Yay! It’s finally my big tour of Lima day! This time, the hotel (correctly) booked a full day tour for me through LimaVision. The guides have decent English and the tour buses are not the fanciest, but they’re clean and functional. I met some fellow tourists along the way from all over the world and was able to really enjoy my day out and about!
First off, the Larco Museum. They have the largest collection of historical Peruvian ceramics, as well as textiles and costume jewelery. (they also have a gallery of erotic pottery, which I avoided because that’s just uncomfortable…) Though I can’t say I am hugely interested in galleries full of ceramic pots, I did find some exhibits interesting and I learned a lot.
The entrance to the Larco Museum was breathtaking! Look at all the brightly colored bougainvillea flowers!
The historians/archeologists can tell where and when the ceramic item was made from the handle, style, color, and shape. I am a little creeped out by the weird little monkey creature in the front...exactly what is he doing to that poor man??
The Larco Museum had an entire gallery dedicated to sacrificial ceramics. Since several of the ancient civilizations in Peru believed in human sacrifice, obviously you need containers for all the victims' spilled blood. I mean, why let good blood go to waste? Past that disturbing thought, most of the jars were in the form of demon deities...like this sacrificial demon dog. I think he's rather cute...for a demon dog.
This series of strings and knots was used by the Incas similarly to a Chinese abacus. It was a method of keeping track of how many llamas, potatoes, corn, alpaca sweaters, slaves, gold statues, sacrificial victims...etc. you had or sold. In theory, each string was for a different item and each color stood for a different category. The knots were some sort of tallying system. It seems complicated to me, but maybe I could figure it out after studying the user's manual?
And one of the most awesome things about the Larco Museum? They let you venture into their storerooms! You can see any of their pieces that aren't currently on display. Just goes to show how much a museum has on hand at any given time!
After plenty of time spent admiring the different periods of ceramics, we headed to a fabulous restaurant in Miraflores called Alfresco Seafood Restaurant. We actually walked right past it yesterday on our way to the coast! Apparently, they have one of the best bowls of ceviche in the city…which I did not dare try on my just recovered stomach. I got a nice but rather boring lunch of plain chicken and rice. While everybody else snacked on fresh seafood. Sigh. But better boring than sick! On the up side, I did get to try the Lima drink of choice, chicha morada. It’s a sweet drink made from purple corn, star anise, sugar, and cinnamon…though every family in Lima has their own secret recipe. I liked it quite a bit, very refreshing!
In the afternoon, it was time to drive out of Central Lima to go see the Sacred Citadel of Pachacamac. And what better way to start out an adventure than with a few llamas? By the way, do you know the difference between a llama and an alpaca? From what I’ve been told, a llama is bigger than an alpaca, has coarser wool, can carry more weight, and has upper lips that are split from the nose (like a bunny). An alpaca has finer wood and has a solid upper lip. The more you know!
It's a mommy and baby llama! So cute and so silly looking at the same time!
Okay, on to Pachacamac! It was an ancient Inca religious and administrative site where both religious rituals were performed and day to day activities were dealt with. First stop was the Temple of the Moon (known as Acclawasi), where the sacrificial virgins and future concubines were trained. Doesn’t that sound like a cheery place?
No matter what culture or time you are from, a dorm is still going to look like a dorm huh? Though, do notice that the windows are slightly trapezoid in shape. This is a major architectural component of Inca construction.
And across from the Temple of the Moon is the Temple of the Sun. This was quite a hike to get to the base of the pyramid, let alone to the top, but the view was definitely worth it! And yes, it’s still called a pyramid even if it doesn’t exactly look like the Egyptian pyramids. The Inca style is more like a wedding cake with tiers.
Finally made it to the base of the Temple of the Sun, now the trek to the top!!
My giant head at the top of the Temple of the Sun. Behind me on the platform is where they would sacrifice the virgins/children to the sun god. Again, isn't that cheery? Hey, a lot of really good and extremely bad things have been done in the name of religion. I guess the Incas are no different.
This is a view from the climb looking back towards the entrance. The half built mounds of dirt are the remains of administrative buildings that used to function during the Inca Empire.
And the view from the top. No matter how many pictures I attempted, they just can't quite give you a sense of how grand and beautiful the view was. Not to mention, fog was rolling in from the ocean making all of my pictures a little hazy.
After we had finished exploring Pachacamac, we headed for the Barranco district in Lima. This area is famous for the artists, poets, and writers of Lima (i.e. the 2010 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa) It’s also very popular with tourists due to its bohemian vibe, abundance in nightlife, and amazing restaurants. The tour was there to show us the Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs). It is said that if you make a wish, then hold your breath and walk (not run) across the bridge, your wish would come true. I was content just soaking in the area and taking pictures.
It's not a very impressive looking bridge, but it sure is popular! And it's smack dab in a beautiful little park.
And right next to the bridge is this beautiful old church. Apparently, it is no longer in service and is just there for historical and aesthetic significance.
And there you have it! My last day in Lima and I’m happy that I finally got to cover several of the spots that I had on my list. Andy’s classes ended tonight, so I have his undivided attention again starting tomorrow. Also, I have to throw in here that the Westin Hotel in Lima has been fantastic! The guest service is great, the beds are amazingly comfy, the air is purified leaving me completely allergy free, and I’ve really enjoyed our stay! But I guess that’s what you would expect from a Westin. Although, I’ve only stayed at one other Westin, so I find it all pretty snazzy. Tomorrow, we’re off to Cusco! (Click here for more pictures from my tour day in Lima!)