Friday, May 16, 2008


From Mexico, we flew to Peru for our final adventures in South America. We spent a few days in Lima enjoying its spoils and working out the most interesting route to get to Cuzco for the culmination of our trip: a 5 day trek on the Inca Trail to see Machu Picchu.
Lima itself it a beautiful and wealthy city. The part we stayed in was exceptionally pretty and only a few minute walk to the ocean. To our surprise, an enormous amount of effort had been put into the parks along the water front.
One thing we did not expect to see was a tribute to former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin.
And then suddenly we were transported back to Barcelona with this Gaudi inspired park.
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We came across these fury creatures making a racket. The beagle and golden retriever were not impressed with this cat who kept its owner on a tight leash.
We were also surprised to learn that Lima has a Spanish Inquisition museum. This is odd considering Spain does not even have one! But Peru was the first country in South America to have the Inquisition imposed upon it making it an apt place for the museum.
Below is the courtroom where members of the Inquisition tribunal met. There is a secret door which allowed witnesses to testify in secret about those suspected of holding heretical beliefs.
Heretics were dressed Ku Klux Klan style and then paraded around Lima on a white horse to shame them. You can also see behind this model the seal of the Spanish Inquisition: The Branch, Cross and Sword.
After a sobering trip to the torture chamber we went for lunch at a nearby cafe. We were lured in by the unexpected prospect of an Israeli breakfast - in our collective opinion, these are the best breakfasts in the world! But our excitement turned to bewilderment as we took a closer look at the menu: coffee with milk or tea, orange juice, 2 x French toast and avocado. Nothing could be further away from a true Israeli Breakfast...
One evening the manager of our hostel took us all to the magical fountain park. There were about 15 different kinds of fountains including the world tallest fountain. We stayed for a music and light show, had dinner and then had THE best pisco sour ever. The hostel manager was a pro and bought the ingredients on the way back to our hostel.
Pisco sour is Peru's national drink but Chile also claims this to be its national drink. Peruvians actually have a town called Pisco so this should have been the end of the dispute. But some feuds are worth fighting for. So Chile named a town Pisco too in the hope this would nullify Peru's claim.
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We decided to head to Arequipa based purely on its proximity to Lake Titicaca and not because we had the first clue as to what was there. Suffice to say we were pleasantly surprised...

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