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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 387-391 – Peru – Lima

We arrived around midday and got a taxi over to the hostel where we were able to check in straight away. We got cleaned up and set off out to explore the nearby area of Miraflores. Somewhat shocked to see that somebody had chosen to steal Lima’s sky (it was bleach white) we put that behind us and found La Lucha for a sandwich and some excellent chips. A bit groggy from our journey we set off back toward the hostel and spied a cinema where the first showing of Skyfall (the new Bond film) was on in 10 minutes in English. We decided that seemed like a great idea and were proved right. Afterwards we wandered back stopping for what had become the now obligatory Starbucks (our resistance to home comforts was long dead) and picking up some odds and ends from a supermarket to whip up a bit of tea back at the hostel before vegging out for an early night.

The crime of the century (Lima’s stolen sky) remained unsolved the next day. We met Francis, the owner, who grabbed a hostel map and his felt tip pens and painted a spectacular outline of the activities available in Lima. By the time he’d finished we’d decided to squeeze another day in and extended our stay before setting off out.

We bumped immediately into Guy & Katy from Aus as they were leaving at the same time as us and decided to get acquainted over our daily Starbucks. We left them to explore the nearby area with a view to meeting later and jumped in a taxi to explore the centre. We were dropped at the Plaza De Armas (the name of every town’s main square) and wandered a few museums before a disappointing lunch where I found that my excitement over one of Lima’s specialities – a variation on a hot pork sandwich – turned to dismay when I discovered they insist on pairing it with sweet potato.

Ridiculous.

Back out on the trail it was over to the catacombs at the San Francisco Church & Convent Museum. No cameras put me in a bad mood and it was mandatory to be part of a tour group which was all a bit ‘meh’ but some interesting numbers were bandied about – something along the lines of the remains of seventy thousand people lay piled within the various levels beneath the church.

Back out and after some more wandering it was back in a taxi to our hostel. We met Guy & Katy as the evening drew in and were joined by Salvador from Mexico whom we’d bumped into around the hostel a few times already. We all set out in search of food which proved a comical affair as we wandered chatting this way and that, turning down our first idea, grabbing some beers for later, dropping them back at the hostel and eventually settling upon some tasty sandwiches and taking them back to enjoy with our beers at the hostel before calling it a night.

We spent the morning ironing out plans for our final few weeks of the journey. With just 6 weeks to go we decided that any attempt to do too much would result in a frantic and forgettable time when what we really needed was to focus on a few things and enjoy them. We chose to continue up the coast and try for a Galapagos tour before enjoying the Caribbean coast of northern Colombia.

After Skyping my Dad to outline our plans we looked into making Caral our first stop up the coast. To do this easily it relied upon finding two other takers and Francis had a couple in mind that he was set to ask for the following day. We left it with him resolving that we’d stay until Monday regardless and book a bus to Trujillo for Monday night. We then set off for a walk to the beach despite the authorities having come no closer to apprehending the thieves and returning the sky to its rightful place.

On reaching the beach we spied a black vulture that turned out to be a pet of a chap called Paul who’d moved out to Peru on retirement from being a cabbie in Brighton at the drop of a hat after visiting and taking a shine to the place. Paul was full of stories and kept us chatting for almost 2 hours before pointing us in the direction of some must-try Cremalatos and saying his goodbyes. We did just that and found that Lucumo fruit tastes bizarrely like cake-mixture that we all used to lick off our mothers wooden spoons when they were in the middle of a baking spat.

We hiked most of the way to Barranco before leaping on a bus for what turned out to be a few hundred yards. Here we tracked down a restaurant that Salvador had recommended for some Cerviche amongst other things all at a good price. Stuffed – a state that had worryingly become the norm of late – we set out to explore the surrounding area which took about 30 minutes. We hopped back on the bus and returned to our hostel.

Later we made our way down to the common room for tasty free Pisco sours and met Jas who’d just arrived in South America with her boyfriend Pete after a mega flight from Aus. We then nipped out to buy our bus ticket to Trujillo. On our way back Fi fell and twisted her ankle but after a sit down she thankfully recovered enough to soldier on. We found a close restaurant and tried another local delicacy by the name of Anticuchos – or Beef Heart in English. It tastes alright but it’s nothing to go crazy about. We hit the hay.

We got up early but found that the trip to Caral was off. This left us with a lazy day which we took to with gusto. Much later Jas & Pete came by as they were heading out to see Circuito Magico del Agua – a light & fountains show. We took the opportunity to join them and stop being lazy and we had a nice evening even if the fountains park is not quite as spectacular as the plaudits would have you believe. We returned to Miraflores and found a spot for some food and a few beers before walking it off back to the hostel.

After breakfast the four of us went out to see an archaeological site just a few blocks from where we were staying. After overcoming the shock that they sky did just about exist over Lima after all it was quite weird to find the remains of an ancient civilisation ‘down the road’ but it was an interesting diversion for an hour or so. We’d collectively built up a ferocious appetite and after a few false starts eventually feasted on a great meal before heading back to the hostel and saying goodbye to Jas & Pete who were on their way to Nasca.

We returned to our kindly still available room and I took a siesta. We pottered about until our bus on which we pretty much went straight to sleep.