Tag Archives: second home Peru

Our best of Peru

Most amazing train ride: Front seat on the train to the Sacred Valley. (on the way home, there was a fashion show on the train…)

Most dazzling monastery: Santa Catalina, Arequipa limaarequipaconvent.jpg

Best old world/Inca village with most intense cobble stoned lanes: Ollantaytambo 

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Most bizarre landscape: the salt pans of Salinas and terraced circles of Moray

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Best religious site with skulls and boxes of (human) bones: San Francisco Monasterio in Lima

Best church: That’s a tough one, in Cusco – the Cathedral and the Iglesia de Compania de Jesus and the church in San Blas. or the Iglesia de la Compagnia in Arequipa.

The Cathedral in Arequipa

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Best market: Also a hard call. Pisac, Arequipa (below) and Cusco are strong contenders

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Best folk art: Artesanias Las Pallas in Lima’s Barranco neighborhood

Best contemporary crafts gallery: Dedalo in Lima’s Barranco neighborhood

Best quality Andean Textiles: Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cuzco, on Av. El Sol or Shop of the Weavers of the Southern Andes on Tullumayo in Cusco.

Best hidden museum: Museo de Arte Popular, Cusco

Most spectacular site/ruins: Machu Picchu, hands down

Grandest plaza: Toss up between Cusco and Arequipa

Best service at a hotel: Apu Lodge, Ollantaytambo 

Best art at a hotel: Second Home Peru, in Lima (below)

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Most ancient-feeling hotel: La Casa de Melgar, Arequipa

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Best hotel to bring earplugs: Ninos Hotel in Cusco, lovely courtyard but carries sound especially people wandering through at 5:30 a.m.

Best sight for sore eyes: Our son.

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Exploring lima with Noah

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..

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Great day in Lima

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Great day in Lima. The place we are staying is extraordinary.
We woke up this morning to discover that we are staying in an art gallery. There is art everywhere…huge bronze sculpted horses and other figures on the green lawn outside our balcony overlooking the sea and on the floor below us whole rooms full of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, mosaics. For our break laser we went outside our timbered house into a courtyard again full of dramatic sculptures, several pre-columbian influenced into a kitchen made of wood, brick, cast iron, everywhere we looked was a sight. The best sight of all was our son n. who we haven’t seen since August. We wandered with him down some curving steps at the edge of the back lawn and found ourselves at a stunning ceramic pool surrounded by ceramics and sculpture and beautiful vegetation. We heard some music coming from another building with vaulted brick ceilings. And lo and behold it was the artist victor Delfin, whose art is all over this place. He was painting a large canvas with a palate of heavy oils with the ocean crashing onto the shore behind him. He showed us all around his studio and more rooms filled with his dramatic art. I highly recommend this place…Second Home Peru. later in the day we saw a hinge sculpture by Delfin in a lovely park on a high cliff overlooking the ocean in the Miraflores neighborhood.
We are nearby in the arty Barranco neighborhood. Midday we went to Miraflores to meet the family our son is living with. lovely people. They took us to a private club down by the beach …Club de Rigatos in the Chorrillos neighborhood where we had our first proper Peruvian meal at San Telmo Cafe. The place was packed with people enjoying Sunday lunch. I had a delicious seafood soup in a flavorful red broth packed with clams, fish, octopus. We also tried some other classic dishes: causa (yellow mashed potatoes with lemon, chili and garlic sculpted into a block layered with different fillings. we had one with crabmeat, another with chicken. We also tried a delicious creamy drink called algarrobina, that reminded me a little of baileys but better and a passion fruit pisco sour.

Later we went to a remarkable outdoor mall tucked into a cliff by the ocean that you couldn’t tell was a mall from the road. Full of people. We had churros, which we dunked in thick hot chocolate and split a sandwich named after the snack bar we ate at called Manolo, that was packed with chicken, ham, bacon, cheese, and a pickle. I have to agree with my son that the pickle added that je ne sais quas…or whatever the Spanish equivalent is. We walked part of the way back to barranca on a balmy humid night high above the coastline which looked magical lined with light and a lit up cross in the distance.

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November 5, 2012 · 3:14 am