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PERU - FIRST DAYS OF EXPLORING

sunny 24 °C

Sunday, April 6, 2014.

An early start to the airport for 5 a.m.
We arrived at St. John's airport without any snags, Eldon, Amy who has been visiting for the last wonderful week, and me. Check in was smooth, as was the first leg of the trip to Halifax, where Amy parted our company, on her way to Chicago. We will see her next at her wedding in Toronto this summer. Our milk run went to Montreal then to Toronto, but then, we got to fly horizontal. Boeing 767 from Toronto to Lima, Peru. I was able to try out those pod-like beds in the front of the plane. It was great for a long flight, though I’d better not get used to it.

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Eldon parting ways with Amy in Halifax

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The "pods" were a great way to sleep away most of the flight to Peru. And we were served better than Air Canada's usual lunch!

23 hours after leaving St. John's, we arrived in Lima, Peru. We breezed through customs and immigration and snagged a cab to our hotel, Miraflores Lodge. All was locked up in the quaint little place when we arrived at 2 a.m. local time, but a sleepy voice greeted us: “Buenas Noches, Bienvenida”

Monday
The next morning we explored our little hotel and the neighbourhood. We have just one day here, so we set off to walk around Miraflores (Spanish for: Look at the flowers). Miraflores is known for its shopping areas, gardens, flower-filled parks and beaches. It is one of the upscale districts that make up the city of Lima. Apparently, due to its safety, far more hotels are found here than in Lima City proper. This little district of just under 100,000 is bustling: Mad drivers! Bad drivers: horns are honking all the time. Pedestrians hop onto the crosswalks before the walk signal - a bit scary with the crazy cabbies everywhere. The roads have mostly public busses and cabs: few motorbikes and almost no bicycles. For a place with a warm climate, we found that shops opened late and that people didn't seem to be on the go as early as we expected.

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Breakfast in a cosy spot at Miraflores Lodge overlooking the courtyard.

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As our hotel had once been a private home, it has many extra touches such as the 100 year old stained glass window of a lady in the courtyard. Another window depicts Machu Piccu.

We chatted to the hotel owner and learned that Miraflores has far more hotels and is more popular because it is a much safer area than Lima centre 10 km away. This little 16 rooms this hotel had gone up in value from 185,000 Soles (approx $70,000) to 2 million soles in the last 5 years.

We found some beautiful old municipal buildings, built in Spanish style, and a lovely park in the centre of Miraflores. From there, we took a tour on one of many double decker tour busses. We drove around the city for an hour and got a feeling for its flavour including a visit to the pre-Inca ruin remaining in Miraflores. We found that the ocean was less than 1 km from our hotel, but not easily accessible. We visited a swanky park and shopping area built overlooking the ocean 100 meter below. We strolled the parks and looked in some shops, then decided on an early night. We will fly early tomorrow morning to Cusco, which is the starting point for a trip to Machu Piccu.

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A stroll around Miraflores allowed us to see lovely buildings such as the church: Iglesia Matriz Virgen Milagrosa Church in Miraflores
You can have a look and listen inside it if you wish. You will have to copy and paste this link: "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T0HgGsN2LI”

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Along the seawalk in the Miraflores district are six miles of parks, and below is a shopping complex called Larcomar.

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The first thing you'll notice about Larcomar, a multilevel entertainment, food and shopping megacomplex, is that you cannot see it from the park.

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The view from a balcony in the swanky shopping complex - no easy way to the beach.
Larcomar has breathtaking ocean views, which you can enjoy from numerous restaurants offering Peruvian fare, while watching the sun set on the Pacific.

Posted by Sue McNicholas 09:31 Archived in Peru

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