Leaving Canada! – So we got no sleep the night before we left, like we were literally still packing 5 minutes after my mom arrived to drive us to the airport. But thankfully, we didn’t forget anything important! All our essentials fit in our newly purchased backpacking bags, plus a back pack for carry-on each, and a purse for me. We had three flights Ottawa-Miami-Lima, and everything went off without a hitch! Our excellent tour guide picked us up at the airport (which was a total relief since we had the wrong name for the hotel!). The staff here were super nice, and took good care of us. We explored the city on our own, which wasn’t too hard to do since we were so central (between Plaza Meyer and Plaza San Martin).
Lima – Our first day in Lima we had free time, so of course we slept in. Then we got directions to the Convenant de San Francisco, which seemed easy enough.. We got totally lost but had a nice afternoon exploring the city. Eventually we asked a nice policeman and it turned out we were standing right in front of it, oh boy! For only $2 we got to go see the beautiful art and architecture, and see the creepy underground catacombs (which I would definitely recommend – though no pictures allowed). The entrance even included an hour-long English tour, where he showed us all around the temple my favourite part being the library where books can weigh as much as 40kg! We did a bit of souvenir shopping, went out for Pisco Sours (a local specialty drink) and then checked out a park with beautiful fountains! The show was amazing, and it reminded me of the Bellagio in Vegas (except way more colour).
Nazca – The next morning, the bus to Nazca left early and was about 7 hours. We stayed at a beautiful hotel, and got some time to relax by the pool, which was nice. We did some shopping, got some dinner, and explored the town. After a quiet night, we were up early for our flight over the lines. We had to wait a few hours for the visibility to improve, but eventually we got on our little 8-seat plane. The flight is only 30 minutes but it’s really cool to see the monkey, astronaut, hands, and other lines from the sky. The pictures aren’t great, but you can really see all the shapes from the air quite well (once the captain points them out). Unfortunately, the plane has to tilt a lot to give everyone a good view, and I wasn’t feeling very well after that!
Ica – After the flight we drove to an ancient cemetery in the middle of the desert. It was kind of creepy, but it was cool to see all the preserved remains, including their skin and long hair, all wrapped in cloth. The government didn’t have enough money to reveal all of the mummies, and the area has been looted by grave robbers many times. Because of this, in the area you can see scattered pottery, pieces of cloth, and even bones! Very different from what I might expect in Canada. Our tour guide even almost fell into one of the graves, after she found a piece of pottery she thought they should display. We then took a tour hour bus to Ica, where there is a beautiful desert oasis! A romantic lake, full of little paddle boats and surrounded by palm trees and dunes that are as high as the eye can see. Lots of people wanted to go sand boarding but we opted for ice cream and a romantic stroll. Unfortunately, the traffic in Peru is really bad, and there was a man killed on the street who was hit by a drunk driver on his motorcycle. Needless to say, that was quite upsetting.
Pisco – We stayed the night in Pisco, which is a lot less touristy then some of the other places. However, we still managed to get around easily, and order some food (though we ended up with different things than we expected, but it was still good). In the morning we headed to Paracas (the touristy area of the city) in the morning to hop on a boat. The weather was crappy, but then the harbour opened up so we were able to get our boat. We spent two hours exploring the Ballestas Islands, and were able to see crabs, sea lions, lots of birds (including penguins and pelicans), and even bottled-nosed dolphins (despite it being the wrong time of year)! Then we got on a bus back to Lima.
Lima – Back in Lima it was raining, though the locals just say “This is not rain, it is only humidity”. I guess that makes sense when the average humidity here in the winter is about 90% (literally)! We checked out a nearby pedestrian street (Jiron de la Union), which included window shopping, an improptu parade and some decent food. I accidentally ordered a pitcher instead of a drink, so good thing that it was delicious limonada! The next day we slept in, went shopping for new daybags for Steve, since his has broken (we found them for about $12 each), met with another guy on our tour, and visited a Museum about the inquisition (the picture is of me in the underground prison area). It’s funny because in Lima there is a special street for each type of purchase you want to make, one market with only books, another only bags, and a street just for sunglasses too. Overall, Lima is a great place to visit!
Stay tuned for Macchu Picchu and the Amazon Jungle!