A Taste of Peru: Discover Lima, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu Day 5

Sunday, October 9th, 2022

This morning we met our Road Scholar group leader Victor. There were 18 of us travelers in our group. We already knew Kathy (from Colorado) that we got to know on our Galápagos Island tour with Road Scholar and Roseanna (from Minnesota) that we got to know on our Road Scholar New Zealand/Australia trip. It was great that we could meet up and travel together in Peru. The fourteen others in our group were great and our group got along well.

After our introductions, we had a speaker, Ricardo Bohl Pazos, who was a geographer. His lecture was “An Overview of Peru”. In the region of Lima, there were 50 districts and 50 mayors. Peru has over 300 volcanoes and 4 are active. He was very interesting.

Our next activity was to board a bus for a tour of the city with our local guide Claudia.

Claudia, our local Lima guide

We visited a local fish market and walked out on the pier in Chorrillos, which is another district of Lima.

Our tour also stopped at the archaelogical site that we toured yesterday, Hauca Pucllana! Claudia led us through the site but it was a quick overview. We were very glad we took the tour yesterday where we climbed to the top and also visited the entire area. After our quick tour we ate lunch at the restaurant that looks over the site. The Huaca Pucllana Restaurant served us a Pisco Sour, the classic Peruvian cocktail. As an appetizer we had ceviche which was a traditional dish in Peru. The main course was beef tips, fries, and rice. We learned that most Peruvian meals are served with two starches! This was true almost everywhere we ate local food. The dessert was caramel cheesecake but when you must eat gluten free, my dessert was ice cream.

After lunch we rode the bus to the historic downtown area of Lima. We walked to the Plaza de Armas which was Lima’s main square. Off of this square was the presidential palace, the cathedral, the municipal palace and private colonial buildings. This square dates to the 16th century.

We visited the Cathedral of Lima that was on the square. It was a Roman Catholic cathedral and it was built between 1602 and 1797. Francisco Pizarro founded Lima and set aside land for the church. The current cathedral was the third built on this site.

In the late 1800s the remains of Francisco Pizarro were moved to the cathedral and placed in one of the chapels in the church.

We got to visit one of the mansions in the historic area of Lima. The Aliaga family owned this beautiful home since the 16th century! It was the oldest dwelling in the Americas that has been home to the same family for 17 generations! Earthquakes have caused the family to do some rebuilding over the years. This mansion was gorgeous.

The home also had secret passageways.

As we walked around the town, we came across a Picarones stand. Some of our group wanted to try these. They said they were very good. The Picarones looked like doughnuts. The main ingredients were squash and sweet potato. They are fried in oil and served with syrup made from charcaca (an unrefined sugar base).

Picarones Stand
Our group tasting the Picarones.

Sites as we walked through downtown Lima.

Santo Domingo was a Dominican convent with a pink bell tower. It was an historic religious site that we toured. It had a large courtyard that was lined with Baroque paintings and vintage Spanish tiles (from the 17th century). The monastery was well preserved.

The Chapter house was where the friars gathered to solve their problems and choose their authorities. It also was the place where the University of San Marcos which was the first Peruvian university and the oldest university in the Americas! It was founded in 1551.

We also visited the monastery’s library. It contained over 25,000 antique texts.

In the library in a case was a book written on the 6th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. He was an Italian poet, writer and philosopher who died in 1321! He was best known for La Commedia or The Divine Comedy!

This evening we had dinner at a local restaurant called La Tiendecita Blanca. The bartender demonstrated how to make the Peruvian Pisco Sour which was also served to us!

It was a busy day of seeing Lima.

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