges and in need a little modernisation

The pedestrian street that runs from the square apparently was where the well to do of Lima used to spend their soleres in the past but it is now home to discount shoe shops.  Presumably as with the UK, the “money” has moved to new shopping centres and the shoe shops are the equivalent of tanning salons and charity shops in the UK.

The colonial parts of S.American cities generally have impressive churches, and Lima is no exception. We pop into the ??? which is famous for a collection of large ornate alters carved from mahogany, and a silver cross.  The latter belonged to ??? who gained fame from a claim that he saw a bison of the Virgin, and therefore today people travel to the church to place their hands on the cross and pray for a miracle. I wonder how these traditions get started?

Time constraints (and my map reading skills) mean we don’t get chance to complete the tour and instead we head back to catch another long distant over night bus, this time in Peruvian style.

And what style it is.  You get to select your food options, check your luggage in like an airport, and the bus itself has an in-seat entertainment system complete with internet access!  Its certainly an improvement on what I remember our National Express being like when I last used it.

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