In my previous post, I shared how friends and myself traveled to Lima, Peru, with its international reputation for gourmet dining as we dined at some of the best restaurants in Lima. However, while visiting Lima, there is more than just restaurants of which to partake. Let's take a look at some of the things you definitely want to consider if you visit Lima.
Lima is a tropical desert-city on the Pacific Coast with a population of under nine million, and a metropolitan population of just under ten million, which is one-third of the total population of Peru. Because of its inter-mixture of hot, dry desert climate with the water currents and air moisture off the Pacific, Lima has overall moderate temperatures throughout the year, with July and August months generally being the coolest and averaging in the 50's. The summer months, between November and March, average in the 80's. It rarely rains. However, fog can en-capsulize the city in the mornings. The day can be fraught with heavy masses of clouds, and what often passes for moisture are pellets that are less obtrusive than light spring showers in many places like Cuenca. Nancy, Doyle, and I experienced a number of cloudy days, but when the sun was out on three of our nine days, it certainly gave being in Lima a real uplift to our spirits.
We rented an apartment for the week, and stayed about a block from the ocean in the Miraflores area of Lima, which is one of the nicer areas in in the city. However, San Isidro is the most up-scale area in Lima, and has a long stretch of expensive International stores with many of the usual brand names. There were many tourists presiding in Miraflores, and it appears that many expats live in this area as well. I was surprised at the number of Europeans that we saw on the streets in our neighborhood, who greatly outnumbered North Americans, and who were either visiting are living in Miraflores.
Here are some views of Miraflores:
This first photo is just below our penthouse apartment. I was surprised to find such deluxe tennis courts in Peru. The club below features about ten plush courts, and the one just below our apartment has stadium seating for about 600 people. Games are played before large crowds usually on most days and throughout the day. The tennis club also features a physical fitness workout facility, an in-door and large terraced-restaurant, and a banquet facility. While there may be courts this nice in the states, I am not aware of them.
Along the ocean is the Park of Love, which incorporates Victor Delfin's statue El Beso (The Kiss) in the photo above and below. The statue is quite large, and quite erotic. This is one of those sculptures that is best viewed as one walks around it and experiences it from a variety of perspectives.
The temperatures during cloudy days like this in July were in the 60's and low 70's. It was basically lite-jacket weather, and we were fortunate that it was warmer than usual for that time of year. Surfers took to the waters, but we had no idea how warm the water temperatures were.
Many tourists to Lima will generally come to visit for a day or two to take in some important museums and some of the archaeological sites just outside the city as preparation for their trip to see Machu Picchu.
One such museum is the preeminent Museo Larco Herrera collection of pre-Columbian art. Museo Larco is an extraordinary collection of the three Pre-Incan cultures that inhabited Peru. The exhibits are beautifully organized and arranged chronologically, with placard explanations in both Spanish and English. Although I am a student of history, I did not know anything about these pre-Incan civilizations until I visited Lima. The museum contains some extraordinary exhibits of silver and gold, which the museum officials did an excellent job of off-setting in backgrounds that visually accented these silver and gold artifacts. Unfortunately, since I lost my camera, I do not have photos of the exhibits which I so meticulously shot while in the museum, only some exterior shots of the attractive museum from Nancy's camera:
As you can see from the above photos, the museum has some lovely gardens, and also features a gourmet restaurant that was presented in my last post.
The Museo de la Nación, (National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History Museum) which traces the history of Peru’s Pre-Columbian ancient civilizations including the Incas; also includes galleries of the conquistadors, the post-Inca Spanish settlement of Peru, and the political and military history of Peru. One gallery is devoted to the paintings of the various presidents of Peru over time. While the National Museum is more historically encompassing than the Larco Museum, both offer exhibitions which are distinctive and unique to their respective museums.
Like the Museo Larco, the Museo de Nacion also has beautiful grounds to enjoy.
The Museo de Art Contemporanio (Museum of Contemporary Art) is best enjoyed if taken as part of a tour to appreciate the collection. Tour guides, who are art students, are generally available right there on the spot. The collection is primarily from South American artists, with a few international contributions. The museum is not only surrounded by beautiful grounds, but also is encompassed by a park as well, which one can take advantage of on a beautiful weather day. Here are a few of the paintings and sculpture pieces at the museum:
Museo de MATE possesses the world’s largest collection of the world reknown international photographer, Mario Testino's work. After 35 years living abroad, it was Testino’s personal desire to bring the largest collection of his work to Lima, his hometown, as a contribution to the cultural heritage of Peru. Mario had photographed many celebrities over his life time. A special gallery is devoted to Princess Diana.