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Lima

Lima is the last destination in Peru, and also the last destination in South America. We fly in from Cuzco, which is a fairly short flight – it certainly beats taking a 21 hour bus that has a tendency of becoming badly delayed due to a combination of bad roads and rainy season.

Upon arrival we again go straight to the Taxi Green counter for a pre-paid car to take us to a hostel we like the look of in the Lonely Planet called Home Peru, but we've not booked anything. It would have been difficult to book a room at this place anyway as it appears to be closed down. Our second choice Red Psycho Llama is full and we head over to Hostal El Patio. We’re in luck and they have a reasonably priced room available, although only for one night after which we can change to a larger more premium room. This guest house is really lovely set in an old colonial mansion. The cheaper room is still very nice and even has a private little patio. The larger and very plush room we stay in for the last night is still reasonably priced, and still much cheaper than the rooms we had in Singapore and Rio de Janeiro but this for a very luxurious room and not the very basic dorm-like rooms of the previous mentioned.

First evening we don’t get up to much but have a dinner and a couple of beers before going back to our hostel to relax. We wake next morning for a very nice breakfast consisting of fruit salad, home made breads, home made olive paste, as well as normal jam.

We arrange to catch up with an old friend of mine Alfredo and around mid day he comes around to pick us up and he takes us to a lovely seafood restaurant called La Mar Cebicheria Peruana where I select for mains the Cacerola Cinco Razas from the A Fuego Lento section - absolutely gorgeous slow-cooked fish stew. If you’re ever in Lima and want a gourmet experience this is a good place to head to for lunch. Alfredo later takes us to the Convento de San Francisco (Saint Francis Monastery) for the catacombs. The catacombs under the monastery were apparently Lima’s first cemetery. It’s estimated 70000 burials were made here, and according to Saul, our guide on the Salkantay Trek, many natives were lured into the monastery by the catholic Spaniards and killed before buried down in the catacombs. Needless to say there are many, many bones and sculls down there that’s been excavated after the tunnels were discovered in 1943. Also in the historical centre around the Plaza Mayor, which is now on UNESCO World Heritage List, there is a lot of magnificent architecture - some dating from the founding of Lima City in the fifteen hundreds. Shame we don't have enough time to explore it more.

[caption id="attachment_2742" align="aligncenter" width="533"]Hannah's starter at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in Miraflores, Lima. Hannah's starter at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana in Miraflores, Lima.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2743" align="aligncenter" width="478"]Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis) in Lima. Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis) in Lima.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2744" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis) in Lima. Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis) in Lima.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2747" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis) in Lima. Church of San Francisco (Saint Francis) in Lima.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2745" align="aligncenter" width="472"]Archbishop's Palace by Plaza Mayor, Lima. Archbishop's Palace by Plaza Mayor, Lima.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2746" align="aligncenter" width="545"]Casa de la Literatura Peruana, Lima. Casa de la Literatura Peruana, Lima.[/caption]

It’s really good to catch up with Alfredo, and in the evening he takes me out to a couple of bars. Hannah was tired from earlier in the day and decides to stay put in our plush room at Hostal El Patio. We head over to the Barranco area and first visit a well known hot-spot called Ayahuasca – a really nice bar and restaurant set in an old mansion. We have a few beers and some gorgeous bar-food before we decide to head over to another also well known place called La Noche. Here we catch the end of a live act that we didn't get to know the name of – we asked the door-man and he’d forgotten - we enjoyed it nonetheless and finished the night here with a few beers before Alfredo dropped me off at our Hostel in the early hours. I have now found the name of the group that was performing at La Noche – they were called “La Sentimental” and below is a little taster of their repertoire.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1NoMZKrbgc&w=560&h=315]

Last day in South America we have a relaxed morning packing our bags and enjoying a large breakfast before getting a taxi to the airport. The flight to San Jose is a three and a half hour journey and again we're flying with TACA Airways. We arrive in San Jose in the early evening, and failing to find a bus and with no tourist information at the airport we have to splash out on a taxi again to take us to our chosen Hostel Green House. The place is a bit run down but the room is very clean and the staff (mum and her two sons) are really friendly and helpful. We only stay in San Jose for the one night before taking the next day's bus to our next destination Montezuma on the Nicoya Peninsular coast.