Lima felt western to me. Staying nearby a fancy shopping centre complete with well known brands and restaurants, overlooking the Pacific Ocean had me feeling like I was anywhere but Peru.
An unfortunate layer of cloud hung over the city the entire few days I was there, and apparently lingers from May to December. Combined with pollution it made for a very grey looking city, aside from the colourful houses and buildings people build in order to try and brighten up the place.
Discovering all of this with me was my cousin Eliza having flown into Lima on Friday morning. Her arrival marks 8 weeks left of my trip – at least until Canada – and it’s exciting to have someone to travel with for the next 6 weeks through Peru and Bolivia. Her presence allows me to avoid meeting people in hostels if I wish, without looking as rude as when I’m solo. It’s also nice to be with someone I’m comfortable with and be with someone who knows me and my background, leaving me to tell stories with less context. From a travel perspective it’s also good to have two people sharing the responsibility of planning, giving me a bit of a break. Her fresh travel excitement has motivated me out of my exhaustion and I’m so happy to be with her and start enjoying the incredible sights of South America with someone I know and love.
On Saturday afternoon we took a walking tour through Barranco, what they call the bohemian neighbourhood of Lima showcasing various street art and cultural decorations. It was beautiful to walk around and interesting to learn of the history and was situated close enough for us to walk back to our hostel in Miraflores, another beautifully decorated area focused on parks, most notably a park of love and a park filled with cats – yes, real and alive – all along the coastline looking over the Pacific.
Downtown provided us with the Plaza de Armas, Government Palace and a significant Cathedral which, despite the grey backdrop were all exciting sites to see. Again, most of the buildings were brightly coloured to contrast against the sky but there’s only so much you can do to make a city seem brighter when the sky constantly gives you nothing.
Following downtown was an Uber to the bus station to make our way down south to Paracas, a town on the coast giving me another beach getaway.