We finally stopped signing up for guided tours and spent Sunday and Monday walking in Lima independently. We decided on Sunday morning to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, so ordered an Uber to take us there. This time, I don’t blame Google. It was closed to set up a new exhibit so we couldn’t get in, but it was supposed to be open. The lady at the ticket counter told us that they had put a notice on the website that it wouldn’t be open today, but I suspect they neglected to add it to the English language version that we had perused prior to our attempted visit.
We had downloaded a self-guided walking tour that we would take after the museum, so we just set out on that. We were in the Barranco district, south of Miraflores so we saw some Tuk Tuks.
These are barred from operating in wealthy areas like Miraflores but are used extensively in other parts of the city.
We walked from the museum down Avenida San Martin, where we encountered some poorly maintained gothic mansions, a 5-star luxury hotel (Hotel B) and some popular restaurants with people queuing outside. We dallied at none of these and pressed on deeper into Barranco until we reached Parque Federico Villareal. This houses the dilapidated church Iglesia La Ermita which suffered damage in a recent earthquake and the funds haven’t been found to undertake the required substantial remedial works.
But the vultures enjoy the undisturbed perching points.
From the church, we crossed Barranco’s Bridge of Sighs, which looks nothing like its Venice namesake, leading to the Bajada de Banos. In this context, Banos refers to the beaches which is confusing because we passed a lot of playas as well, but the playas in this case are parking lots. We carried on across the bridge and walked down Avenida Pedro de Osma until we reached the Mario Testino museum.
I was aware of Testino’s photography but hadn’t realised he was Peruvian until now. This is an interesting place full of examples of his celebrity portrait work, but there’s also a room dedicated to a personal project of his where he is collecting images of native Americans in traditional dress. An interesting museum and well worth a visit.
From here, we carried on down the avenue until we reached the Museo Pedro de Osma, which we decided to visit as well.
This is full of Peruvian religious art, but also houses a collection of South American decorative gold and silver pieces and coins.
When we emerged from here, we found ourselves at the southern end of Barranco, at the border with Chorrillos, so decided to retrace our steps. As we walked back up the avenue, our attention was drawn to a group of dancers who were performing on the other side of the street from us and seemed to be getting photos taken for some publicity work.
We walked past a restaurant called Tio Mario which offered Peruvian specialities so we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner there. After we had eaten, we walked back along the seafront hilltops for a while before eventually fading in the heat and summoning an Uber to get us back to the hotel and calling it a night.
On Monday, we decided that we would re-visit the historic centre so took an uber to the Plaza San Martin and took a walk through town.
There’s an organisation called Arte Express that has acquired a huge number of historic buildings across central Lima. It seems to have been structured as a charity whose aim is to preserve key buildings in the city and they certainly seem to be doing a great job of maintaining the buildings in their portfolio. We went into one of them, Edificio Wiese, to enjoy a coffee in their ground floor cafe.
Refreshed, we walked at random through the rest of the town, but the eventual aim was to arrive at Bar Cordano, the oldest bar in Lima. The bar had been pointed out to us on our guided walk but we didn’t get the opportunity to step inside it, so we wanted to see it at our leisure.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it definitely has the feel of the city’s oldest bar once you’re inside.
What I love about this photo is that, if you look in the top right, there’s a photo of the bar taken in the 1920s and it looks exactly the same.
After our brief refreshment here, we headed back to the hotel to relax and play the instruments. In the evening, we walked down to a Peruvian restaurant called Panchita and enjoyed an excellent meal that we finished off with a glass of Pisco – Peru’s favourite spirit – and shared a wonderful dessert called suspiro limeno. Our only regret was waiting until our last night before ordering this.
A slow stroll back to the hotel with a cursory attempt at packing before retiring for the night. This was a pleasant farewell to Peru. Tomorrow, Mexico!