The ride to the airport in Juliaca takes about an hour. While we wait at the airport we journal and Andrea gets a little teary-eyed, thinking of the wonderful people and memories we are leaving behind. Just about the time she comments that she needs something to cheer her up, a local band starts playing happy traditional music right next to us in the airport, right on cue! Peru always delivers! The band is the perfect remedy for Andrea's blues.
We have a couple of hours to relax before our culinary adventure in Lima. We had booked this excursion with Capital Culinaria a couple of months ago based on positive reviews we read on Trip Advisor. We're not sure exactly what we're getting ourselves into, and fear that it will be a bit cheesy. Oh well, anything is better than an evening at the airport hotel! A nice man in his mid-30s picks us up at the hotel. His name is Lucas, and as our reservation promised, he is wearing an apron. We get into the back of his BMW. He explains that because we are so far away from Miraflores, where the other tourists participating in tonight's adventure are staying, we have been upgraded to a private tour. Lucas explains that he is the owner. He and his wife, an American from Kansas City, opened the business 9 months ago to fill a niche: tourists traveling through Lima to get to Cusco or other destinations, needing something to do to fill their time in Lima. We end up having a wonderful evening. Lucas is charming and interesting and funny and we tell him that this outing feels a lot like simply going out with a good friend. He drives us first to the Barranco District, an old, original, artsy part of Lima that has been steadily growing in popularity. Here we stop at a bar overlooking the water and learn how to make pisco sours. After watching the first one made, Andrea takes over and makes the second one. Both hers and the professional's are delicious, and we drink them on the balcony even though it's not a pretty night -- it's foggy, cool and misty. From here Lucas drives us to one of the top restaurants in Peru, la Huaca Pucllana, which is situated adjacent to Inca ruins of the same name. Apparently the owner made a deal with the Peruvian government that he would maintain the ruins in exchange for putting his restaurant there. We have appetizers here, and another yummy drink with pisco in it. The appetizers include one with beef heart, which we both eat and which really isn't bad. I've never given much thought to what heart tastes like but I'm sure if I had, it would have been worse than this! Next stop: a dinner buffet featuring traditional Peruvian dancing. Lucas leaves us for a short while to walk his dog (apparently he lives close by). The food here is OK, about what you'd expect from a buffet, and the show is interesting although we personally think we could have stopped with the appetizers at the previous restaurant and called it a night! Still, this evening has been a pleasant surprise and well worth what we paid. By the time Lucas drops us off at the hotel it is after midnight. Luckily we have a late departure for Iquitos tomorrow (2:40 pm) so we can sleep in a bit. But the next time you're in Lima, we highly recommend Capital Culinara. Tell Lucas that Andrea and Lee sent you!