plaza de armas lima peru

First day in Lima

Goodbye Arequipa! Walking the tarmac to our plane at the tiny airport

Our fourth out of five times in the Lima airport, we finally actually made it to Lima! Although it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing since we were pretty hungover. When we arrived at the waiting area at the Arequipa airport for our delayed flight, I definitely knocked out in a seat, not too gracefully.

Regardless, we arrived in Lima and took a cab to our hotel in Miraflores. Our hotel, The Bayview Hotel, was really nice and just two block from the ocean. After checking in and finally showering, we headed to downtown Lima – in our own chauffeured car that was always available outside the hotel. Classy!

I had heard nothing especially great about Lima from others before the trip, but I really liked it! I love big cities, and Lima is humongous. I feel like that is a city where I could actually live. Downtown Lima is modern but historic. Stores and offices line up along old churches. The Plaza de Armas totally reminds me of southern Spain.

The Plaza de Armas in Lima
Francisco Pizarro’s tomb

We went to the main Cathedral, which is probably best known for holding the remains of Francisco Pizarro. As we stood outside debating what to do next, some Peruvian said I looked like Brittney Spears. Uhm….

Afterwards, we walked around and stopped by El Cordano, an apparently famous cafe near the presidential palace. Actually, we just went in because it looked really old school and cool, but then I looked it up in my guide book and the 100+ year-old bar has quite a history.

Bar Cordano, right across the street from the Presidential Palace in Lima
Inside Bar Cordano

After snacking, on the way to see another church, we got sidetracked by a row of souvenir shops. I found a beautiful mirror and snatched it up. Logically, I should have waited until after the church tour to buy it so I wouldn’t have to carry around a huge package the entire time. Oh well, lesson learned!

The church we went to see was actually the Monasterio de San Francisco. The monastery was beautiful. It was very Spanish and even had some Moor/arabic influences, which was interesting. The underground area held catacombs filled with bones, but my favorite part was the ancient library filled with old books.

After the monastery, we called our driver (that never gets old) to pick us up and did some more shopping while we waited for him. I also found some really nice glasses with engraved golden hummingbirds, which totally reminded me of our hike.

Houses on a hill as we walk through downtown Lima

Once we got back to the hotel, we took a nap before dinner. Way too many hours later, we woke up and it was nearly 11 pm! I felt lazy and tempted to stay in bed, but we only had two days in Lima so I dragged everyone out of bed and we walked over to the nearby shopping center overlooking the ocean. We ate at Mambo Cafe, right over the beach, and then went by some random bar where there was some serious dancing happening by a group of slightly geeky guys who looked like they were letting loose after a boring business convention.

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