Hanging Out in Lima

During the month of December last year we spent some time in Lima, the interesting capital city of Peru since 1535 (also known as the ‘city of kings’) with its population of around 10 million people, almost a third of the population of the whole country! Lima is a vibrant modern city and it happened to be then in a frenzy of Christmas preparations with highly congested traffic as a result. Yet we enjoyed our time there very much and found plenty of things to do.
We met up several times with our friend, the musician Pipi Vela from Iquitos, at the Club Loreto (naturally over a few beers and accompanied by his wonderful serenades). What a great artist and fun person to be with!


We also spent time lunching with friends, visiting the Nativity Exhibition at the  Casa O’Higgins in the historical center where my my brother-in-law’s ceramic work (Germán Romero) had been featured (see the photo below), followed by a session of torture in dilapidated malfunctioning massage chairs, hanging out in coffeeshops at Parque Kennedy in Miraflores (the park is still frequented by lots of homeless cats, too), cooking dinners at our delightful AirBnb on the 21st floor in buzzing San Isidro and struggling with ghosts – yes ghosts! Our apartment was haunted although it was brand new, perhaps the female presence that visited us had somehow occupied the land before the tower block had been built.

I returned to Lima twice since with our latest guests. Some of the apartments we had rented were delightful, one next to the main square – so all the main attractions of the center were within walking distance (including the chocolate museum where we tried out an endless number of delicious concoctions). The other apartment was on the top floor of a building that must have been built in the fifties or sixties. It was a rather grand place, overlooking the golf club and the sea on one side and the ancient Huaca Huayllamarca on the other. Decorated with plenty of works of art, this was a cozy place to hang out in (hmm, except for the ghost of the former owner who assertively marked one room as a taboo area!).


Another fun thing we did in Lima was visit the splendid Huaca Pucllana in San Isidro. It may come as a surprise to some that ancient places abound in the city – Lima is not just about its colonial heart and the department stores… The Huaca Pucllana had been a ceremonial site originally built by the Lima culture (200 – 700 AD) and was later taken over by the highland Wari culture (800 – 900 AD) and finally by the coastal Ychsma people (1000- 1532 AD) as a funerary site. The pyramidical main structure was built with thousands of vertically arrangted clay bricks in the ‘bookshelf style’ which also made the place anti-sismic.


If you plan to travel to Peru and have some time to spend in Lima, here are some ideas of fun things to do and places to visit:

  • The Historical Center with the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral (with Pizarros’s tomb in one corner) & San Francisco Monastery (with a splendid library and macabre catacombs)
  • The Chocolate Museum in the Historical Center – don’t miss out on sampling the delicious liquours!
  • The Museum of Art (Museo de Arte de Lima – MALI; the Paracas funerary textiles are particularly interesting)
  • The Museo Larco Herrera (fantastic Moche pottery!)
  • The National Museum (Museo de la Nacion – an archaeological  museum that will enlighten you about all the different ancient cultures of Peru)
  • The Huaca Pucllana in San Isidro (ancient archaeological site, nicley restored)
  • Watch the paragliders over the beach from a coffeeshop at Larcomar
  • Stroll Parque Kennedy in Miraflores and feed and cuddle stray cats
  • Have a Mushroom Cebiche in the pedestrian zone of the Historic Center


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