|In Lima...on the hunt for Paddington bear! Unfortunately despite hunting all over Lima there isnt a trace of him. Lima is a much nicer city than we had expected, more cosmopolitan and prettier. We arrived quite late at night after delays on our flight and the welcome we received when we came in was one of the warmest we have had anywhere. For the first few nights we stayed in Hostal El Patio in the nicer area of lima, Miraflores (thanks Zoe and Mark for the hint!). When we had settled in a bit we moved to a cheaper hostal around the corner, which we thought was nice enough for the price. We knew there was something a little odd about the place but couldnt quite put our fingers on it. Initially we thought there was just one over amorous couple upstairs but after several nights and days of superhuman stamina we realised that we were in fact staying in a brothel....we later spotted the back entrance, waiting room and supply station!!!!
The other thing you instantly notice in Lima is it is cold here! Back to fleeces, jeans and runners. All of Lima is covered in a grey mist all the time, its very dreary here. So you can all feel a little bit better reading about what were up to, now that you guys are in summer and we're in the cold for a bit!
We were a bit wrecked when we got to Lima, both had colds and were quite tired, so we spent a fair few days just hanging around Miraflores, enjoying the shops (well more acurately me enjoying, Donal enduring). We even made it to the cinema!
In the centre of Lima are some amazing buildings, some very well preserved and also a lot of really run down colonial buildings. There are a number of really pretty squares. We spent a day around the Plaza des Armes, the main square in Lima, and met some lovely people who were very helpful and offered us lots of advice including when the protests are on so we know when to stay away from the city centre. The Peruvian national elections are on next week, and the second day we were here one of the presidential candidates was shot (but not killed) so things are a bit tense here at the moment.
We visited all the main museums and started to get our heads around the next set of civilizations. There are some bizarre museums here, the Gold museum (which is expensive and probably not worth it as half their collection was proved fake a few years ago) also houses a huge armoury museum with a large collection of nazi memorabilia, all a little bit creepy. In the centre of Lima was the museum of the spanish inquisition located in the buildings where the inquisitions were actually held, the San Franciscans monastery with their underground catacombs where they neatly arranged all the bones in pretty designs....creepy. We also went to the church containing the remains of Saint Martin and Saint Rosa de Lima, especially to get some holy water for my Granny. I think we have had our fill of mummies and remains for a bit!
Tommorrow we are going to finally make a move on from here. We are heading up the northern coast and from there will work our way back down the coast again.