Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2008: Peru - Land of the Incas
By Paula G. Cullison from Arizona, Summer 2011
Page 3 of 9: Parks and Plazas of Lima
Parque del Amor - Lima
Lima is the most populated city in Peru with 10 million people – home to one-third of the country’s population of 30 million. Although Spanish is the official language, many still speak Quechua and Aymara along with a few other indigenous languages. I was surprised to learn that few of the younger generation were familiar with Yma Sumac, the songbird of the Incas. Before my trip, I listened to a CD of her remarkable voice.
Lima is busy with activity. It was difficult to breathe at times, as the constant flow of city buses (always at or near capacity) emits a great amount of exhaust diesel fuel. With a struggling economy, environmental concerns don’t get priority. The sky tended to be overcast because of this.
Putting that aside, Lima is a lively city dotted with small well-maintained city parks and a beautiful walkway along the beach front area. I found that the Malecon de La Molina along the Costa Verde is the best walk in the city. There you can enjoy Parque del Amor with its huge statue of a couple embracing and its colorful mosaic benches reminiscent of Antonio Gaudi’s Parque Guell in Barcelona. Further along, one can see a green plant version of the Nasca Lines with fascinating animal and bird designs.
Fairly central to the city is Parque Kennedy which I found to be a green and flower laden oasis is the midst of this congested city. Here locals sit and relax, have their shoes shined, watch children at play, and a few feed the many cats. Arts & Craft fairs are held frequently. Apparently, it was named in honor of the US President who never visited the city. There is however a small bronze bust dedicated to him.
I visited to the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera which houses the world’s largest private collection of Pre-Colombian art; it is a must. Iglesia de San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs dating back to the 17th Century was another highlight of my visit. I was fascinated by the underground tunnels which house the bones of 75,000.
The archeological site of Pachacamac, which dates back to the first century, is a maze of plazas, palaces, pyramids and centers of worship. A stronghold of the Huari people who worshiped Pachacamac, the creator of the world, it was captured by the Incas in the 15th century and later plundered by the Spanish in the mid 1500’s. I took one of the organized tours from Lima which also included a visit to Barranco, a delightful Bohemian area filled with cafes. There we walked across the Puente de los Suspiros where we saw the statue to Chabuca Granda, a famous singer and composer.
Next to the hotel was Scotia Bank where I withdrew money Nuevo Soles. The service was courteous and fast. I always prefer to use local currency and not my credit card.
One afternoon, I walked along Avenida Jose Pardo to the Star Peru office to reconfirm my flight from Lima to Cusco. The representative was very helpful and found that when I purchased the ticket online (in Spanish) I had reversed my name: first/family. So I was incorrectly entered into the system. Fluent in English, Carlos told me about his recent trip to Madrid and then presented me with a gift – a relic of Mother Teresa. I took this as another good omen.
Transportation to the airport was arranged by the hotel; this is the safest option at a reasonable price.
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