Exploring Lima

Added 31 Aug 2014

Although the body clock wants you to wake up, it is a good idea to stay horizontal in bed for as long as possible! We are trying to acclimatise to local time but breakfast beckons in due course. Breakfast at the Lima Country Club is grand affair. Beautifully laid tables with fine crockery and cutlery, fresh flowers and cotton napkins in silver napkin rings. A selection of fresh breads on the table. Jams and marmalade. A full buffet with cereals, yoghurt, a vast selection of fresh fruit (one of our guests counts 16 different fruits). Smoked salmon, cold meats, hot bacon, sausage and eggs, pastries and more. Cooked to order is hot breakfast of your choice. Freshly brewed tea and coffee is served at your table. Attentive, friendly staff. It is a shame to leave really.

Our local guides, Cecilia and Rosa, meet us in the foyer at 9.30. Richard and Dawn distribute personal radio headsets and get everyone wired up and working. Our guides are kitted out with microphones and transmitters. We brought the system from the UK and it enables everyone to hear well during walking excursions and tours. It is especially beneficial for city tours in busy and noisy places like Lima! Our tour starts with a drive past the Lima Golf Club and along the cliff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is cloudy as usual for Lima but that helps protect us from the sun so is no bad thing. We watch surfers try out the waves and we drive past pretty gardens and parks that are laid out along the top of the cliffs.

Driving towards the old city centre the traffic is busy (particularly for a Sunday) and we discover a charity road race and numerous road closures. We make slow but steady progress and admire how our driver, Julio, ignores the crazy driving techniques of almost every other car on the road. It is clearly not uncommon to drive in the right of four lanes and then turn sharp left! We see a few near misses and Julio carries on regardless.

Our walking tour includes a visit inside the Monasterio de San Francisco. The monastery has pretty courtyards, original Spanish tiled walls and intricate wooden ceilings, plus an old library with spiral staircases made from wood and some very old books. We conclude our tour at the church of Santo Domingo and from here enjoy some free time for a lunch snack. Most of us head to a nearby courtyard that has quite a few cafes and restaurants altogether. Clearly each establishment is keen for business and their waiters vie for bookings by leaping out at passers-by with an open menu in the hope of attracting more clients. Waiters from adjacent cafes leap towards potential clients at the same time which leads to some collisions, quite daunting for the innocent walker especially if they were not planning to eat anytime soon. Quite amusing for us to sit and watch and surprisingly effective too, as approximately 50% of the time it seems to work. The waiters from our café are particularly good at leaping.

Back at our hotel we enjoy a siesta before heading out to our surprise dinner venue - wait for the full report tomorrow!