Several highlights yesterday including sunshine for the first time in two days. As our son said, when the sun shines it feels like you are in the tropics. All the colors are suddenly vivid. We wandered around Barranco for awhile, spending time and money in a fantastic folk art gallery run by a woman originally from Wales. Her pretty old house is packed with weavings, ceramics, textiles, silver jewelry, sculpture from all over Peru. (I will unearth the card to duly record the name of the shop.)
Next stop, our son’s college campus Pontifica Catholica Universidad (sp?) a very modern campus of concrete high rises, where we sat in briefly on Prof. Diaz’s class on Peruvian culture, not that we could understand much, due to our feeble Spanish comprehension. Another crazed taxi ride got us to the grand colonial section downtown where we had a ham sandwich in a famous old place El Cordano with scuffed floors, worn wooden counters, lots of old photos. Tourists occasionally popped their heads in to take pictures. It is that kind of place. Catacombs full of boxes of skulls and femurs and arm bones was the takeaway memory from our tour of the amazing Monisterio de San Francisco, which also had a fantastic old library, moorish vaulted architecture with miles from Seville, Spain. Well worth a visit. The cathedral de Lima was also impressive. Then it was time for a pisco sour, the Peruvian cocktail, which we had at the Hotel Bolivar patio overlooking the crazy evening traffic in Plaza San Martin.
Dinner was a splurge to celebrate our son’s 21st birthday (a little early) at the famous Astrid & Garçon. and yes, I did try their famous cuy, which I would have eaten more of if I didn’t know what it was (guinea pig). it was well disguised, unlike the whole deep-fried version served to our son awhile ago and photographed to frighten the relatives back home. This cuy was slices of meat with crispy skin that did indeed look and taste a bit like chicken. it was served with small blue corn pancakes, a hoisin-tasting sauce and a coleslaw type of garnish. Delicious. Other highlights, ceviche served three ways, suckling pork leg, a light delicately seasoned seafood soup, a carrot cake unlike any I have ever seen or tasted with long white meringue straws, pink foam, a mint ice cream, a dense rectangle of moist carrot cake. A work of art really. Very pricy but we did get a lot including two amuse bouchesand a tray full of little sweets (jellies, macaroons, truffles, warm caramel between two little discs of shortbread.) Reminded me of a fancy meal we had once in Burgundy. Only problem was we were too full to really enjoy.
Right now we are at the airport in Lima, having just learned that our flight to Arequipq is delayed an hour. This after we dutifully left for the airport 3 hours ahead of time. We were warned that the morning rush hour traffic would be bad, and so it was much of the time but our champion driver, from our hotel, the fabulous Second Home Peru got us here in 45 minutes, as promised. lots of long lines to wait in, so the 2 hour in-advance airport arrival was probably wise…except now we have another hour to wait..