2 Week South American adventure: Ecuador & Peru – from the high Andes to Darwin’s playground
- Quito, Ecuador (2 Days)
- Galapagos Islands (5 Days)
- Lima (1 Day)
- Cusco (2 Days)
- Machu Picchu (2 Days)
WHEN TO GO:
Seasons are split into cool and dry (June – November) and warm and wet (December – June), with the warmer season being the best time to visit Galápagos for warmer, calmer seas and good underwater visibility.
ECUADOR’S CAPITAL QUITO
Our first port of call was the La Basílica del Voto Nacional. This is a magnificent church, but is relatively newly constructed. It was started in 1892 and was finally blessed by Pope John Paul II on January 30, 1985. The most stunning element of the Basilica was the sun shining through the large stained glass windows throwing a beautiful multi-coloured pattern on the walls, pillar and marble floors of the Basilica.
From the Basilica we took a short drive down to the Plaza de La Independencia located in the heart of the historic quarter of the city. Facing the plaza are important buildings representing the five major seats of power in Quito; the Palacio de Gobierno, the Cathedral, the Municipalidad, the Palacio Arzobispal and the Casa del Alcalde. This square is the governmental and ecumenical hub of the city and, to a large degree, the country. A short walk from the Plaza is la Iglesia de la Merced. This church has a definite Moorish design style. The building is filled with wonderfully ornate altars covered in gold leaf and around the church are a wonderful collection of oil paintings and carvings of religious figures. Our final destination in Quito’s colonial old town is another church – la Iglesia de San Francisco. This is in another plaza, la Plaza San Francisco, just around the corner from Plaza de La Independencia. San Francisco was the first church built in Quito. The church and the Plaza are built upon an Incan temple which was the traditional way the invading Spaniards quelled the Incan culture.
El Panecillo is a hill that is a short distance from the colonial centre that hosts a 45m-high (148-ft.) high statue of the winged virgin; La Virgen de Quito. The Panecillo stands at about 3,000 m (9,840 ft.), so it is an ideal vantage point to see the city. On the way to El Pancecillo we pass through some very disadvantaged areas, where we could see the high level of poverty present in this developing country. Emily was most struck by the number of street dogs loose on the streets of Quito. We climbed to the top of the virgin monument where the peaks of the lush green Andes mountain range were clearly visible in the distance. Quito is a sprawling city covering around 60 km and is home to 1.2 million people, all of which can be seen from El Panecillo.
Mital del Mundo – the Equator.
The Inti Ñan Solar Museum, is dedicated to the culture of Ecuador and the equator. The original monument to the equator is still there but unfortunately modern technology in the form of GPS has shown that it was indeed in the wrong place. The true line of the equator runs through the museum grounds.
The tour takes us through some recreations of the traditional homes of the Ecuadorian people. Finally we reach the point of our quest -the line marking the Equator. Jack takes great pleasure in leaping from the Northern to the Southern hemispheres. Here our guide takes us through a few experiments to demonstrate we actually are on the equator. She takes a metal sink and pours in a bucket of water – here the water goes straight down through the hole in the bottom of the sink. Next we move about a metre into the Northern hemisphere where we repeat the experiment and this time the water spins clockwise down the hole due to the Coriolis effect. We then go into in the Southern hemisphere and do the experiment again and the water goes down the hole this time spinning anti-clockwise. Amazing stuff. We do several more experiments that can only be achieved on the equator – such as balancing eggs on a nail. The end of our tour once again traced the roots of Ecuadorian culture and we got shown some rather gruesome artifacts including real shrunken heads taken from the Amazonian people. There was a gruesome poster showing the steps from decapitation through to the process of shrinking the head. We were also given the opportunity to use a blow pipe and shoot some darts at a cactus.
ECUADOR’S GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
The Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos are about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and consist of 16 main islands and 6 smaller islands. The first Europeans to discover the Galápagos were the Spanish, but subsequently they were frequented by English pirates who used the islands to attack Spanish galleons carrying gold and then latterly by whalers operating in the Pacific Ocean. In 1835 HMS Beagle bought a young Charles Darwin to four of the Islands where he noticed the finches were unique from island to island – through this study Darwin developed his theory of natural selection explaining evolution, which was presented in his book “The Origin of Species”. Since this time Ecuador declared the Galápagos a National Park and in 1978 UNESCO recognised the islands as a World Heritage Site.
- Day 1: Santa Cruz Island
- Day 2: South Plazas Island and Santa Fe Island
- Day 3: Espanola Island
- Day 4: Floreana Island
- Day 5: Santa Cruz Island
Day 1: Santa Cruz Island
Our first stop Santa Cruz Island. We moored up and took some lunch, after which we had our first wet beach landing. This involved a somewhat ungraceful scramble over the side of the inflatable dinghy into the glistening blue waters. Washington took us on our first trek along the sandy beaches of a Galapagos Island. Our first encounters were with the indigenous sea iguanas and an amazing number of red crabs – which flitted in and out of the rocks lining the beach. We also saw the indentations in the sand made by nesting sea turtles. Our tour took us a few feet in land where we found a brackish lagoon in which stood a solitary Galapagos flamingo (there are only 600 in total on the islands). To end our first excursion we donned our wet suits and snorkeling equipment and waded out off the beach to swim among the rocks where we get to see some wonderful reef fish.
Day 2: South Plazas Island and Santa Fe Island
We cruised to South Plazas Island where we had a dry dock landing. The dock was somewhat slippery as it is used by the local sea lion community who line the shore line. A little way into the island we found a small cropping of tall cactus plants, under which sit ever expectant land iguanas. The islands were going through a dry spell so much of the food sources for these iguanas have dried up – what they now wanted was the flowers of these cactus. They sat there waiting patiently for these flowers to drop. The larger males guarded their territory around these cacti resolutely, fending off any intruding males. The female iguanas, as one might expect, are welcome.
We continue our walk around the island where see more iguanas and male sea lions (the males are forced out of the main colonies by the dominant males). At the top of the island where the land drops away as cliffs we find some skeletons of a sea lion and an iguana. The children are fascinated by this somewhat grotesque scene. We are aware too of young sea lions who are clearly distressed and starving. Washington is unable to lie to Emily when she asks if they will be rescued….it’s survival of the fittest here and no-one will intervene.
We wind our way back down to the shoreline and spend some time watching the seals – in particular the pups. There is one new born who is only a matter of hours old – its mother trying to help it into the sea for the first time. It is then time to return to our boat and then on to our next stop Santa Fe Island.
When we arrived at Santa Fe we were greeted by the site of most wonderful natural bay. After a bit of lunch we were free to swim off the back of the Guantanamera. We put on our snorkel gear and we jumped in. There were a few fish who swam by not really taking any notice of us. As we swam nearer the shoreline we could see sea lions skipping through the water ahead of us along the shore line. After a short while we returned to the Guantanamera and climbed aboard the inflatable dinghy and went further out into the bay; to the opposite shore. Here we snorkeled again. This time there were more fish and even more sea lions. Sea lions are equipped with unbounded levels of curiosity and they swam right up to where we were swimming, often getting within inches of us. Washington, our resident naturalist, dived down and did twists and somersaults under the water and the sea lions would copy his actions. One of the main dangers of swimming with sea lions is that there is potential for them to bite – especially a dominant male who is protecting his territory. Karen had one very close encounter with a male who threateningly sweeps past her – teeth bared.
We climbed back into the dinghy and move towards an area often frequented by sea turtles – and we are not disappointed! We climbed back into the water and were able to get within a few feet of these huge creatures. They quite happily rested on the bottom but would come up every 10 minutes for air. So, we wait patiently and eventually as the turtle rose to the surface and we were able to get within inches of these magnificent creatures.
All too soon it was time to go back to the Guantanamera, and get dried off. We still had one more outing for the day, a beach landing on Santa Fe Island. On the beach is a sea lion colony and this was a wonderful opportunity to get some close up shots of sea lions – Jack and Emily were thrilled. There are rules about how close you can approach the animals but they creep up behind you sometimes without you knowing.
From the beach we went inland among the Easter trees and cacti – where we found another species of land iguana waiting for the cacti flowers to fall. More photos are taken and then it was time to go back to the boats.
Day 3: Espanola Island
The wind picked up as we entered more open ocean waters. Our sleeping accommodations were basic with very narrow bunks. Our biggest concern was being thrown out of the bunks by the ocean rollers. Fortunately this did not happen.
We made our first landing of the day in Gardner Bay where there is a wonderful long curved sandy beach. The morning was set aside for leisure – so we took a walk along the beach weaving in and out of the ever present sea lions. Further down the beach were rocks where we find more marine iguanas and red crabs. We also an American Oyster Catcher with its chick. We slowly strolled back to our landing point but still had an hour to kill so I sit down to read while Jack and Emily decided play on the beach and in the sea. The only danger here is the sea lions constantly swimming along the shore line – on a few occasions nearly catching Jack from behind.
We returned to our boat and moved around to our second landing point of the day, Punta Suarez, a rocky landing point on Espanola. The landing was somewhat tricky due to the large pacific rollers crashing down on the island, but we made it without getting our feet wet. There were the usual sea lions and marine iguanas to negotiate when landing, but the main reason for our visit here are the bird colonies. The first colony we come across is the Blue Footed Booby nesting area. These wonderful birds are so named because they have, strangely enough, blue feet. Not a just a single shade but variants from robins egg blue through to aquamarine. They have a strange waddling walk that makes them look somewhat comical on the ground. We have to carefully step in between the homes of nesting birds which seem to be pretty impervious to our presence; even those boobies with hatchlings in their nests. We climbed the hill that took us further into the island. Here we see close up the Galapagos Hawk, the top of the food chain around these parts. Leaving the hawk behind we come to an area which Washington refers to as the “Airport”. This is the area where the Galapagos albatross nests. There are thousands of pairs who come to this one island to mate and nest for their entire lives. Unfortunately, on this day there is not one to be seen in the area – although we catch a glimpse of a single bird flying high above the island. This time of year the albatross live out at sea for months on end only returning for a short period to breed. We did get to see an egg – which is large and the thought of passing this would make your eyes water. From the ‘airport’ we continued to the rugged cliffs at the top of the island, which is where the Nazca Booby nests. These are quite attractive birds but lack the distinctive blue feet of their cousins. They balance precariously high on the tops of the cliffs huddled on their nest – again we are lucky enough to see fledglings at various stages of development. Just being close up to this wildlife is absolutely mind blowing and such a wonderful experience. We sadly have to leave this wonderful place and return to our floating home. After another wonderful dinner we set sail again.
Day 4: Floreana Island
To start our last full day in the Galapagos we make a stop at Floreana Island. Our landing is on a beach which looks like it has green sand because of the olivine crystals in it. It is only about 8:00 am but the equatorial sun is already starting to heat up the day. We climbed up through the island passing some lagoons where there were a handful of Galapagos flamingos feeding on the shrimp hiding among the silt on the bottom. We reached the summit of the island and went down the other side to a wonderful sandy beach. This was a nesting beach for sea turtles and we were lucky enough (how sad are we) to see a pair of turtles mating. This is a slow process taking several hours – so after a few minutes listening to Washington tell us about sea turtles we leave them to their leisurely activities and move on!
We returned to our boat as the heat of the day began to kick in. It was now time for our final snorkeling expedition – and the best has been saved to last!
The Devil’s Crown is the remains of a volcanic caldera which has now been filled by the sea. Our dinghy carried us to the outside of the caldera and we climbed out into the water. Being on the equator you might expect the water to be warm but it was pretty cold (about 72 F) so the initial shock of getting in takes your breath away. The water outside the calderas is about 30 feet deep but the visibility is good and below us we see an assortment of fish, large sting rays and black tipped reef sharks.
Erosion has resulted in some of the caldera’s walls collapsing so we were able to swim inside what would have at one time been an ash and lava producing monster. Here the water is much shallower – perhaps 3 or 4 feet deep – and is clear and pristine. Coral has formed a reef here and the variety of fish is astounding. There are huge star fish the size of dinner plates (shame Emily did not come she would have loved this). Washington finds a small octopus which he picks and passes among us – a very strange sensation holding one of these. By the end it got just a bit fed up and released a small amount of ink – time to let it leave. This was an amazing trip.
Returning to our boat we took a gentle sail around the island to Post Office Bay. Here we made another landing. A few tens of feet off the beach is the Post Office after which the bay is named. This is not your usual post office – it was originally set-up by the local pacific whalers – as a way of getting the mail sent around the world. They would write letters, address them and leave them in the barrels. Passing travellers would look into the barrels and if the letters were addressed to a location to where they were travelling they would pick them out and take them to that address. The tradition still happens today – so we spend some time looking through the mail and some people take some letters to deliver.
We then took a short hike further into the island where we found the entrance to a lava cave (as the name suggests this is a cave formed by volcanic action !!!). This not the nice cave walks that we are used to in the United States where there is plenty of lighting and nice even pathways. No! The descent is down rickety wooden ladders, slippery rocks (they do provide a rope of sorts to cling onto), and we have to provide our own lighting ( a couple of torches/flashlights). As we went deeper the cave had filled up with water. The braver of us continued and eventually the water is so deep you had to swim – and the water was cold. There were a couple of ledges to stand on but it was a little scary. Fortunately, for the more timid of us, the cave did run out after a couple of hundred yards, and after a few minutes of splashing around we decided enough was enough and returned to the dry end of the cave. A very interesting experience indeed! With more than a little relief we returned to the surface and the warm sun soon helped us forget the frigid underground waters. We got a final chance to swim in the sea before it was time to return to our boat and set sail once again.
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island
In recognition of this being our final day in the Galapagos the weather was overcast and there was rain in the air. Our final outing was to the Charles Darwin Research Station. We collected our belongings together for the final time to be transported ashore. Some of our fellow travellers were staying for a further 3 days (lucky blighters) and we were to be replaced by some new travellers. The rest of us were taken ashore and handed over to a new guide for the morning.
Never mind today we getting to see Galapagos giant tortoise. This was to be one of the highlights of our tour. These magnificent animals had almost become extinct being hunted for their meat and their habitats being eroded by man’s encroachment. Fortunately there has been some reversal of this – and the breeding programmes at the Darwin Station are allowing tortoise to be released back into the wild. To our surprise, although we should not have been, each Galapagos Island has it’s own unique brand of tortoise – with 11 different living tortoise variants being recorded. Their carapaces (shells) also vary depending on the type of vegetation on which they feed. Some have carapaces that are tight to their necks, these feed on low vegetation, whilst others come from Islands where their food is higher up and these have a saddle like carapace that allows them to stretch their necks upwards.
Our first stop was the new hatchling area. Some of these were only a few months old and it was difficult to believe at this stage how these will grow into giants. Mind you they live to be about 200 years old so they have plenty of time to get there. In the first enclosure of the adult tortoise we came across the famous Lonesome George – purportedly the rarest living animal. He was the only surviving giant tortoise from the remote island of Pinta. Sadly all attempts to try and breed George had failed. We moved on the other enclosures and were lucky enough to be able to go into the male enclosure where we got within inches of full grown male tortoise. Truly a wonderful experience!
PERU: THE ANCIENT CITY OF CUZCO
One of the first things we noticed about Cuzco is the thinness of the air here – at over 12000 feet altitude sickness is a real problem. As soon as we reached our hotel, the Los Andes, we sat down to catch our breath, and partook of the coca tea – an ancient and seemingly potent aid for preventing the worst effects of altitude sickness.
As we had a planned afternoon tour of ancient Cuzco and the Incan ruins we walked down to the main plaza, Plaza de Armas, in the colonial part of the city to find somewhere for lunch. Fortunately we found a wonderful little restaurant and settled down for a wonderful 3 course meal. Our bellies full we returned to the hotel to await our tour bus.
The first stop on the tour was the large Cathedral, catchily known as the The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin. This is the most prominent structure overlooking the square and is adjoined to a church on either side, the Iglesia Jesus María and Iglesia El Triunfo. Inside is an elaborately carved wooden altar, covered in gold and silver plate. The carved wooden choir stalls are acclaimed to be the finest in the country. Also of interest is the painting “The Last Supper”, which portrays Jesus and his disciples gathered around the table, on which is a central platter with the local Incan delicacy, ‘cuy’ or roasted guinea pig, laid on it.
Leaving the central plaza we made the short journey to the Coricancha Inca Ruins (a Quechua word meaning ‘Golden Courtyard’). The Inca stonework is all that remains of the ancient Temple of the Sun, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. This was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, . The walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold, and the courtyard was filled with golden statues. Spanish reports tell of an opulence that was ‘fabulous beyond belief’. The Church of Santo Domingo was built on the site, using the ruined foundations of the temple that was flattened by the gold hungry Spanish in the 17th century. This is a fine example of Inca stonework being incorporated into the structure of a colonial building. Major earthquakes have severely damaged the church, but the Inca stone walls, built out of huge, tightly-interlocking blocks of stone, still stand as a testimony to their superb architectural skills and sophisticated stone masonry.
We climbed back on our tour bus and traveled high into the hills above the city. Our first stop was Sacsayhuamán, another incredible set of Inca ruins. Leaving the tour bus we got the opportunity to have our photo taken (for a small gratuity) with a lady in traditional dress and her alpacas. The ruins of Sacsayhuamán is the closest and the most remarkable of the Inca ruins to Cuzco. Its proximity to Cuzco and the dimensions of its stones resulted in it being used as a quarry by the Spanish conquistadors, providing building material for their colonial buildings in the city below.
The complex suffered such destruction by the Spanish conquistadors that little is known about the actual purpose these magnificent buildings served. It is usually referred to as a fortress, constructed with high, impenetrable walls, although it is also believed to have been a ceremonial or religious centre. The ruins cover an enormous area, but only about 20 percent of the original complex remains and are a fine example of extraordinary Inca stone masonry. It is estimated the complex took 100 years to build, using thousands of men in its construction. The massive blocks of stone fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar, one of which weighs over 300 tonnes and stands 16ft (5m) tall. The magnificent centre was the site of a infamous bloody battle between the Spanish and the Inca people in 1536 that left thousands of the native people dead.
Today, Sacsayhuamán holds the annual celebrations of Cuzco’s most important festival, Inti Raymi, the sun festival, a spectacular and colourful affair that re-enacts the Inca winter solstice festival every June.
PERU: INCAN RUINS AT MACHU PICCHU
In the darkness of early morning we boarded the train that was to take us from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. The carriages had glass roofs but at this early hour there is not much to see, and with the rain set in even if daylight had broken we would not seen much beyond the rain drenched streets of Cuzco.
The climb out of Cuzco is steep so the train has to make five switch backs to climb out of the valley but soon enough we are headed on our 4 hour journey into the mountains. It is very cold and we gladly take the blankets offered out by the carriage staff. As the day breaks we get to see more of the largely agricultural lands of the valleys. Deeper into the mountain we move into chasms overshadowed by vast mountains -the tops of them remain hidden from view by the hanging clouds. As we approach journey’s end the clouds clear and we are finally able to see to spiralling mountain tops.
We descend from the train in the village of Agua Calientes – where we deposit our bags with the bell hop of our hotel and go off to find our guide, strangely enough called Darwin. He is dressed in bright yellow so finding him is not difficult – and he leads us down through the artisan market to the bus stop. The buses take us on the 20 minute ride from the valley up to Machu Picchu itself. The route takes us up 800 feet on a series of switch backs – Karen has her eyes closed for the most part on this journey as there are precipitous drops off the side of the not- too- wide road. We obviously survive this ordeal and follow Darwin into the ruins.
Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,400 meters (7,875 ft) above sea level. Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It was built around the year 1450, but abandoned a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. The invading Spanish had a habit of destroying the temples and infrastructure of the natives of lands they conquered – fortunately they never found Machu Picchu. Forgotten for centuries, the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. The classic image of Machu Picchu is of the ruins overlooked by the peak of adjoining mountain Wayna Picchu (meaning young peak). We are lucky and despite the poor start to day the clouds have broken and we are blessed with clear skies. Darwin leads us through the houses, streets and temples of the ruins painting a wonderful picture of the Incan way of life and culture – he explains the about the synchronicity of their lives with the seasons and in particular solar cycles. Our favourite phrase of his was “dooooaaality” (duality). It takes an hour and half to complete the tour, even after all this time in this magical place we are still in awe of these magnificent surroundings.
We now have time to ourselves and after a quick bite to eat we decide to walk part of the Inca Trail, an ancient roadway of the Incas leading towards Cuzco. Our aim is not so ambitious- we simply want to reach the Inti-Pata or ‘Sun Gate’ entrance some mile or so away from the main ruins of Machu Picchu. It is a steady uphill climb on a relatively narrow path with steep drops; the walk is not made any easier by the altitude (although we are only at 8000 feet above sea level here!). But the views are amazing. At the Sun Gate we get talking to a very pleasant young Swiss man called Christian. He is on a protracted tour of South America – and his main reason for being here is a cathartic one, wishing to forget the pain of a recent break-up of a relationship. Also he is afraid of heights and is not comfortable with the steep fall away at the side of the paths – so to help him down we talk to him all the way down about the state of modern day education and his career as an Art Advisor to collectors.At one point Karen forgot her own fears as she held his shaking hand!
Sadly we have to leave the ruins and return back down to Agua Calientes. Our next mission is to find our hotel and luggage, which we manage to with a bit of help from a local security guard. The hotel is called the Inti Inn. Unfortunately our room is on the 5th floor and there is no lift – not surprisingly we are out of breath when we finally reach our room, which is somewhat basic. What the heck !We’re only here for one night. We quickly turn around and go out for our meal. We have a voucher for a local restaurant which we soon locate. It is still early but we are tired and imagine things don’t stay open too late around here so we sit down for our meal. We order our food – wanting to try something we go for the grilled Alpaca, apart from Emily who could not bring herself to eat this. The thought had crossed our mind to try the other delicacy – Guinea Pig but the pictures came up showing it being served whole so we decided we could not face this so stuck with the Alpaca. Whilst we were waiting for our food we were entertained by a local musical group, Inka Swing, who played traditional Andean music. Finally our food arrives, and to be honest we find the meat a bit dry – but you have to try these things. After this we return exhausted to our room and collapse into bed.
PERU: LIMA, THE CAPITAL CITY
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as the City of the Kings. It became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and, after the Peruvian War of Independence, the capital of the Republic of Peru.
One of the first things you notice is the traffic – it is very busy, vibrant place. Unfortunately there is not a lot of control on vehicle emissions so the air isn’t too healthy. The second thing you notice is the huge number of minivans and buses, packed with people carrying them to and from work. Lima has a population of 9 million people, out of the total of 27 million for the whole of the country.
Fortunately Lima is a relatively safe country to visit nowadays. This is a contrast to 10 to 15 years ago when the country was almost in a state of civil war. Alas like most countries in the region there is a significant amount of poverty, although the country is wealthy in mineral reserves including being self-sufficient in oil. On our drive to the historical city centre it is evident money is being invested in reconstruction in the infrastructure.
Our first stop wass Plaza de Armas, (main square) the historic centre that is home to the Palace of Government, City Hall and its magnificent 16th century cathedral. We are given a tour of the Cathedral, with its 15 adjoining chapels including one which contains the remains of Francisco Pizarro. The ornate alter and the wonderfully carved the choir stalls make it a worthwhile place to visit.
Next we walk around the corner to the Plaza de San Francisco.This is an excellent example of baroque colonial architecture and is comprised of the Convent of San Francisco, and the Capilla de la Soledad y del Milagro (Chapel of Solitude and of the Miracle). Outside the church there is a long queue of people carrying flowers, which they are using to pay homage to Saint Rose of Lima – the saint of employment. Below the church is an extensive system of catacombs which is now a museum. We descend the steps and pass through the chambers where there are troughs filled with human remains all neatly stacked. The bones are separated out so there are neat piles of skulls, sacrum, femurs etc – somewhat spooky but Jack and Emily are fascinated by these remains. Purportedly the there are some 40,000 buried in the catacombs here. Soon enough it is time to rise to the surface and we move to the more serene environment (an oasis in the context of Lima) of the cloisters, which are famous for the authentic Sevillian tile work, which was completed in 1620. The tile work is lovely but some of the patterns have been completed with odd tile s– in some cases whole sections. As these tiles were made in Seville it took some 12 months for them to arrive in Lima and some would get broken in transit so other tiles were fitted whilst replacements were ordered. The re-order took 12 month to arrive in Seville and another 12 to come – consequently a number of the designs were never truly completed. How the world has shrunk!!!
Our tour of the old town of Lima is finished so we return towards our hotel with a stop to look at the bay. We look down on the Pacific Ocean waves crashing on the beach. The water does not look too inviting from high on the cliffs – and we are told it is pretty polluted here. You would probably sprout a second head if you swum in there too long. Instead we admire a statue of some lovers in an embrace – and there are some young couples attempting their own interpretation. This is not really the place to be for a family of four so we return back to our hotel as we have an early start in the morning for our return trip to the US.