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The Story of our trip to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador & Galapagos Trip 31.7 to 15.8.10
I would like to share with you the experience of our trip to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and the Galapagos with the Celebrity Xpedition ship from the 31.07.10 until the 15.08.10.
It was a really fantastic trip and I only have good word for the Celebrity Expedition team and ship, it was wonderful.
Please be patient..... I have this story in Spanish...... but it is long and I have to translate it so the English might not be perfect...... and I will take my time .......... chapter by chapter....... but I hope you enjoy it and maybe it will give help and tips to future travelers.
Friday 30th of July 2010 and Saturday 21st of July 2010
The flight from Malaga to Madrid (Spain) was scheduled for Saturday at 9 am and a couple of days before we received a call informing us of the change in the flight time, the new departure time was for 6:55 pm, which meant that we would need to be in the airport by 5:30 am, leave home at 4:30 am and get up between 3:30-4am and this way we would begin a long journey tired. Luckily, my husband, after a lot of difficulty, managed to change the flight on Saturday for another on Friday afternoon - and this was the best decision, it was a perfect solution.
We have worked on Friday morning and caught the flight at 5:40pm to Madrid. The good thing was the next day having had a great nights sleep, a good breakfast and a shower, we then took the flight from Madrid to Lima, Peru at 12:40 pm
The flight was with Iberia and had a duration of 12 hours. Although it is a long flight, I find it much more bearable being a day flight rather than a long flight at night.
Approaching Lima, from the plane we could see the mountains of the Andes:
Having completed all the formalities at the airport, there was somebody waiting for us with a sign with our name for the transfer to the hotel.
On the way to the airport to the hotel the first thing we noticed was the way they drive in Lima. Overtaking on all sides and constantly using the horn! Coming out of their lane into yours and therefore forcing you to also have to change lanes! They turn or make a u-turn where they want, without prior advice. One of the two has to stop but you never know whose turn it is to do so! As they explained, they have one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake!
These are some pictures of the first impressions of everyday life through the different streets that we saw on the way from airport to hotel, in some very normal areas and other better areas (and some really beautiful but these will be a little later in when I explain the excursion of the following day in the centre of Lima):
And the driver reading his newspaper at the traffic lights!:
My attention was drawn seeing a lot of signs pointing the way to the “playa” which means beach in Spanish …....but it didn´t look like the way to the beach and when I asked they told me that they were public parking areas or “beaches of parking areas” …..
There were 7 hours time difference between Spain and Peru and we arrived at 6:30pm local time in Lima (1:30 am in Spain), but we had to get our bodies and minds used to the local time in Lima and therefore we decided to do something and not go straight to bed!
“Magic Circuit of the Water” - Parque de la Reserva - Lima City
Beautiful fountains with playing water, colored lights and laser rays which dance with the music rhythm. This newly revamped park is a pride of Lima's citizens. The Parque de la Reserva was inaugurated by the Mr. Luis Castañeda Mayor of Lima's Municipality (May 2007).
The Magic Circuit of the Water Tour is currently the world record holder for the largest fountain complex in the world, consisting of 13 distinct fountains, many of which are interactive. All of the fountains are lighted at night, many with continuously changing color schemes.
The largest fountain in the Park of the Reserve, named "Magic Fountain" (Fuente Mágica) contains a jet which forces water to a height of over 80 m. Additional attractions are the Tunnel Fountain of Surprises (Fuente Túnel de las Sorpresas), a 35 m walk-thru tunnel of water; the Children's Fountain (Fuente de los Ninos), a walk-in automated fountain; and a tunnel connecting the two sections of the park which contains an exhibition highlighting recent public works projects in Lima. The Fantasia Fountain (Fuente de la Fantasia), site of a regularly-scheduled laser and picture show, is 120 m in length and contains jets that are synchronized to music.
The park gates open Wed-Sun at 4pm, until 10pm. Tickets are sold at the gates and cost only S/.4 soles (that is, some US $1.3): children under four have free admission.
The Fantasy Fountain (Fuente de la Fantasia) is the site of a regularly-scheduled laser and picture shows, where it has a length of 120m and contains a jet that synchronizes to the playing of music.
At 8:30pm was a show where the Magic Fountain expresses the magic, grandeur and overwhelming flow of water. (9.30am Its main feature is formed with water and a majestic figures spectacular Central Geiser over 80m. high, large central dome, “lily” overflowing water and palm trees with a crown of vertical jets and multicolor spray screen to receive the laser projections. Apparently there is an even more impressive show at 9:30am but we couldn´t wait as late as we were extremely late.
It was now 9.15pm and we had not eaten yet and for us (in our home time) it was already 3:15 am so we took a taxi and returned to the hotel.
Right next to the hotel was the promenade with these views ... ... ... .and with a cross lit up at night:
Right reside the hotel was this lovely church:
When we arrived at the hotel the easiest was to just order the room service and after dinner we went to sleep. We slept very well and we woke the next day feeling much better and really looking forward to seeing Lima.
We arrived at the center of Lima which was really beautiful with squares and some impressive buildings with beautiful architecture. The only regret was that the bus didn´t stop and as it had darkened windows we couldn´t take any good photos. But it didn´t worry me as we had booked a private guide for 2pm to show us what we wanted to see so we knew that we could return later to see again the places that we really liked. Nor am I worried as we had hired a private guide for 14h to see what we wanted so we knew we could come back later with confidence to see the most beautiful.
Where we did stop and got off the bus was in the Plaza Mayor, a place that I loved, where the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, Lima Archbishop's Palace, the Palacio Municipal de Lima and the Union Club are all located.
Empezando por el mano izquierda, un edificio del lado sur de la plaza, sede de la Revista Caretas: Starting from the left, the building on the south side of the square are the headquarters of the Magazine Caretas:
Then the Town Hall:
And the Government Palace:
Al otro lado de la plaza está la Casa del Oidor (en el fondo en color amarillo con madera), una de las edificaciones mas antiguas de la ciudad. Aquí habitaba el oidor, enviado de la monarquía española que asesoraba al virrey, y el Palacio Arzobispal:
On the other side of the square is the Casa del Oidor (Magistrate´s House) (in the background with yellow wood), one of the oldest buildings in town. Here lived the judge, sent by the Spanish monarchy which advised the Viceroy and the Archbishop's Palace:
The Archbishop´s Palace: This important place in the middle of town reflects the immense power the church had in Colonial Lima. Constructions for the Cathedral of Lima and the original 'Palacio Arzobispal' started shortly after the foundation of Lima in 1535. The palace was built using only the finest materials shipped in from the old world, like cedar wood and mahogany, tiles from Seville, bronze and marble. In 1924 the Archbishops Palace was completely reconstructed and renovated...
And beside the Archbishop´s Palace is the Catedral:
We went inside and as it was Sunday they were celebrating Mass:
When we left the cathedral we went to the Museum of Central Bank of Peru. This museum consists of paintings about the independence of Peru and about the scenes of war. We could also see some huacos and sculptures of ancient pre-Inca cultures of Peru. There are exhibitions of archaeological ceramics, gold, wood and textiles from the Moche, Chancay, Inca, Lambayeque, Nazca, Chimu and Chavin cultures.
And I couldn´t resist taking a photo of this couple making love, hihihi
It displays the private collection of gold-based Cohen Hugo based on masks, bracelets, nose rings and other pieces typical of the Peruvian coast. It looks like that it should be a valuable collection judging by the security door type that protects safe:
We left the museum, and we walked along different streets. We felt safe at all times because there were so many different kinds of police on all sides:
Even this friendly policeman posing for his photo!
My attention was also attracted by the taxis, we were told that almost anyone can be a taxi driver without requiring a license. You will notice that the numberplate is painted on the side of the car as well as being installed in front and behind and is apparently necessary to avoid car theft, as it is easy to install a number plate but is more difficult o change if you also have to piant the side of the car:
Many taxis also had religious phrases in the back windscreen of the car:
We saw many typical shops and souvenirs along the way:
We even saw that the famous "Octopus Paul" (who “selected” the World Cup match winners, and has just recently died) is famous also in Lima, but we have not heard the end who won: the octopus Paul or the Guinea Pig Jimmy !!!!:
After we walked through some streets we arrived at the Basilica and the Convent of San Francisco de Jesus
The Church and Convent of San Francisco is besides the Cathedral of Lima probably the most significant religious complex in Lima. The church with the impressive main portal, the affiliated convent and the two churches of 'El Milagro' and 'La Soledad' form together the most successful and impressive monument of Colonial architecture in whole Latin America. Under the temple and convent there are underground galleries transformed into gloomy catacombs that served as a cemetery of Lima during the viceroyalty.
It is forbidden to take photos in the catacombs and the following are not my photos but are some taken from the Internet.
It surprised me that the bones of the skeletons were not kept together but they were classified according to the type of bone, in other words all the femur bones were kept together and all the skulls were in another place, etc.
In this place more than 25 thousand people who had lived in Peru in that period were buried. The convent catacombs have a series of subterranean passageways to which the general public have access since 1950.
On the way to the catacombs is the library, some rooms such as hall, the choir and the sacristy. The library is the second largest in Latin America with major works including the first dictionary published by the Royal Academy of Spanish Language.
After this visit we returned to the bus and carried on through the different districts in Lima, arriving at the Miraflores area where we saw the beautiful views of the Chabuca Granda Alameda with the nice restaurant downstairs called "La Rosa Nautica Limeña" built in a breakwater by the sea, so that the view must be spectacular:
In passing from the bus we saw the “Parque del Amor” or Park of Love, which is supposedly inspired in Barcelona:
We returned to the hotel after 1pm…….. just in time to have something quick like a sandwich to eat before our private guide Eduard, from Lima Cabs arrived………..
As I mentioned Edward from Lima Cabs came to pick us up at 2pm. We had contracted him for 3 hours and as we were only going to be in Lima for 1 day we wanted to see the maximum and the idea was a total success as Edward was charming and totally concentrated on showing us exactly what we wanted to do and see.
We returned to the centre in order to see and enjoy what we had just quickly seen in the morning. We started with the Plaza San Martín which is one of the most important areas of the city of Lima.
The square was inaugurated on July 27, 1921 to mark the centenary of the independence of Peru.The design of the plaza was the work of Spanish artist and architect Manuel Piqueras Cotolí. In the middle, there is a monument in honour of General Jose de San Martin, designed by the Spanish sculptor Mariano Benlliure.
The following photo was taken just inside the Grand Hotel Bolivar, which in the twentieth century was the most elegant building of Lima, where this beautiful Ford was parked in the entrance hall:
Then we walked along the Merced Street, a pedestrian walkway connecting the two plazas, Plaza San Martín to the beautiful Plaza Mayor which we had seen earlier in the morning. It is a shopping street and the funny thing is that it was Sunday where you would normally expect to find everything closed but all the shops were open and full of people: