Sunday, 7 May 2017

La Merced church, flight to Lima, a wander in the fog along the coast and a fancy dinner

ALLIE: DAY 83: Monday, 7th of May

Flying to Lima, a walk along the coast and a superb dinner at la ‘Rosa Nautica’

the cloister at 'La Merced'
My sleeping problems persist. Every night is a struggle. I don’t know what to do about it. Since our flight doesn’t leave until nearly midday we decide to catch up with the recommended church ‘La Merced’.
Flight to Lima
The 6 soleros are well worth it. The church has a beautiful cloister and the ceilings show exquisite woodcarvings and masonry. We are the only guests. Silence. Only the stones with their 500 years of history speak to you. That’s lovely. Pizarros grave is supposed to be here, but it’s closed for the public. We wonder why? Phil insists to buy me a pair of outrageously looking pink boots. “You must have them, they are just great!”
Coastline along Lima in the fog
Yes, but I do already have loads of shoes and our luggage will be heavier and they are expensive (well for Peruvian standards) – but eventually we do buy them and for our luxurious dinner I am wearing them together with my pink miniskirt.
When we check in for our flight to Lima, the lady offers us an earlier flight and of course we take it. A prearranged taxi brings us straight to our hotel ‘La Senorial’ in Miraflores, a nice area near the coast.
Thick fog hangs over the city and the coast. “That’s normal”, Phil explains, “there is always fog here and it hardly ever clears”. What a great prospective for the next couple of days! “
some brave paragliders
And you can’t swim here, since the sea is too dirty and it’s too cold!” I would get suicidal in such a surrounding. With the fog it’s actually quite chilly. After a late lunch I stroll along the park on the cliffs overlooking the steep coast line.
A few paragliders take their chance to the winds and sail along the cliffs. It’s looks scary. What if they can’t get enough lift and crash against the rocks? But they sail about just like birds. Suddenly a ray of sun. Wow! I must be lucky.
Phil insists in taking me to the most famous (and probably expensive!) restaurant in Lima: the ‘Rosa Nautica’.
This restaurant is situated on an old pier built by the Brits a hundred years ago. We are lucky and get a table right overlooking the bashing waves.
At the famous 'Rosa Nautica'
The interior decorations are in style with the old wooden building and food and wine are excellent! We have a cerviche and a bottle of nicely oaked Chardonnay and discuss our further plans and all the stuff that’s going on at home. 
PHIL: Day 83/7 May
looking down from Miraflores
Before leaving for Lima there is one important ecclesiastical monument to visit. The church of La Merced, where conquistador Pissaro is entombed – though sadly not on public view, which may reflect a pro-indigenous policy in the 21st century, or perhaps just ‘restoration in progress’.
It encompasses a superb pillared cloister with oil paintings hung on every wall and ceilings of intricately-carved wood. A monstrance of gold encapsulating the world’s second largest natural pearl (found in Costa Rica and shaped like a mermaid) is the centrepiece of the museum.
beautiful house decorations in Lima
LAN-Peru offer an earlier flight which we take so as to give us chance to catch up on e-mails at Lima airport’s wi-fi network before being picked up by pre-arranged taxi to our hotel in Miraflores. Miraflores is one of Lima’s better suburbs, a mixture of early 20th century villas and early 21st century high-rise blocks sitting overlooking the Pacific on high cliffs of unstable-looking conglomerate earth. 
The whole area is permanently engulfed in sea fog arising from the offshore Humboldt current, with the only seasonal changes being tempting glimpses of sunshine in summer and penetrating drizzle in winter.
 I recall a station engineer in my BOAC/BA days bemoaning life in Lima under the dull grey skies.
challenging modern art
Allie needs her lone walk to help recover from the sleepless night – it is one of her strange remedies. I warn her not to go alone to the beach or wander too far off main thoroughfares as even the best parts of Lima have a bad reputation for street crime.
Peru has, evidently, taken enthusiastically to the technology of the 21st century, with airlines offering very slick on-line check-in and wi-fi (free) in most hotels and airport terminals.

pleasant squares and architecture
A curious anachronism, though, is fuel prices which everywhere are quoted per US gallon rather than litres. It will be interesting to see if this habit prevails elsewhere in South and Central America.
A walk down the cliff to the shoreline takes us to the Rosa Nautica, one of Lima’s institutions which was in sore need of refurbishment when I first visited a decade ago.

 This time the renowned seafood restaurant, perched on a Victorian-style pier over the crashing Pacific waves, is host to clients who look like artists and ambassadors and staffed by impeccably mannered waiters including two Master of Wine sommeliers.
Huge portions (and prices to match) limit us to traditional ceviche (marinated fish) and an excellent Chilean Chardonnay with my requisite heavy oaking.
Allie has dressed for the occasion in her ‘smart hippie’ outfit of short skirt, a woven Inca belt bought in Urubamba, and a pair of pink suede calf-length boots with traditional decoration sewn in that I bought her in Cuzco. I felt quite bland by comparison.

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