Our Cruise Continues

Our incredible cruise continues

After crossing the equator we arrived in Lima, Peru for two days.

LIMA, PERU – The port is a working port and we were not allowed to walk around except a very small area around the ship. We could take a shuttle to the entrance of the port but have been advised not to venture out as it is very dangerous, bummer as I love to take my camera and just wander.



We went on a city tour and we saw some beautiful, old Colonial buildings, and I am sure there are fabulous areas, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t impressed with Lima.




Maybe it was because I had such a short glimpse of Lima. Or maybe it was the 10 million people and all that traffic packed into the city. I am sure I would have a different impression if exposed to other parts of Lima but I may never know. I will say, though, in the main old section, the streets were kept very clean, similar to what we have in Cuenca, you see street cleaners everywhere.


First we stopped at the Plaza Mayor, a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Cathedral of Lima, the Presidential Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace. As we were walking to the plaza we past what looked like a school class on an outing. As with kids everywhere, they were friendly, giving us a wave as we passed.


There was lots of hustle and bustle going on around the square.



We didn’t think we would be able to go into the square as it was cordoned off with police and barricades due to some protest demonstration that was to happen.




Our tour guide talked with one of the police and we were able to go into the plaza and walk through to the other side but we didn’t go into any of the buildings. The buildings were beautiful and I would have loved to spend more time taking pictures and going inside to have a look, but as with tour groups, we were rushed back to the bus and on to the next stop.


40Lima12-15-16TourSusan 41Lima12-15-16TourMike

The next stop was the Indian Market which looked like any other market you might wander into when traveling to many other countries. It was filled with little stalls, all selling their crafts. We did stop at one shop that had lots of alpaca items and feeling the fur and fabric made you want to just curl up in them they were so soft.


The final stop was at the Parque del Amor, situated high on the towering cliffs overlooking the ocean.


This was a beautiful little park with walls of mosaic surrounding an imposing statue called “The Kiss.” I would have loved to spend more than the 10 minutes we had here as it had a peace about it that the bustling city didn’t.




I’m glad we experienced what we did but it made me realize how much I would love to see the countryside of Peru and experience the people outside the large city, maybe another trip. Here are some other sites we saw on our tour.




We arrived back at the ship to see all the seagulls having an afternoon siesta on the lines holding the ship.


Our second day in Lima we traveled to the heart of the Pisco Valley and visited two distilleries to learn about pisco making and taste some of the different piscos.


The drive was very interesting and the countryside not at all what we thought it would be. We drove through a huge desert then periodically came across areas with lots of agriculture. They grow and export all sorts of things; cotton, asparagus, grapes potatoes and many other items.




In 1528, the conquistador Francisco Pizarro led an expedition along Peru’s coast and conquered the Incas. The Spanish brought with them grape vines that soon flourished in the dry, arid Peruvian climate. Pisco was developed as a way of using grapes believed to be unsuitable for winemaking and by the 18th century, a new industry was born.



The origin of the name pisco, as well as who first developed it has been hotly disputed between Peru and Chile. Some say that the word “pisco” comes from the Quechuan word “pisqu,” which was the name of a bird found in the Ica valley region of Peru. It might be named after the town of Pisco, from which pisco was shipped to Lima. The name is also said to come from the large pre-Columbian clay pots, called piscos, that are used to ferment the grapes.


In Peru there are four categories of pisco, made from seven varieties of grapes.

Pisco puro is made only from black, non-aromatic grapes, usually the quebranta variety. These were the original grapes brought over from Spain, which supposedly changed and adapted to their new environment, resulting in a unique taste. This is the one I liked.

Have you ever had a Pisco Sour? Pisco Sour is Peru’s national drink and is made with pisco brandy, lemons, simple syrup, egg whites, ice and finished with bitters. It was originated in Lima in the early 1920s by bartender, Victor Vaughn Morris, an American who lived in Peru. I don’t care for Pisco Sours, but today I got to taste some pure Pisco. I like a good brandy and I did enjoy this very much. We tasted three kinds; two aromatic and one non-aromatic. I liked the non-aromatic one and didn’t care for the others as they tasted to flowery.


I read Pisco is technically a brandy made by distilling fermented grape juice. The grapes are fermented into wine, then distilled and then briefly aged before being bottled. But, I also read Peruvian pisco must be aged for a minimum of three months in vessels that cannot in any way alter flavor, like vessels of copper, glass, or stainless steel. No oak is allowed. Peruvian pisco must be bottled directly after aging, without any additives or dilution. While Chilean pisco is pertmitted to be aged in wood barrels. Aged chilean pisco is light amber in color with notes similar to younger cognacs. Also Chilean pisco is sometimes mixed with distilled water to reach the desired alcohol content. We were told the pisco we had today was 45% alcohol. 

64Pisco12-17-16TourThis is the way it was distilled many years ago
69Pisco12-17-16TourThis is the way it was distilled many years ago
71Pisco12-17-16TourThis is the way it was distilled many years ago
91Pisco12-17-16TourThis is the modern distillery today

Since we will be in Chile for a week, I look forward to trying the pisco there and making my own comparison.

Here are some scenes we saw as we were going to and from the ship to Pisco.







COQUIMBO, CHILE – It was my birthday today, 71, and luckily still counting! 


We are in the port town of Coquimbo, just a short way away from La Serena.


This is Chile’s second oldest city, founded in 1544, and our last port before arriving in Santiago tomorrow.Unfortunately, like many port towns, it isn’t safe to wander too far from the port area and since Mike didn’t feel like going off the ship today, I only walked around for about 45 minutes.







There is this huge cross up on the hill that I really wanted to go to but was told it wasn’t safe to walk there and I didn’t want to take a taxi by myself…guess I will have to save that for another trip. The cross is on the very left of this picture. What you can’t see are the windows in the crossbar. We were told you get incredible views of the city and bay from there.


The area I walked around in seemed clean and didn’t seem dangerous but as I was taking a picture of the blue stairs, a car stopped and asked if I spoke Spanish. When I said no, he proceeded, in English, to tell me not to go up the stairs as it was very dangerous to do so. Then, a moment later another, man came out of a building and seeing a couple start up the stairs, went over to them to let them know how unsafe it was. Made me feel good that the local people took the time to make sure we tourists wouldn’t come in harms way.


After that I decided it would be best to end my exploration and I headed back to the ship, but not before stopping along the water’s edge to see what people were doing.




We finished packing as we have to leave our suitcases outside our room before heading off to dinner.

See you in Valparaiso, Chile next time!

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