We didn’t know what to expect from Peru’s capital, Lima. Quite a few people demotivated us to go to the city center (Centro Historico) as it would be boring, ugly and dangerous at night. After a decent courtyard breakfast in our hostel (Kaclla Hostal), we gave it a shot.

From Plaza Grau we walked our way up to Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas via Jiron de la Union. This pedestrian-only street lost its grandeur, but the facades of the lovely neocolonialist and art-deco buildings remain. We walked a big square around that area; from Iglesia de Nazarenas at the left to Barrio Chino (the Chinese district) to the right. The gigantic (140-sq-meter) Plaza de Armas, also known as Plaza Mayor, was surprisingly atmospheric. To the northeast of the square is the grandiose baroque-style Palacio de Gobierno. Its major attraction: the change of (the handsomely uniformed) guards, accompanied by a brass band. It was quite entertaining to watch!

We strolled around and bumped into Mercado Municipal that houses a fresh meat and fish market. We took place in the tiny kitchen of one of the vendors and enjoyed our first ceviche with the locals. So fresh, so tasty! We ended up eating a menu with ceviche, rice with chicken and fresh passion fruit juice for 7 soles – that’s less than 2 euro! Highly recommended, without a doubt.

In the evening we watched the sunset over the sea at the bay at Miraflores. Afterwards we ended the day in amaZ, a restaurant that has dedicated its flavours to the Amazon.

First day in Peru: what a success! Up to Ica!

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