For about ten glorious days, the full Federle family was totally in Lima, Peru (and Mala, and Paracas, and Ica, but I’ll get to those later). If you can imagine it, that means both my Kentucky-side sisters and dad hopped a plane to visit a Spanish speaking country for over a week! Part One of our epic family adventures are as follows.
Ivo and I decided to start off by just showing our exhausted family around Barranco, the neighborhood where we live. The first stop was a trip to Larcomar, the outdoor shopping center that Lima decided to carve into its mountainside. Thanks to an overzealous waiter trying desperately to pull a family full of gringos into his restaurant (he failed), we were able to get a group shot in front of the Pacific ocean:
From there, we walked along the seaside sidewalk for a beautiful view of the Costa Verde, the city, and some more ocean. We took them across the suicide bridge (charmingly named because the city had to erect large plastic windows around its edges to deter its less satisfied residents from jumping off), and then to the much more lovely “Park of Love”.
South America is not especially shy about the passions of the heart; Dad got a good chortle out of wondering how Fort Thomas, Kentucky would react if somebody plopped this in the middle of a local park.
After working up an appetite, we visited Metro– our local grocery store–for some fresh bread and wine for a homemade meal. While Dad marveled at the fruit aisle, Ivo took a special moment to demonstrate his delight in 1) “cuy”, also known as guinea pig, which is a local dish, and 2) freaking out his little sisters.
In the evening, we walked into the small Barranco district to show off the Bridge of Sighs and the stunning beach view. Chrissi, incredibly, was able to capture a photo of the glowing cross erected across the ocean.
Perhaps needless to say, everybody slept well that night.
The next few days were a blur of sightseeing. We adventured a bit further in Barranco and the nearby areas, starting off with a visit to La Rosa Nautica, or “The Nautical Rose”, a restaurant that has been standing in the ocean for about three decades.
Due to its location, you can get a good glimpse at the sea life, from the giant crabs living in the rocks that make up its base, to the perpetually present surfers nearby.
The area is lined with several small botique shops, where they sell traditional items, many made from alpaca fur. If it actually got cold where we are, Ivo and I would definitely be hat buddies.
While we were there, Ivo took Dad out for his first Pisco Sour. Since it was still early for Peruvians to be eating lunch (they usually start about 2pm at the absolute earliest), the place was deserted, allowing the boys to make friends with the English-speaking bar tender. The man happily gave them a lesson (only slightly prompted by Ivo) on why Peru absolutely stomps Chile in terms of Pisco quality.
Dad obviously handled the Pisco pretty well.
A bit further down the road, we visited El Salto del Fraile. Unfortunately, our first stop there, the monk of the famous restaurant (The Leap of the Friar) was not actually there to “leap”.
However, we were able to catch him the following day. Chrissi, the budding photographer that she is, nailed the photos for us:
Ivo also drove us all the way up the hill and into the mountain for a closer look at the giant glowing cross. This one was new for me too; it gave us a gorgeous view of the ocean and a shocking glimpse at how tightly packed the houses are that make up this area of the city.
Conveniently, the trip up the mountain also yielded some fairly accurate photos of what it means to be sisters:
We had a warm welcome too: Several of the neighborhood boys were thrilled to see a friendly family driving slowly up the massive hill. The first time we drove up, they waved cautiously before Ivo motioned that they could hold on to the back of the car while riding their skateboards all the way to the top. When we circled around to drive up again, we apparently interrupted them telling their friends about the experience: In about three stumbling seconds worth of shouting “La gringa, la gringa!” while pointing at Chrissi, they were latched on again for another ride up the hill. As evidenced, they were only too delighted to have their photo taken.
While walking around Barranco, Ivo pulled us into several hidden overlooks as well. Even the more affordable apartments can have beautiful views into the misty ocean and over the Costa Verde.
While we were there, Ivo was even inspired to visit some locations in the city he had never seen himself. Just about five minutes from where we live, there is a mansion reminiscent of a European palace crossed with the White House (albeit, on a smaller scale). This home apparently used to belong to an exceedingly wealthy family; ultimately, one son chose to donate the place to the arts, and the home became a museum.
We also got to look a modern exhibit in a newer building off the side. I doubt the people with dressers more ornate than the ceilings of the Louvre would have much appreciated this artist’s rock stacking, but it was interesting to see the contrast between old and new.
Through no fault of our own– since the doors were wide open and there were no guards in sight, the whole Federle family also wandered into the main house, where the contrast between old and new continued.
I noticed this in another museum we visited, and I think I love it: art pieces preserved from a few centuries ago surround a single modern piece placed in the center of the room. Although the quality of the modern pieces varied, seeing a modern artist’s interpretation of the same or similar emotions depicted in the surrounding older works sometimes helped to enhance the experience.
After about twenty minutes of this, though, we found ourselves getting hustled out of the main house: Not only were they closing… but apparently tickets to see the “good stuff” cost about $10 extra per person. Fortunately, thanks to some Spanish sweet talking on Ivo’s part, we were politely booted out with roughly $50 in savings and some cool photos.
More to come soon!