Saturday April 7, 2012
07.04.2012 - 07.04.2012
After breakfast we head to the Larco Museum (Museo Rafael Larco Herrera) in Pueblo Libre, north of Miraflores, by taxi. We can't understand how cabbies here make any money since fares are cheap (this one is 15 soles ~ $6) but gas is quite expensive (~$1.50/L) - they must get a discount we decide.
The Larco is a fantastic private museum - it seems odd that the private museums here are better than the public ones - with a very extensive collection of artefacts from Northern/Central/Southern Peru, all beautifully restored and presented ina first-class facility (Larco's old mansion site on top of an ancient pyramid no less!). There are beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces as well, and we opt for a guided tour which is very informative and well worth the price to gain more insight into the complex history of Peru. There are lots of Mochica pottery and other artefacts (pre-Inca civilization in N Peru), some of it (in a special 'erotic collection') quite bawdy and explicit. In addition to their displayed exhibits, the Larco permits you to walk through their warehouse collection - quite mind-boggling as we explore rooms of floor to ceiling shelves containing thousands more restored items.
We take a taxi back to Hotel Antigua to freshen up and then another to Museo de Oro del Peru in Monterrico (east of Miraflores against the foothills of the Andes). This private museum includes a very impressive collection of gold and other artefacts, as well as a huge collections of weapons and military memorabilia. In 2001 Peruvian government archaeologists charged that most of the museum's collection of artefacts were fakes. The museum sponsors rejected the claims, but the apparently controversy continues to this day. In any event, to our untrained eyes things looked genuine and the collection is certainly very extensive, though less so than the Larco Museum. We avoided being overcharged (x2) by Museo de Oro staff for a taxi ride back to Miraflores by walking a few blocks and hailing one ourselves on the main road.
We have dinner at what we have dubbed Hotel Antigua's 'twilight zone' restaurant (where you may sit but never dine!) since we have tried but not yet successfully ordered/received evening meals (by contract their breakfasts are outstanding and very quick). Success tonight as the reluctant chef gets help from other hotel staff and we enjoy both one of the specials and dessert!