Friday, January 9, 2015

Saturday and Sunday, December 13-14, 2014 - Callao (Lima), Peru – Mostly Cloudy – 69F

Puntarenas, Costa Rica to Callao, Peru: 1418 Nautical Miles (17.7 knots)

Port Information.  Lima, Peru along with its contiguous port, Callao, has a population of 8.7 million people.  This makes it the third largest city in the Americas and larger than New York City.  The ship is docked at Callao, a short drive from Lima proper.  The traffic is an issue and getting to various parts of the city is a difficult and time consuming process.  Homes in Lima are also secured with both razor wire and electrification.  The city also has a significant Chinese population as demonstrated by the large number of Chinese restaurants (“Chifa”) visible throughout Lima.

It was a dreary, gray, cloudy weekend in Lima, Peru (just like home).  Much of the ship was away at Machu Pichu (on a $1000s of dollar side trip), which gave the rest of us the run of the ship and increased the quiet many fold.  Machu Pichu will have to be part of some future trip.

20141214_Lima Harbor (Small)20141214_Callao port 1 (Small)

In the picture below, the center of the pictures contains a huge pile of scuttled ships.  It’s a kind of marine art placement, that will probably be growing as more ships are added to the heap.  I guess there is no other option for dead ships.

20141214_Callao port pile of junked ships (Small) 

Scuttled Ships in the Harbor

It was a bit late in the cruise, but I started ordering Iced Decaf Mocha Lattes at the International Café.  They were quite good and a perfect drink for sitting and reading in the Atrium.

20141214_International Cafe (Small)

Spending Time with Books and Lattes

We have had a lot of lunches in the Horizon Court Restaurant so I thought it might be a good idea to show a typical lunch – salad from the buffet, a veggie wrap from the buffet, and a slice of pizza (make sure it is freshly made) from Prego’s Pizzeria on the Pool Deck.  Not bad when you combine it with the great views from the Café.

20141214_typical lunch (Small)

Horizon Court Lunch

Now that were about half way through our trip, we thought it would be a good idea to check out some of the other parts of the ship.  One of these places (that practically no one visits) is the “Skywalker Lounge” Disco.  It turned out that this is a very cool place with a moving sidewalk that takes you to the entrance from the elevator.

20141214_at Skywalker Lounge (Small)20141214_Skywalker Lounge escalator (Small)

Skywalker Lounge and Moving Sidewalk

We even got a close up look at all of the workings inside of the stacks on the top deck.

20141214_The stacks GP (Small)

The Stacks

Our tour “Lima City Tour and Gold Museum” will take us to the historical center of Lima, then lunch, and then finally, the Gold Museum of Peru.  As we head out through Callao (not very inviting place) and into Lima (and it’s horrific traffic), we passed a familiar place – a Gold’s Gym Express.

  20141213_Golds Gym Lima (Small)

Gold’s Gym Express (for light workouts?)

The bus did not stop but I did get pictures of the Plaza San Martin.  There is an equestrian statue of the Libertador in the center of the square.  The square is teeming with people today despite the cloudy, cool weather.

20141213_Plaza San Martin (Small) 20141213_Plaza San Martin 1 (Small) 

Plaza San Martin, Lima

The bus did stop at the Plaza Mayor so we could get some pictures of the buildings surrounding the major square.  Staying with the tour, I was unable to get a picture of the Government Palace (still heavily guarded).  I did get a shot of the Cathedral of Lima (completed in 1622).  Some passengers wanted to go into the cathedral but that was not on the itinerary of this trip.

20141213_Cathedral of Lima (Small)

Cathedral of Lima

The tour walked a block northeast of the Plaza Mayor to the San Francisco Monastery (completed in 1774).  The Catacombs, which we did not visit, contained thousands of skulls and bones, and served as a burial place until the city cemetery was opened in 1808.

 20141213_San Francisco Monastery (Small)

San Francisco Monastery

We did get a chance to see the magnificent gardens and monastery buildings.

20141213_ San Francisco Monastery courtyard cloist (Small) 20141213_courtyard San Francisco Monastery (Small) 

Grounds and Gardens – San Francisco Monastery

Our next stop was the Convent of Santo Domingo.  The convent also has picturesque gardens as well as an extensive library (below).

 20141213_Convent of Santo Domingo (Small)

20141213_Santo Domingo Convent (Small) 20141213_Library Santo Domingo Convent (Small) 

20141213_us at Convent Santo Domingo (Small)

Above – Convent of Santo Domingo

Next up – Lunch. We had discussed our need for veggie or fish options for lunch with our guide as well as a rep for the tour company and we were assured that the restaurant would have plenty of options.

The restaurant was called Nuevo Peru

20141213_Lunch venue Nuevo Peru (Small)

The restaurant looked quite new – it had cafeteria bench seating.  The food was found at several buffet stations.  You could also get pasta and meat made to order at one of the stations (we never got to try that).  Instead, we had salads, vegetarian items such as beans (they were delicious), empanadas, tuna dishes (served by one of the staff), French fries, really good bread, and strange but tasty desserts.  When we got there, it was just our passengers but soon at least three other busses arrived.  We were lucky to have gone through the lines early since it was nearly impossible to get food once everyone arrived.

 20141213_ Nuevo Peru (Small)

Nuevo Peru Packed with Patrons

20141213_ Nuevo Peru buffet line tuna server (Small)

Nuevo Peru Tuna Pastry Station

Soft drinks were included so I thought I would try the local “Inca Kola”.  Very sweet and definitely an acquired taste.  It could be what killed off the Incas.

 20141213_Inca Cola (Small)

When we were waiting to leave on the bus, we were told that this lunch would cost more than $30 per person.  I think we did all right and the food was good.

Our next stop, after wandering through good and bad neighborhoods, was the “Gold Museum of Peru”.  There were no pictures allowed inside so only exteriors were taken.  We didn’t stay in the museum too long since it was quite musty in there.  I found the mummies and the weaponry much more interesting that the gold.

  20141213_Gold Museum of Peru (Small) 20141213_Gold Museum canon (Small) 20141213_ Gold Museum benefactor (Small) 

Gold Museum of Peru

Our final stop was the “Indian Market”.  There were many stores selling pretty much the same items.  Still haven’t found a baseball cap that fits.  Passengers spent some money there.  My favorite thing – being called “Caballero” instead of Senor by the store keepers.

It took a fair amount of time to get back to the ship.  The bus tried to find the best routes so it travelled through highly secured homes (barbed wire, razor wire, and electrified fences – the trifecta of security).

Once back on the ship, we went up to the Horizon Café to watch the sail away. 

20141214_ Callao sailaway (Small) 20141214_Callao sailaway 1 (Small)20141214_Horizon Court sailaway (Small)

Lima Peru Sail Away

Chilling out was the plan for the rest of the evening.

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