Our Peru Adventure: Our Last Day in Lima
Guest Blog Post by Lili Mahlab
Following our wonderful buffet breakfast on the top floor of the Miraflores hotel, we checked our bags with the concierge and met up with Gustavo and our driver at 9:00 to head to the Museo Raphael Larco Herrera. Larco Herrera’s son was a renowned archeologist, who wrote several books on Inca history and culture.
The museum houses a spectacular private collection of rare objects with wonderful pottery pieces, jewelry, mummies, tapestries, and more. Gustavo made sure to point out some of the most interesting pieces in the museum and explained their historical significance.
One of the more amazing pieces we saw was the Paracas Mantle. This intricately woven decoration was used to cover a mummy, which is why it’s in such good condition. It dates back to the Paracas culture, a pre-Inca people who lived sometime between 300 BC and 300 AD. They were known for their intricately woven textiles made from alpaca wool and cotton featuring incredibly intricate patterns.
Another interesting piece we saw was this fine example of a “Quipu.” The knotted cords of the Quipus recorded information whether historical or even financial in nature. The colors of the threads, size, and distance of the knots all have meaning, although no one has yet been able to decipher these messages.
This next piece features a mural depicting the art of human sacrifice by the Moche, another pre-Incan culture. It begins with two combatants. The loser is ultimately sacrificed with a “blood-letting” by piercing the carotid artery. The high priest then offers the blood to the Incan nobles to placate the wrath of the gods.
The selection of combatants for ritual sacrifice often came from the strongest and most courageous of warriors. This ceramic piece details elements of the combat and the sacrifice.
We spent the entire morning at the Larco museum and then headed to the Victoria district of Lima, one of the more seedy areas of the town. It’s not recommended to go on your own, but with a guide and driver? No problem!
We had arguably one of the best meals we ate in Peru at Mi Barrunto, a fabulous fish restaurant often frequented by football (soccer) players. We let Gustavo order for us and we were not disappointed.
Lunch began with passion fruit Pisco Sours. Delicious! We had tiradito (5 types of ceviche with different sauces), a “causa” with crabmeat, baked tilapia with garlic chips that was divine, rice with squid and octopus, and delicious desserts including chocolate cake mousse, mango mouse, and others.
After a 20-mile ride to the outskirts of Lima, we visited a valley that was covered by the pre-Inca ruins of Pachacamac. While wandering around the ruins, Gustavo discussed the various structures that remained as well as their uses.
One of the most interesting buildings is the Mamacona, which was a type of “nunnery” that housed women devoted to the worship of the sun god. The women were involved primarily in weaving, although at times, their physical services were offered as well.
The windows were designed in the usual trapezoidal shape so typical of Incan architecture. The building interior was designed as a maze so intruders would find it difficult to penetrate the building’s interior or, for that matter, to find the exit!
We then headed back to Lima for a two-hour rest before heading to our farewell dinner at Panchita, another excellent restaurant from Gaston Arcurio that was opened about two years ago. Michael particularly enjoyed the “lomo” (steak) which was cooked to perfection and was very tender.
You are required to arrive three hours before an international flight. So, by 9:25, we were at the airport in preparation for our flight that left at 20 minutes past midnight. The check in and security process took an hour, although takeoff was delayed by a half hour because the incoming flight was delayed. Once again, the over-the-counter-sleep medication knocked me out for the long 8-hour flight home.
As I sift through the 1,600 photos I took that document this amazing trip, I have been reflecting on the various placed we’ve visited over the past 30 years. We have traveled extensively to many exotic places, including the Serengeti in Tanzania, the Galapagos Islands, multiple regions of Mexico, Argentina, Patagonia, and many European countries. In fact, as a student, I spent two years living in the South of France in Nice and in Strasbourg in Alsace. So I’ve also traveled extensively throughout Europe when I was single and after I married. That said, I loved our “Peruvian adventure” and would definitely place it amongst one of my most interesting vacations.