Join Me on My Peruvian Adventure!
Hi Friends!! After being invited to Peru multiple times by my brother and his lovely wife Avecita, I finally made the trip. They both are anthropologist by training, and have lived in the Amazon and all over this beautiful country. When they moved back to the states, they kept their home in Lima. My mother and youngest daughter Sammy, boarded a plane with me and met Richard, Avecita and their youngest son Sam there for a family vacation!!! I honestly didn’t know what to expect!! I hope you enjoy with me, my Peruvian adventure!
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. This photo shows a shopping mall built on the side of the cliff which is not too far from their home!! With a population of more than 10 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the third-largest city in the Americas, behind São Paulo and Mexico City. And boy, I certainly noticed the amount of people with the crazy honking, driving and traffic!! New York times 10!
Here is our group, eating at La Mar, a restaurant created by the famous chef Gaston Acurio. Open only for lunch, they are known as one of the best Ceviche houses in Peru. I am going to try not to spend too much time on the food throughout the post, but honestly Peru has some of the best in the world. My Mom constantly says “When people ask me what I do in Peru”-she visits often– she says “In Peru we eat!”
Here are just our appetizers served in courses. Starting from top left-Ceviche which is Peru’s national dish. Serious eats describes the dish well and most of the others we enjoyed.
Peru started this cold-“cooked” fish craze with only five simple ingredients: sea bass (corvina) marinated for just minutes in lime juice, onion, salt and, of course, hot chiles (aji). The tenderness of super-fresh fish is heightened by crisp onion, and sides of starchy boiled corn (choclo) and creamy sweet potato (camote) to balance out the texture of the dish. Dry-roasted corn kernels (cancha) sprinkled around add a pleasing crunch.
The tower to the right is filled with fresh octopus, mussels, calamari and scallops, then garnished with yucca. Yucca is a root and tastes kind of like potatoes, but I liked them better. These were mashed and then fried. –AMAZING. The second row is traditional Peruvian potato salad. The left side is made like sushi with fresh fish on top, the right cut like cake. Both beautiful in presentation and delish! It starts with mashed yellow Peruvian potatoes blended with lime, oil and spicy aji Amarillo sauce. This version has shredded chicken mixed with mayo but others have tuna or salmon. It is followed by layers of hardboiled eggs, avocado and olives. Layer after layer, it is served cold as a salad or side.
Sam looks excited to start on his main course. Fresh bass. Grilled, seasoned perfectly and surrounded by my favorite-yucca!!
Salud meaning heath or cheers in Spanish, is a popular expression and a perfect saying when drinking Pisco, the popular brandy produced in the wine-making regions of Peru and Chile. Made by distilling fermented grape juice, it was developed by 16th century Spanish settlers as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain. Pisco sours are its most popular renditions, however it can be sipped over ice or made into lots of concoctions. Not wanting to fall asleep before 5, I ordered a diet coke or Coca sin azucar. I wish I could import these-love!
Walking home from lunch we stopped by a market–there were so many fresh fruits and vegetables many I have never seen. And the chickens?-not so sure about selecting one of these for dinner.
While the rest stopped by a drug store we stopped at a cute shop across the street!! Sammy and I love pink and the heart shaped door!!Jessica Butrich is a shoe designer in Peru! Funky fun and colorful, we didn’t see anything that were perfect for our feet, but we loved the colorful vibe of the store’s interior!!
That night we set out for the museum, Rafael Larco Herrera,
At first I thought this was a necklace, but it is actually a quipus-the main record keeping and accounting system employed by the Incas. It was based on the decimal system, where the system of knots represented single units or 10’s of thousands of units!
Here are a few ancient paintings and tapestries. I really loved seeing the lime wash technique on the walls that we are revitalizing here at Segreto!! I tried to research the style of art of the man with the angle wings to the right but no avail. I purchased a beautiful angle similar to this about 30 years ago, interesting to see that this style of painting was established centuries before.
Well the gold and silver artifacts were amazingly intricate! Some of these artifacts dated back to 2000 BC. It is amazing the craftsmanship mastered without the tools we have available today.
The next day we headed to Paracus, a beach resort about 2 hours outside of Lima. The town Paracas is mainly used as the tourist hub for Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve, all of which we visited. Hotel Paracas, a luxury Collection Resort, was magical and had the most beautiful sunsets I had only before experienced on Pinterest.
It started with hints of blush in the sky and then deepened in tone until both the sky and water was a saturated pink!! Maybe one of my new blush paint colors should be named Paracus Pink!!
The next day we went to Museo De Sitio Julio C. Tello, an archaeology Museum in Peru which sits at the entrance of the Paracas National Reserve. In the 1920’s explorer Julio C Tello discovered burial sites which were over 2,000 years old, providing the exhibits for the museum. This new building was designed by Barclay & Crousse to replace its predecessor which was ruined during the 2007 earthquake. I loved the red pigmented concrete which blended so naturally into the costal desert landscape of the region.
The Paracas culture was an Andean society existing between approximately 800 BCE and 100 BCE, with an extensive knowledge of irrigation and water management and that made significant contributions in the textile arts. The museum hosted mummy’s of the ancient people which were wrapped in cloth and buried sitting up. It also displayed some rocks from The Carboniferous Period which is where the carbon and petroleum that we used today was formed–over 3 million years ago–older than the dinosaurs!!!
We then made our way into the 700,000 acres of the marine reserve which includes beautiful seaside views, mountains and desert. Birders flock to the reserve to see condors, pelicans and flamingos.
If you are adventure seekers I would recommend renting these and making it an all day excursion! You could stop at one of the many fishing villages and have a bit of fresh ceviche. Those roasted corn kernels are my favorite and you can see in the little shot glass is the leftover marinade from the cerviche—known as leche de tigre (tiger’s milk). It is a spicy brew that is drunken as is or spiked with Pisco.
Beautiful!!! The sand with the water is stunning!!
On our way back we stopped to see the flamingo’s on the beach on the edge of the preserve!!!
The next day we were up early to take a boat to the Islas Ballestas. On the way we spied the “The Candelabra of the Andes”, a prehistoric geoglyph which is 2 ft. deep, 600 ft. tall and can be seen from 12 miles away. Pottery found near the design dates back to 200 BC, but the age of the original carving has never been determined.
These islands are home to a large population of endangered or otherwise threatened birds and mammals and were considered one of the best places to mine guano-yes, bird poop-for the fertilizer industry in the mid to late 1800’s. In fact, Peru controlled the entire worlds fertilizer industry before the invention of synthetic fertilizer derived from petroleum. It’s guano enriched Europe and the U.S. agricultural industries with its high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous. During this time, 12 million tons were extracted valued at USD 500 million dollars! As Jim Carey would say in his Ace Ventura series-“All righty then!”
When you get closer you can spot the thousands and thousands of birds and….. look closer–Penguins!! The other birds we saw are Guanay Cormorants, Peruvian Pelicans, and Peruvian Boobies. They are the most important guano-producing seabirds on the Peruvian Coast. During the mid 20th century, the Peruvian Booby reached over 3 million birds!!
Humboldt Penguins make their homes in the rocks burrows. We watched this family hobble down from much higher up and eventually dive into the water.
These South American Sea Lions were once worshiped by the ancient Moche Civilization as spirits of the sea, and were thought by fishermen to keep them safe and send them fish. they were my fav!! After our tour we packed up and headed back to Lima!!
On the way back we had to make serval pit stops!! Most places you have to pay to use the restroom, so look for the cleanest one you can find. Sammy made two friends there, who were the attendants two new pups!!
Hard to get use to in Peru and good to know. Although most establishments do not have this sign, you cannot put toilet paper in any toilet in Peru. Their septic system cannot handle it, so…. there is a trash can by every toilet where the paper goes.
The next morning we headed to downtown Lima! I was so surprised at the French inspired architecture. I felt as if I were in Europe! We went early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic of the weekdays, haha I can’t imagine it being worse!
The historic center of lima was absolutely breathtaking. Behind Sammy is the presidential Palace!
The balconies of Lima are items of cultural heritage built during the Spanish colonial Peru and the Republic of Peru. The brown balcony you see is on the municipal palace. Most of these balconies are of the Colonial period, built in the late 17th and 18th centuries, and located in the Historic Center of Lima.
This is the front door of the Basilica Cathedral of Lima, a Roman Catholic cathedral whose original construction began in 1535, with multiple reconstructions and transformations since. It is dedicated to St John, an Apostle and Evangelist. The main or central gateway is called the Portada del Perdón or the “door of forgiveness”.
In keeping with the majority of cathedrals the front façade has three large doorways. The carving details were incredible on this one!! The church vaults and pillars were destroyed by an earthquake in 1746 and was repaired in two parts first in 1755 and then 1758. It was again renovated internally in the late 19th century and looks pristine now. The Archbishop’s Palace and the Parroquia del Sagrario are situated next to the Cathedral.
As you enter there are 14 side chapels, my model Sammy is standing in front of her favorite one!
I loved the ceilings, with their beautiful lube tone and gold leaf embellishments. We did have a nice young guide give us a tour. I highly recommend that vs. just walking though.
A world wind trip, we went to the markets there and bought gifts for all of my crew, and Charlotte, my operation’s managers daughter of course, before heading to the airport! These lamas made from alpaca fir were a big hit!!
Here is a picture of a birthday event for my Mom that Alicia, Avecita’s sweet sister, hosted at her club with her two grandsons who were just about Sam and Sammy’s age. We did so much more there, much more than I have shown, and I have decided maybe I am an adventurer!! In my mind I am already planning my next trips, one to the Amazon and the other to Machu Picchu!! Thank you so much to my gracious, energetic tour guides!! I am so appreciative of my brother and his family for hosting 3 generations in my Peruvian adventure!!
I so appreciate everyone who voted last week and shared the information with their friends and family. I just got word that ‘Amara Interior Blog Awards are giving away a Leica camera to one lucky voter. Vote to be entered into the giveaway!’ If you voted for Segreto Secrets last week, you can vote for another category for a blog you love and still have the chance to win. I hope everyone does something just for them this week, even a small pamper like taking a bubble bath or reading a book can give you a little recharge !! Till next time! xo Leslie