MY EXPERIENCE TO TRIP TO PERU
I arrived in Lima at 4:30 am, because I left Miami at midnight. Despite the early hour, there were many people waiting to greet people on my flight. I was met by my friend Randy and his wife Lourdes. Randy took me to his house, and I got to rest a couple of hours.
At 9:30 am, we went to downtown Lima. First we went to the Plaza de Armas and saw the changing of the guard at the presidential palace. Then we toured the San Francisco church and catacombs. It was built in the 17th century, and it is very impressive. There are 70,000 people buried in the catacombs under the church. For a reason that I can't remember, all of the bones were separated by bone type. All of the femurs were in one section, fibulas in another, etc. In some places, skulls were placed into recesses in the walls. I thought this was very odd for a Christian burial site.
That night we went to a section of Lima called Barranco. We went to a peña (dance hall) called Peña Poggi. There were tables and chairs set up and a band (2 guitars and 4 percussion) played salsa music. I tried to dance, but I can´t do it very well. At midnight the performers started. The first was very good and funny. He sang and alternated between dancing by himself and leading everyone else in dancing. When I got home around 2:00 am, I hadn't yet been in Peru for 24 hours but it felt like I had been there for several days.
Slept late! I needed it. We took it easy today. I went with Randy and his wife to the National Museum in Lima. Then we have lunch in Miraflores. After lunch, Randy and I went shopping for some souvenirs. Then we went back to Randy's house so I could start packing to my trip to Cuzco.
I left at 4 am for airport. I left Lima at 6am and arrived in Cuzco at 7am. (Cuzco had been the capital of the Incan Empire before they were conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century.) I saw the sun for the first time in Peru. Lima is always cloudy in the winter. Flying east out of Lima, we flew over the mountain range that keeps the moisture and clouds from moving out of Lima. It looked like a white sea washing onto a mountainous seashore.
After arriving in Cuzco, I was given mate de coca which is a tea brewed from coca leaves. The tea is supposed to alleviate the effects of the high altitude (Cuzco is at 3300 m or 10,800 ft). I then took a nap for 2 hours and felt great for the rest of the day. Other people who I met that did not take it easy for their first few hours in Cuzco complained of bad headaches.In the afternoon, I toured the main cathedral, a monastery, and Inca ruins around the city. Many of the buildings in Cuzco still use Inca walls as part of their structure. The monastery is interesting because a colonial Spanish structure, had been built around an Inca structure, which had been built on a foundation of a still older civilization. The cathedral is huge and very impressive. There are at least 5 huge, elaborate alters covered in gold leaf. Mass is still held there everyday. The Compañía is another elaborate church. It is on the Plaza de Armas and is built on an Inca foundation.After touring downtown Cuzco, I visited various Inca ruins in the mountains overlooking the valley. The most famous of these was Sacayhuaman which had been a fortress. The view of Cuzco and its Plaza de Armas from here are excellent. My hotel was right on the the Plaza de Armas. I had dinner with a couple from England that I met on the tour. For an appetizer we had ceviche which is raw fish (we had trout) marinated in lemon juice, onions, and cilantro. It had a very strong flavor, but it was good. After dinner we had lucuma flavored ice cream which is made from some sort of fruit, and we shopped in the market on the Plaza de Armas for souvenirs.