9 August 2017

Lima, Peru

Lima is full of contradictions: preserved colonial buildings sit next to glass skyscrapers and run-down high rises.  Busy roads, traffic jams and packed buses run alongside the wild Pacific coast, surfers, craggy cliffs, and joggers along the ocean promenade.  And, as it's the oft-cited gastronomic capital of the world, there are as many heavenly tasting menus at incredible restaurants (3 of the current World’s 50 Best Restaurants are in Lima) as there are cheap fast food joints and street food stalls.  We loved our time in the Peruvian capital with its buzzy, fast-paced vibe, rich South American culture mixing native Quechua, Hispanic and global influences, and inexpensive world-class cuisine - this is what we got up to in 36 hours...

Emma Louise Layla and coloured tiles in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Starting in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre, we visited the beautiful Iglesia de Santo Domingo with its dusty pink walls, Baroque paintings, antique patterned Spanish tiles, gorgeous courtyard garden and impressive bell tower views, wandered around the nearby Plaza de Armas with the neoclassical 16th-century cathedral, and stumbled across a big ceremonial parade in front of the grand Government Palace.

Colourful buildings in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

With at least twenty restaurants on our list to try, we decided on Cosme for our first foodie stop and jumped in a short taxi to San Isidro near our hotel for lunch.  Celebrated head chef James Berckemeyer serves modern Peruvian cuisine in a chic white space with large windows and a vibrant installation of multicoloured recycled bottles covering the ceiling.  We shared an outstanding quinoa dish with octopus, pesto, avocado and black olives, creamy local giant corn, and mushroom polenta with grana padana, washed down with a glass of fresh Peruvian white.  After seeing it sold everywhere, we tried the peculiarly lurid Inka Cola (which tastes like lemon verbena mixed with bubblegum... not 100% sold on it, but when in Rome) and had coffees before heading back out to explore.

View from the Convento de Santo Domingo bell tower in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

As dusk fell, we headed to the Parque de la Reserva, one of Lima's most popular tourist attractions, to see the huge Circuito Magico del Agua water and laser light display.  It's like a Disneyland show and I loved it: you walk around this interactive series of illuminated, sparkling fountains changing colours, set to classical music and oohs and aahs from the crowds.  It holds the Guinness world record for the biggest fountain complex, and it's definitely worth seeing.  That night, we went for pre-dinner cocktails at Malabar before sampling the fantastic tasting menu at Maras at The Westin.  We were only in Lima for a day and a half at the beginning of our trip, but returned for three days at the end - more on that later - next stop: Lake Titicaca.


Parque de la Reserva, Lima - travel & lifestyle blog

Old church in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Historic quarter, Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Cosme restaurant ceiling in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Blogger Emma Louise Layla in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Inca Kola yellow drink in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Taxi in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Palm tree in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Parade at the Government Palace in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Statue in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Historic centre in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Pink rose in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Emma Louise Layla in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Beautiful architecture in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Historic quarter in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Cosme restaurant in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Plaza Mayor de Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Convento de Santo Domingo in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Orange rose in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Patterned tiles in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Lunch at Cosmo in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Yellow flowers in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Blue building in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

Pretty pink building in Lima, Peru - travel & lifestyle blog

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