We were doing something a little different in Lima. When Craig first mentioned to his friend and work colleague Franjo that we were travelling to Peru he immediately offered up his mothers home for us to stay in when we got to Lima. We felt a little weird about this, would Franjo's mum really want two strangers staying in her home? We didn't want to put her out but Franjo insisted, saying that our room was made up and that she'd even been shopping for vegetarian food for us. We met Rosalia outside her apartment after a very long coach journey, she didn't speak English and our Spanish is atrocious despite the lessons in Bolivia. We embraced and managed to get by on limited vocabulary, her welcome was so warm and friendly. She ushered us in and poured two glasses of delicious juice, a Peruvian speciality called chicha morada made with purple corn. Rosalia made us a quick supper which we were so thankful for as after our long journey we were hungry. We met George, Rosalia's husband who spoke English very well and who we enjoyed a lovely conversation with until bedtime.
The next morning we were treated to an amazing breakfast. Rosalia had made us each a huge fresh smoothie, a pot of coffee was brewing and there were fresh fruits on the table. She then brought out plates of eggs, avocado and toast for us to enjoy. We felt thoroughly spoilt. After breakfast, Rosalia drove us into the city centre and booked us both on an afternoon open top bus tour of the city which she insisted was her treat. We then drove to the coast and walked around a free photography exhibition and watched paragliders soar above us. Rosalia drove us back to the apartment where her lovely assistant made us huge portions of pesto spaghetti before driving us back into the city for our open top bus tour.
The tour was a fun and relaxed way of seeing the city. We sat back and enjoyed views of the city streets and the hustle and bustle. We wound our way to the coast and were regaled with a tale about a monk jumping from a cliff, in the distance a man in a brown robe jumped and the coach gasped. As we drew closer we watched as the man effortlessly clambered up the cliff face and walked towards our coach where we applauded and each gave him a small tip in appreciation of his reenactment. In the evening Rosalia took us to a light and water show where fountains and lights dance in correlation to music. A myriad of rainbow colours graced the park as children ran riot and guards told people off for sitting on the grass. We walked past numerous flower stalls to a parrilla restaurant where we had a local dinner. Obviously our plates were void of meat so we enjoyed grilled potatoes, corn and salad. Rosalia was friends with the 'griller in chief' so when we came to pay the bill had been taken care of. We were beginning to wonder just how we could repay the generous hospitality shown to us, we couldn't even treat her to dinner!
The next day we met our buddy Carl and did a 'diy' walking tour of the historic sights. We walked through plazas, past colourful buildings and antique shops. We held our noses in the meat and fish section of the market and we strolled through vibrant Chinatown looking out for our Chinese birth year emblems on the floor. In the evening back at the apartment George cracked open a bottle of Peruvian pisco, a stong local spirit. The four of us toasted and took a shot, the clear liquor burned the back of my throat but left a pleasant after taste.
The next day George took us to MATE the Mario Testino Gallery which I'd been hoping to see while we were in Lima. There was a mix of high fashion photography, celebrity portraits and heady party scenes featuring famous models. A highlight of the gallery was the Peruvian room which featured large format photographs of Peruvian women in traditional dress and men dressed in costumes. Even the detailed carpet matched the patterns and bright colours in the photographs. The final room that we visited had been devoted to Lady Diana and included a selection of beautiful photographs taken just months before her death. Included was a replica of a dress worn in some of the portraits. Lady Diana's softly focused features and bright smile were particularly moving to see. Around the corner was a local tavern which we popped into. George brought a round of drinks, and then another, and another. By the end Craig had tasted every variety of Cusqueña lager, his favourite being the negra. When we got back to the apartment George made us a huge bowl of rice and vegetables cooked in the Chifa style which is a Chinese/Peruvian fusion. It was delicious and as with every portion we've been fed absolutely huge. Our coach to Huaraz was leaving in the evening and so we said our goodbyes to our wonderful and generous hosts. We were so glad that we decided to stay with George and Rosalia as we wouldn't have experienced the city of Lima in the same way. It confirmed our belief that Peruvian people are among the kindest and most generous in South America.
🎥 Peru video:
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