The bus ride south out of the city presented us with the poor side of Lima – shanties with no running water or electricity ran up the hillsides surrounding the city. Poor people from rural areas come to the city in search of jobs and a better life and end up in these shanty towns until they can find a way out.
Our first stop on Friday was a guided tour of Pachacamac – an archeological site that includes the ruins of a number of pre-Incan pyramids and temples. It was hot and humid but the views of the Pacific Ocean from atop the Temple of the Sun we awesome.
Temple of the Sun at Pachacamac
View of the Pacific from the ruins at Pachacamac
We got back on the bus and journeyed a bit further south stopping for ice cream at a little roadside stand that sold lucema (a local fruit) flavored ice cream. They also baked their own olive flavored bread that we also had to sample.
Experiencing lucema flavored ice cream
Baking olive bread
Enjoying both bread and ice cream
Ice cream break
We were on the coast and so we scheduled a stop at a local beach for a chance to swim in the Pacific Ocean. It was a bit overcast, but nobody seemed to mind. It was the first chance for some to swim in ocean water.
All this before lunch; so we took a short lunch break at resort area that offered up a variety of restaurants for us to spread out and sample.
Further south we stopped at a vineyard and distillery. When the Spanish prohibited colonial wine production because it competed with domestic wine production back in Spain, the colonies, which include current day Peru, distilled their wine into a product called pisco. Pisco is now considered the national drink of Peru; usually in the form of a pisco sour.
The foyer of the distillery
The winery 2
The Reception Area
We ended the day at a beautiful hotel in a town called Chicha and it didn’t take long to change into swim suits and dive into the pool. After watching a beautiful sunset, we dined at the hotel restaurant.
The pool at the hotel in Chincha
Students in the pool at the hotel in Chincha
Sunset at the hotel
Relaxing after dinner
More relaxing after dinner
On the second day we visited an organic farm, but that description doesn’t do the experience justice. Several miles across a hard scrabble road that seemed like a moonscape, we arrived at an oasis. Our hosts, Clause and Ilsa, had been farming this land for over 40 years and currently provide an organic nursery for other farmers in the area. They showed us their farm and described the obstacles they overcame over the years in order to maintain it: mud slides, government land seizures, hyper inflation, and terrorists. A unique experience was the pachamanca lunch they provided for us. The pachamanca consists of digging a hole in the ground and building a fire to heat rocks. After the rocks are hot enough, pots of meat are added, and then potatoes, sweet potatoes and fava beans are thrown on and covered with layers of banana leaves and dirt. We dined outside their home in a lush patio and garden setting.
The road to the organic nursery
Keeping cool as we cross the desert on the trip to the organic nursery
Heating stones for the pachamanca lunch
Loading in the pots of rabbit, turkey, and ?
Throw in the potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. and cover with more hot rocks.
Cover with banana leaves
Tour of the farm
Back in time to uncover lunch
Taking lunch up to the house.
Our hosts, Claude and Ilsa
We left the farm after lunch and journeyed further south to the city of Ica and stayed at a hotel literally in an oasis. There are huge sand dunes in this part of Peru that make you believe you are in the Sahara. Our hotel rented dune buggies and we explored the dunes in depth. The experience included snow/sand boards to slide or sand board down the dunes. Sunset in the dunes was a unique experience.
Our hotel really was in an oasis
Students relaxed in the hotel pool that night, but hit the road again Sunday morning. Our stop this day was in Paracas where we boarded excursion boats to visit the Ballestas Islands. The islands are home to over 150 species of marine life including the Humboldt penguin, cormorants, Peruvian boobies, pelicans, and sea lions. (1374, 1380, 1387, 1390, 1391, 1395, 1420, 1425, 1455)
And even more birds
And sea lions
All this in one weekend!
The weekend ended with our return to Lima in time to watch the Packers defeat Atlanta – a great ending to a great weekend.
Stay tuned for week two.