Thursday April 5
05.04.2012 - 05.04.2012
Our planned city tour starts at 0900 and ends at 1400. This is our last group tour before people start to leave to catch their various flights home.
Ric and I had visited some of the sights included in Miraflores (Park of Love, Huaca Pucllana) but not the tony San Isidro area (many embassies, olive trees and guard posts) and definitely not the downtown Lima area which, as you might imagine in this city of 10m is swarming with people in the spirit of Semana Santa (Easter week).
It was very hot and crowded in Lima's central squares (St. Martin etc) as we caught part of the Cardinal's address in the main Cathedral, standing with 100s of the faithful in the huge vaulted chambers. We walked on to the nearby Church of San Francisco and toured the catacombs beneath and the original library and halls adorned with frescoes and other art from the 1500s.
While most of us then waited for the bus to draw up, Chris managed to wangle a personal tour of one of the serious-looking armored vehicles stationed with military personnel nearby in case of demonstrations. He said it was amazing and that he was given an enthusiastic tour by one of the soldiers, but of course he couldn't understand a word he said!
The group then continued on to Pueblo Libre, another of Lima's many urban districts, to visit the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History with Blanco, our local guide for the day, and Juan. There were some very impressive artefacts, including many Mochica items from Northern Peru that we had not seen previously in our tour of central and southern Peru.
Then back to the Hotel Antigua and many goodbyes as most people leave on flights tonight. A few, Clare/Charlotte and Nat/Chris fly out Friday and then Ric and I will be the last of the group to depart when we leave on Sunday. It is a funny feeling to see these folks with whom we have shared so many adventures going their separate ways to resume their normal lives back home.
Nat has collected email addresses from everyone and we have agreed to submit a few excellent photos to a website he plans to set up so we can share the memories we have all collected. There will definitely be some really stunning pictures among the group - Chris in particular has the gift of seeing things and capturing some beautiful shots all along the way.
In the afternoon Ric and I explore the myriad of little craft stalls organized in plazas north of Kennedy Square in Miraflores where we had some lunch. Tomorrow we plan to walk to the upscale Larco Mar cliffside mall, near the Marriott Hotel on the Miraflores bluffs, but we will certainly return to the market stalls here before we leave.