La Catedral (Kristine Kyllander)
We had no pre-set plans or arrangements for our time in Lima so we had decided to stay within walking distance of our hotel and just explore. The weather was typical for Lima with mild temperatures and a heavy marine layer blocking the sun. We started out by taking a self-guided tour through some Indian markets on our way to Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid that is still in the excavation/restoration process. As I was walking through these markets I felt like perhaps they were a bit of a tourist trap but in retrospect as I'm writing this after the trip has been completed, we certainly saw some worthwhile souvenirs and such there that we didn't come across on any other portion of the trip. The highlight of our day was our visit to Huaca Pucllana. Aside from the ruin itself, the guided tour takes you to see various plant life and animal life that is important to Peruvian culture. Tim's notes on this experience was that it is interesting that the pre-Inca civilization had a taxing system that required citizens to work three months out of the year on the building of the pyramid/temple. From the ruins we walked about three miles or so to the coast with the goal of having lunch at El Mercado for some local Ceviche only to find out that they are closed on Mondays so we ended up at Sophie Bistro where we struggled with ordering (this was the only restaurant on our entire trip that did not offer a menu in English as well as Spanish). The restaurant was a suggestions from the Frommer's Guide, Peru Day-by-Day which frankly was of little use to us during the trip. Our next stop was my personal favorite part of the day, a Chocolate Museum where we were instantly greeted with choco tea (yummy) and learned about the process of making chocolate. Then it was back to the hotel for a late afternoon-siesta before dinner at Panchita - a Gaston Acurio restaurant. The food at Panchita was delicious and the group tried the Cuy delicacy (guinea pig) which was tender, juicy and terrific but a lot of work to get such small amount of meat from the bones. Our general consensus on Lima is that Adventure Life knows what they're doing when planning these trips! Our original itinerary did not include this day in Lima but we added it on and really there was no need to have done so.
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