FACTOID: The primary language spoken in Peru is Spanish but our guides all spoke Quechua an indigenous language of the Peruvian Andes spoken by 25 percent of the population of Peru.
FACTOID: Peru freed their black slaves in 1854. Chinese and Japanese arrived in the 1850s as laborers and have had a major influence in Peruvian society. Peru has one of the largest Asian populations in Latin America.
For a few years the Queen has had Machu Picchu on her bucket list. We decided that for her 70th birthday we would go there. We did not make it for that birthday and one year later we decided to go. The Queen began to plan the trip and her research led her to have a specific order that she wanted to do. She found South Adventure Peru Tours. They were the only tour company that was flexible and was willing to do the trip in the order we wanted it done. After we told everyone that we were going some family members asked if they could go also. We wound up with a combined group of 13 people.
Some people were flying from Florida and some from Boston. We all arrived at about the same time and we were met by the tour company. For some reason the sign had son Morgan's name on it.
The entire trip was going to have two days in Lima, seven days touring in the mountain area around Cusco and Machu Picchu and four days along southern coast of Peru near Paracus.
Love Park Along the Pacific
Lima's most famous park is the Love Park. It was inaugurated in 1993 on Valentine's Day. It was built to celebrate love in all its forms. The most famous statue is El Beso (The Kiss).
There were a lot of winding paths through the park. The park was supposedly inspired by the Gaudi park in Barcelona.
The seats and paths were lined with mosaics including this one where the name Walter is written so the Queen's brother-in-law Walter sat down there.
In the park we found some locks on a gated fence. This was similar to the ones in Rome that we have found. An Italian teen author wrote a story about two teens in love who place a lock on a bridge and throw the key in the water. It is now done all over Italy and obviously here also.
Lima sits high on top of a cliff over the ocean. This is the view from the Love Park.
Across from the park was another wide open plaza crowded with people. We found lots of parks in this area of Lima. We were in an area called Miraflores a rather upscale part of Lima.
In this area of the city the streets and parks were very clean. We did see many sanitation people here.
Downtown Historic Lima
The Plaza de Armas or the Plaza Mayor gives a feeling of how the city was in its colonial past. This is the location where Pizarro founded the city in 1535.
The Government Palace is also on the Plaza Mayor and is known as the House of Pizarro. Pizarro built it in 1535 and it is the official seat of the executive branch of the Peruvian government.
The statue of General Jose de San Martin is located in a plaza of his name. He was the General who liberated Peru from the Spanish in 1821. He is the George Washington of Peru.
The San Francisco Monastery was built in the 17th century and is known for its Spanish baroque architecture.
The streets are wide and pedestrian only in major parts of the historic area.
It seems the official drink of Peru is Chicha Morada. The beverage was first made in the high Andes and the major ingredient is corn culli that is purple in color. It turns out we had a lot of it during our stay in Peru.
The Queen loves the colors of Dunkin Donuts. Her nephew Toby stands in the entrance of one in the historic section of Lima.
In the US there are a lot of Peruvian chicken places. In Lima the one that seems to have the largest number of places is Pardos. It is like the US style Peruvian chicken as they are really fast food places. On our first night and being tired from travel some of us ventured to the closest Pardos. It was pretty good and the chicken appeared to be freshly grilled.
For dinner one night we walked to Costazul Seafood Restaurant close to the hotel. Since we were a large group and the place is very small we made a reservation in advance. It was lucky we did since we did not know how popular it is. It is ranked number 19 out of 2600 restaurants in Lima. The food was excellent and the service and owner were great.
The restaurant had some writing on the wall and the Queen added this. It says `For a good time call Nolan in Washington DC USA'.