Lima, Day 1

After disembarking from a not so restful red-eye flight, we were met at the airport by our driver and the first things I noticed about Lima were the humidity and the morning fog.  We pulled into the courtyard of our hotel, checked in, and took a much needed nap.  After stocking up on water (Peru is one of the countries where Americans are advised to avoid the tap water), we caught a taxi to Miraflores.  I had given the taxi driver the address of the restaurant we had lunch reservations for but he dropped us off in the vicinity of the restaurant which was fine since we had some time to spare.  The first thing we noticed was the food market where our driver let us out but we decided to focus on finding the restaurant first.  Given the character of our surroundings which was comprised of automotive and other uses that I normally wouldn’t think would be located near an upscale restaurant, I wasn’t sure if the driver had even dropped us off at the right place but then we passed by a building with a fancy enough exterior and I realized that this was probably our destination.  When the restaurant opened, we were ushered inside to the restaurant’s pleasing interior which had an aesthetic somewhat reminiscent of Argentinian design.  I also loved the restaurant’s place setting.

El Mercado place setting

We were even happier when we saw the menu, which was filled with delectable sounding options, placed our orders, and sipped on pisco sours and noshed on the fried chips and accompanying sauces they provided.

El Mercado pisco sours

We ate what was one of our best meals in Peru, sharing a ceviche, sushi, and a causa.  We were pretty stuffed by the end of our meal.

Sushi sin arroz?  Technically not sushi I suppose but good and tasty eye candy!

Sushi sin arroz? Technically not sushi I suppose, but good and tasty eye candy!

Causa

Causa

After enjoying our first meal in Peru, we sauntered off to explore Miraflores.  This included a stop at a mural across the street from the restaurant.

Lima mural

Lima mural close up 2

Sadly, this was the only mural I had an opportunity to photograph but we would see a number of murals during our travels in Peru which I wish I could share with you.

Most tourists stay in Miraflores and it’s easy to see why with its numerous restaurants, hotels, and shops but it didn’t feel touristy.  We didn’t encounter many tourists at all in this neighborhood or in Lima in general.  Few tourists seem to devote little time to Lima, which I think is their loss because Lima has the best restaurants in the country and a fair amount to do and see.  At any rate, it was refreshing to explore a cosmopolitan city in a country visited by many and feel like you were the only tourists in any given location for much of the day.

We stopped off at the Mercado Indio where there were countless vendors but the markets were surprisingly empty, particularly for a Saturday afternoon, making me wonder how most of them were able to eke out a living.  By late afternoon, we had made our way to Parque del Amor.  The seating along the water is reminiscent of Park Guell in Barcelona.

Parque del Amor 1

But the waterfront setting distinguished the park from Park Guell.  We admired the views of the paragliders south of the park.

view from Parque del Amor

That and the park’s signature statue which, amusingly, some park patrons seemed to model their activities after.

Parque del Amor 2

After enjoying the sunset from Parque del Amor, Adam mistakenly thought it was later than it actually was and we made our way over to the restaurant where we had reservations.  We discovered once we were there that we were actually over an hour early so we passed the time drinking pisco sours and nibbling on roasted corn kernels at the hotel bar next door.

My sister’s friend had agreed to meet us for dinner so we met at the appointed time, had another round of drinks at the hotel bar, and then ate dinner at a restaurant I had eagerly anticipated not only because of the Times write-up but because I had been looking forward to eating Amazonian food ever since eating Amazonian river fish in Brazil.  Unfortunately, the restaurant failed to live up to expectations but the stories my sister’s friend shared of his travels made up for the less than stellar food.

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