The last hurrah in Lima


My next two days in Lima were fortunately less eventful. I spent the majority of my mornings and evenings walking around to various hostels in Lima to carry out marketing duties with StudentUniverse.

Tuesday afternoon, I took a break to take a walk around the main shopping area in Miraflores. The main street, Av. Jose Larco, was the 5th Avenue or Champs Elysees of Lima. Of course there was no Prada shop, but there was an Apple store and a specialty clothing boutique called Alpaca. Perdy fancy.

As the sun set that day, I happened upon a small, open park in the middle of the city called El Parque Central de Mraflores. Seemingly it was the place to hang out in Lima, for young people lounged everywhere in the grass on and on the benches, talking, playing music, napping. But the real pièce de résistance of the park was the hoard of stray cats meandering through the shrubbery. When I entered the small, wooded area, I saw a man shaking a bag (presumably one full of some kind of catnip) and out of the woodwork ran to him at least twenty stray cats.

They were all different breeds, and they didn’t look emaciated — most likely because this man came to feed them everyday. They were scared of any person who approached them, which made it difficult to take pictures, but I did my best.

After hanging with the kitties for a little while, I headed back to the hotel. It was getting dark and I didn’t want to be out alone at night.

The next day, I spent all morning and early afternoon walking around to different hostels. Midday, I found myself back at el Parque del Amor, this time during the day when the sunshine was plentiful. My brightly colored sundress matched perfectly with the bright mosaic tiles and I asked a kind German tourist to snap a few photos!

I sat by the water for a while, enjoying my last day on the Pacific coast, soaking in the sunshine (meanwhile, it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit at home and about to snow, so I definitely appreciated the warmth).

I continued on with visiting hostels, then went back to Hotel Nobility to check out. The checkout was smooth and effortless, and the hotel let me store my luggage there until my late-night flight for no extra charge. After taking care of that, I headed back out to downtown Miraflores to visit a few more hostels. Then, I stumbled upon a flyer for a bus tour of all of Lima for 25 soles (about $8 USD) run by Mirabus. It was such a steal that I had to hop on!  I joined the group of fifteen or so 50+ year-old women and a few small families as we rode on the top level of a double-decker bus and explored the city.

The tour guide pointed out major historic sites and attractions as we drove through the different districts of Lima, including San Isidro, Miraflores, Barranco and Churillos. We drove all along the coast, visiting familiar sites such as el Parque del Amor and Barranquito Beach, until we finally looped back round to the pick up spot.

The tour was a fantastic way to get one last look at the beautiful, traditional city. Afterwards, I headed back to the hotel to grab my luggage and make my way to the airport.

I had a few mishaps in Lima, but overall I found the city charming, bright, charismatic and inspiring.  I’ll never be able to wipe the images of the beautiful view of the water out of my head. The people (other than the man on the scooter) were friendly and congenial and made me feel welcome in a foreign city. I would recommend  Lima for anyone looking to explore a beautiful, lively, traditional yet metropolitan Latin American city.

Day 2 in Lima: The adventure continues

Lima, Lima, Lima, Lima, Leeeeeeema

I have so much to say about this city, it is so difficult to fit into a few short blog posts (well, arguably short).

My second day in Lima was another adventure in it’s own. I woke rested and ready to take on the day. I took care of some marketing responsibilities in the morning, then set out to walk around the city, with my first stop being an ATM.

So here’s a story:

As I was crossing the street at a crosswalk, out of no where, a man on scooter turned the corner with an outstretched hand and reached for the camera around my neck. He was driving so quickly that when he grabbed the camera, the force pulled my neck along with it and I plummeted, head first, into the pavement. Thank goodness for my huge noggin and thick hair which trapped the camera strap, so he was unable to pull it off over my head in the drive-by. He sped off, unsuccessful, without even looking back.

A million thoughts raced through my head as I lay there in the middle of the street, trying to collect myself and wrap my head around what happened. People stood nearby, but the the incident happened so quickly that there was really nothing anyone could have done.

I brushed myself off, got up and walked to a sidewalk. There, I did a quick check of my body and saw that my shoulder was badly scratched up and finger was bleeding. My head hurt, too, from the direct impact with the asphalt, so I headed to a pharmacy to get some bandages. I was a mix of angry (and I am NOT an angry person) and grateful that he didn’t get away with anything. The incident could have been so much worse — he could have taken my camera, wallet, phone, passport, etc. or I could have been seriously injured…or worse. But luckily, I wasn’t hurt badly and I still had all of my belongings.

After my trip to the pharmacy, I headed back to the hostel. I needed to check out anyway so I could move to my next location. Still disheveled from the run-in with the thief, I checked in with my parents and had a relaxing cup of tea. Then I packed up, called a cab, and set out for my new hotel in Miraflores.

I was shaken by the morning’s events, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin my day! After a short cab ride to Miraflores (the more developed, touristy district in Lima) I made it to my new hotel, Hotel Nobility. Oh. My. Gosh. Y’all. This was listed as a 3-star hotel but seriously is the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in (probably because I’m young and broke and can’t afford nice hotels). The service was incredible. I don’t think my hand touched a door knob the entire two days I was there. The food was exquisite (don’t get me started on the breakfast buffet).

I settled in, which was easy to do because I still didn’t have my luggage from the airport, and jetted off to walk around this new district of Lima. If anyone hasn’t noticed, I’m annoyingly partial to water — if there is a view of a lake, river, ocean, sea, etc. — I need to find it; thus I found my way to the Miraflores side of la Coasta Verde, and there, happened upon el Parque del Amor (the Love Park), a small and neatly landscaped park overlooking the water with a statue of two people embracing, entitled The Kiss.

The park nearly mirrored el Parque Güell in Barcelona in that a long, winding wall covered in colorful mosaic tiles set the perimeter. I sat in the park for a while and watched the sunset. From where I sat, I could see down the shoreline to where people were parasailing off the cliff. How I would have loved to join, but I’m sure it was costly, and I didn’t have time. Even watching, though, was a thrill.

Soon it grew dark and I headed back to the hotel to do some more work.

Monday had been a long day to say the least, but as always, the eventfulness simply added to the adventure — it’s all part of the story.

On my first day in Peru, I accidentally used the men’s bathroom


I didn’t know what to expect of the Peruvian capital when I arrived; my focus leading up to this trip had been on studying for exams and finishing projects, and therefore I didn’t have the time to research every nook and cranny of the city like I would usually do.

But from the moment I stepped off the plane, I found the city speaks for itself. On the cab ride to my hostel, I already learned a few things about this place:

1. It’s hot. And humid. And hot.

2. There’s no distinct Peruvian look… the natives range from dark skin with larger features to light skin with narrow features and everything in between. I’ve also seen a lot of Asian Peruvians, which I have since found out are from a mass migration years ago.

3. Bright colors are a must. The buildings, the people, the shops…all adorned in bright garb or vivid paint. I love it. Being from a city (Washington, D.C.) where the color scheme ranges from gray to brown, I found the radiant shades of yellow, red, green and teal to be remarkably refreshing.

4. It’s crowded! (well, duh, it’s the capital of a huge country, Alexis)

5. It’s clean! That was the biggest surprise. The most relevant city I can think to compare Lima to is Casablanca, Morocco, because of the layout, heat and coastal environment, but the most significant difference is the cleanliness! I’ve hardly seen any litter on the streets, there are no distinct smells — not even from the ocean — and there are trash cans and recycling bins everywhere!

For the first night, I stayed in Casa Nuestra B&B, a quaint, family-owned hostel that was uniquely decorated and felt cosy and homely. My room consisted of simple, handmade furniture, bright green walls, simple lighting, and one piece of artwork hanging above the bed. The hostel owner was a friendly middle-aged mother who gave me a quick tour of the hostel while her toddler clung to her leg. He was the cutest little thing.

After I settled in and chatted with some of the other guests, I set out to explore the city. Map in hand, I found my way to the coast where there was a walking path along the top of a cliff overlooking the water. I strolled along for about a mile, stopping to take pictures. Of course, being a single, young woman who looks like a tourist, a few men approached me to say hello, but I politely brushed them off and continued on.

The view from the coast was absolutely stunning. The photos can do it more justice than I can, but I’ll do my best to describe the scene. From atop the cliff, I could see straight down to the main road that runs along the water and a few of the beaches and structures that makeup the shoreline. Looking out, my eyes danced upon electric blue waters stretching far, far out until they intersected with the clouds, forming a hazy blue mist in the distance.

n either side of me, Lima’s skyline ran parallel with the water, as if the whole city was built along the edge of the cliff. I walked along, following the path that ran parallel with them, until I began to feel tired from the sun. I left the coast, and made my way to a restaurant to grab a bite to eat and an espresso.


Side note: when I used the bathroom at the restaurant, I thought there was just a gender-neutral toilet so I went into that room. Little did I know, the women’s bathroom was down the hallway and I used the men’s bathroom!! That explained the confused looks I got from the wait staff as I walked out…LOL)

Next, I found an art gallery on the map that piqued my interest. It wasn’t far from where I was so I left the restaurant and found my way to the gallery.

The art gallery was called Dédalo, and was actually both an art gallery and shop. On display were a mix of modern art pieces, crafts and furniture, as well as traditional Peruvian cloths, pottery, even garden decorations and plants.

I enjoyed the gallery but soon came to the realization that I wouldn’t be able to afford any of the beautiful works, so I left to walk around some more.

I followed the main road, Av. Almirante Miguel Grau, straight down until I hit the main square of downtown Barranco, Lima. I didn’t know much about what I was seeing, as far as which buildings were important landmarks and what the significance of many of the statues was, but I still appreciated the beautiful Incan and Sevillan architecture.

As the sun started to set, I grabbed a coffee and found a cozy spot to watch the cars go by and observe the locals enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon. From elderly ladies chatting with each other on a bench to kids playing soccer and pulling pranks on each other while their parents tried to control them, the Peruvian people gave me plenty to be entertained with. I later walked through a beautiful small park and watched more locals laying down in the grass, talking, laughing, playing and enjoying the last few hours of the warm weekend.

The sun was nearly down by then, so I figured it was best to head back to the hostel. I got a little lost on my way there, which was terrifying once it was completely dark and I was trying not to pull out my map and look like a tourist (a.k.a.the perfect target), but after a few laps around some familiar landmarks, I found my way back to Casa Nuestra. I ended the day by spending more time with the other guests and the doing some research to prepare for the next day.

The first day in a new country always arouses a mix of emotions — excitement, uncertainty and curiosity, to name a few — and I definitely experienced all of those on my first day in this beautiful country. In a few hours, I already found plenty to love about Lima, but I went to bed excited to find new things to love the next day.