“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”
The thing with traveling alone is that you wake up every morning and it is up to you to make your day great – there is no backup to rely on, nobody to turn to if you’re having a hard day. The other thing about travelling alone is that you will meet some amazing humans, make instant friends for life, and figure out how to live for yourself everyday. When tradgedy strikes (a beloved dog dies back home for example) it can be easy to associate bad memories with the place you are when they occurred . At the same time, it can be so easy to fall in love with back streets and street art when you create loving memories with new friends in the same city! Lima holds both for me!
New cities are always exciting, but getting off a night bus having had minimal sleep, I didn’t feel so excited. But we decided to make the most of it. Walking around the streets in search of good coffee and the park that is supposedly full of cats, a group about to leave on a free walking tour caught our attention and we decided to tag along (maybe due to our sleepiness and impulsive decisions).
What was supposed to be a couple of hours turned into 5 long hours in the heat still wearing our bus clothes, following our guide around the historical centre of Lima. It was fun though, and we got to taste some free pisco and varieties of it! We also got a lot of free chocolate! Learnt how to use the metro system and saw the changing of the guard in the presidential palace. Did you know that the current president of Peru is 78 years old?
Returning to our somewhat dodgy hostel in Miraflores, we got into our swimmers and headed down to the strangest beach I’ve been to yet.
Rocky and stone sands, the constant rushing sound of a rain maker could be heard as the waves washed the rocks over each other with every crash. The hot rocks meant that nothing got sandy, but I imagine in the middle of the day those rocks could fry eggs. There were so many people as well, all lying slightly sunburnt or tanned, umbrellas and children scattered everywhere, and ice cream vendors sweating up and down the stretches of stones. A strange atmosphere but an interesting place not to be dismissed.
My favourite thing about Lima is the parks that line the coast line. Starting from Parque Amor and heading in either direction the skate parks, flowers, buskers, children and bike riders create a buzz of calm energy – I spent a few hours wandering alone through the parks and found a content sort of feeling.
I went to the organic markets which are only on during Saturdays, there was a lot of free tasters of cheese!
Visiting Barranco was possibly the highlight. With good company (new Scottish friends and the lovely girls I had met previously), we explored the streets and enjoyed the art on the streets, giving each other fake facts about a place none of us knew anything about. It was a good laugh and a nice way to end the year.
There isn’t much else to say about Lima except that it’s underestimated. People give it a bad reputation and say it’s boring and just another city – but any new city holds new experiences, and gives off different vibes. Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to fall in love with every new place I go to.
And now for the corny quote of the day:
“I need to move around a bit. To shuffle my surroundings. To wake up in cities I don’t know my way around, and have conversations in languages I cannot entirely comprehend.”
– Beau Taplin
I think there is always excitement in wandering streets of new cities, getting lost and eating new food, listening to the music on the streets and disregarding everyone else’s expectations and judgements of a place.