Ok here we go on our next adventure to Peru.
After a really long, long flight from Munich to Lima, we arrived tired and aching. No matter how comfortable the seats were, not sleeping properly for so many hours is just tiring. Luckily our pick up from the airport was perfect and so after an uneventful drive we got dropped at our hotel in Miraflores.
El Patio is a cosy and charming old colonial building, sandwiched between much larger buildings that have risen around it since. It has little patios on different levels with cosy seating areas. Flower pots and plants are everywhere. And not a single mosquito in sight. That’s pretty amazing that we don’t have any bugs here in Lima.
After a surprisingly quiet night in the middle of the city, we went downstairs for our first Peruvian breakfast. Scrambled eggs, olive paste and toast with fresh passion fruit juice. Not bad at all I have to say. Today we wanted to explore Miraflores by foot. The others on our trip won’t be arriving until late that day, so we set out walking with a map and travel guide.
Our hotel is centrally located and so after a short walk we were in the J.F. Kennedy Park. And immediately what caught our eye are the many cats that are wandering about or sleeping on the grass. Seems there is a long tradition in this park to feed and adopt stray cats . We even saw a ‚cat hotel’ where cats could sleep inside … Everywhere we looked there were different color and size cats. It was quite an arresting sight.
What was surprising to us were the many street cleaners, gardeners and construction workers, that seem to be bustling about making the city pretty. Weather wise, we have to say there is room for improvement…. grey skies most days for most of the year and a humidity of 90% always….
Wandering through the park and the cats, we decided to pop into a large church next to the park. The church of the Virgin Milagrosa , which reminded us of temples in Myanmar with neon light effects making their way into modern day churches.
Walking from there we stopped at the Choco Museo and tasted ourselves through various % of cocoa, from super dark 99% to white. We tasted cocoa nibs, small fragments of the cocoa shell and various cocoa jam combinations. For the first time we drank chocolate tea made out of the cocoa shells. Really a weird sort of taste. It tastes hot cocoa but in tea form. Not bad actually. One more new taste experience to add to our memory.
From there we went in search of a real Peruvian market, and found one right next to a major city highway. It reminded us very much of the markets in Africa and Asia. Big hunks of freshly slaughtered meat hanging about, next to meticulously stacked and colorful fruit stalls.
An abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit everywhere. This felt more like the real Peru than the whole Miraflores district with it’s modern, but mostly ugly, high rise buildings. After strolling through the parque de reducto no.2, a big war memorial commemorating the Chilean / Peruvian war, we walked back towards our hotel.
We have to say there is no shortage of coffee shops and espresso bars. So we decided to stop at one which was so tiny , it was adorable. Barely 10 m2 , it is only comprised of three tables and a small barrista bar. The owner was French, so we chatted in French, which was so much easier than our less than our minimal Spanish, which collides with our French every time. After a very pleasant tarte d’amande and a café au lait we slowly meandered back to El Patio.
Stopping at a local supermarket for some drinks and snacks, we were surprised to see that this supermarket looked very much like a whole foods market in the USA. Food bought here is only slightly less than in Munich, I have to say. Judging from the theft protection on Red Bull cans , this seems to be the hottest item in town ….
Back at the hotel, it was time for a nap before going on our first gourmet expedition. Having heard so much about the excellence of the Peruvian cuisine, we were ready to start tasting it! Chris picked one that was ranked in the top 40 of all 3000 restaurants in Lima.
Saqra was located in a very old building below street level. Big old wooden beams set a nice ambiance and the colorful interior was very inviting. We had a small dinner of excellent quality and felt stuffed in the end but happy and ready for a long rest.
If all the food is like this here, this will become a food journey in any case and we’ll come home fat as pigs …
What a wonderful job you did on the blog, Christian and Esther and contributing friends! Truly an amazing trip, with clearly amazing travel companions. Hats off to the Hatun Runa organizational core of Leslie, Sally and Ricky. Just an amazing experience with a team who has and will continue to make a difference. Glad to have been a part and having gotten to met you Christian, and gotten to know you better, Esther! I can’t wait for the next adventure! H