Well, it took me a little longer than expected to get my first blog post up. I guess that’s due to the lack of sleep the first days, and then just wanting to explore as much as we could while we were in Lima. So now that we’ve reached Ollantaytambo and are taking some time to acclimate, I’ll try to explain what leaving for this journey and the first few days were like.
Over the last few years, the idea of taking a year off to travel has been thrown around quite a bit. What once seemed like only a dream has now become our reality for the next year. As I lay here in our hostel, all I can think about is how fast this day arrived, and how glad I am we actually decided to make it happen.
For as many reasons as there are to go on this trip, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. As satisfying as it was to quit my job knowing the next year would be spent however I decided, I couldn’t help but feel that I was making a mistake. After all, it was a pretty good job at a tech company in Boston that allowed me to live with all my friends in the city we loved.
But by far the hardest part was knowing I wouldn’t see my family and friends again for quite some time. The thought of missing out on what was happening at home was tough, especially with a 5 month old nephew now around. However, it was truly amazing to see how supportive and almost equally excited they all were for me, and the early talks of potential meet ups along the way were even better.
Now onto our first days in Lima. For one thing, it’s way bigger than I had expected and very easy to get lost. A quick Google search showed its population at almost 10 million people. After waking up and realizing I’d left my laptop on the plane the night before (first of many mishaps I’m sure), we set off in the direction of the airport on foot, determined to sightsee for at least a little before having to deal with the airport again.
After seeing some of the the Plaza de Armas and watching the changing of the guards at the Government Palace, we decided we’d keep walking in the direction of the airport in order to see more of the city and also bring down the cost of a taxi. It wasn’t long before we started to notice the area we were walking into wasn’t quite as nice as where we were staying. When we realized we were getting some looks from the locals, we picked out a spot ahead of us and decided we’d catch our taxi there. Another few steps or so and we were stopped by a young woman walking by with her child. She began nervously speaking to us in Spanish, and as I was standing closest and am in every sense a “beginner” at Spanish, I turned to Emily for translation. Turns out the area we were walking into had a notoriously bad reputation for muggings, and the area ahead was known for pickpockets. So without hesitation, we thanked her and grabbed a taxi the rest of the way.
Two days in Lima and we’d now been to the airport twice, but thanks to my new friend Miguel from Jet Blue I got my laptop back. After retrieving the laptop, we quickly headed back towards out hostel and stopped to eat at a place called Tia Magda, recommended by the staff at the 1900 Backpackers Hostel. I’m still not entirely sure what I ate, but it was good. There was a soup that I believe had fish in it, and then chicken with rice, peppers, onions, and potatoes.
We then went to the Circuito Mágico del Agua, which we ended up visiting twice. This was our favorite part of Lima by far. The Magic Water Circuit in Parque de la Reserva has more than a dozen water fountains that light up and move in synchronization with music at night. It’s truly a gem of the city, and we were glad to have seen it once during the day and once at nighttime.
On our second full day in Lima, we went to check out Miraflores, the beachside district of Peru. We took the local bus for the first time, so the ride was incredibly cheap (about 35 cents USD). We went to see the Parque de Amor and walked around the boardwalk a bit, and we found a green space specifically for cats (we’d never seen so many cats in one place). The main strip was a bit touristy and expensive, but we still enjoyed exploring the area.
We set off for the airport (again) to catch a plane to Cusco after our time in Lima was up, but I’ll leave all that for another post.