I finally packed up my gear and left London. It had been a four year temporary lifestyle. Four years of locum work and travelling the world. Time for one last adventure, one last dash for freedom before arriving home to start a permanent life. Travelling through South and Central America. My dream trip, I had been planning this for years…
The plan: Start in Lima, travel south through Peru, Bolivia and Chile, and down to the tip of Patagonia. Then bus up through Argentina, travel through Brazil, and fly back over to Ecuador. Then continue overland north through Columbia, take a boat over to Panama, and travel through Central America as far as Mexico City. Then home. It should take 10 months or so, it’s a pretty fudged out itinerary and there’s always room for change.
Why am I starting in Lima? Well, its simple really. I have no set plans. I have a fudged out idea of an itinerary but freedom is big on my priority list. And when I looked at that itinerary there seemed to be only one thing that I had to book in advance, the Inca trail. And that is the one and only reason why I am starting in Peru.
Stop one on the South American Adventure, Lima, Peru.
I had heard there wasn’t much to see in Lima, just a big city really. And what did I find? A big, chaotic city.
We landed at about 5pm and took a taxi trough peak hour traffic to the hostel. The chaos was palpable. Non stop car horns, cars pushing their way through, yet somehow it worked. I was in awe, wide eyed and staring out the taxi window. In an attempt not to stay at a party hostel we stayed at ‘Backpackers Family House’ in Miraflores. A nice cosy place.
We found a cheap Mexican place for some food, used our Peruvian Nuevos Soles for the first time, and crashed for the night. There’s nothing quite like night one of a trip, you appreciate every little difference. The strange potato crisps they put in your burger, even cold showers are kind of exciting on day one.
The next morning, after figuring out that only the first 2 people in the bathroom get the hot showers, we checked out Miraflores. It’s a fairly fancy suburb of Lima right on the water, relatively safe and favoured by travellers for accommodation. Walking along by the water we found Miraflores to have a strange fascination with fake white cows, which were dotted along the coast.
Back at the hostel, we made our first friend, an Australian guy named Luke who offered to show us around Lima for the day.
Lima, it seems, is always in a state of chaos. Not just at peak hour. It’s divided into two parts by a river, dividing the have’s and the have not’s. We went on a tour of the Museo de la Inquisicion and saw some graphic statues imitating the torture handed out by the catholic church of that time, which was quite a sobering experience. We also walked through an old monastery which has catacombs buried underneath, it was chilling to say the least but really interesting to take a look at.
After fudging a minimal amount of spanish to get us home, we made dinner with our new found friend Luke. It was then that Luke introduced us to Inca Cola. Inca Cola is a Peruvian soft drink, and straight away it took me back to being a child drinking passiona on a hot summer afternoon in Melbourne. Luke liked it so much he had brought the t-shirt, and I was willing to do the same. After dinner the hostel was kind enough to also introduced us to the Peruvian cocktail ‘Pisco Sour’, the only alcoholic beverage I’ve ever known to successfully mix strong spirits with whipped egg white. You can’t leave Peru without trying it.
We hadn’t planned on being in Lima for long, and so the next morning I woke up extra early to take advantage of being one of the two people to get a hot shower, and we flew out to Cuzco.