24 hours of food and drink in Barranco, Lima, Peru

Yesterday, after a 22 hour bus journey from Cusco, we arrived in Lima, Peru. The bus journey was comfortable aside from vomiting toddlers, individual bouts of motion sickness and fairly crap food. We had big fancy seats and a little TV screen each so we could watch various film intros in search of English language and Spanish subtitles. We travelled with Cruz del Sur and I’d definitely recommend them for a decent bus in Peru. (It’s worth noting that the journey from Cusco to Lima was, aside from lengthy, harrowing. If you’re not into roads built into the side of cliffs, that must be negotiated at 7.30am, just fly.)

We’re staying in Barranco, a really very attractive part of Lima, and it’s a surprise to be somewhere warm and pretty again. It looks quite Brazilian, which is obviously the best place to resemble.

We went out last night in search of ceviche and found our recommendation closed, so we crossed the road to choice number 2, Canta Rana. After ordering our food, some ceviche and fried calamari, a Peruvian from the next table hopped over and asked if we were Norweigan. We’re not, but he preceded to explain that his uncle owned the restaurant and he knew the best thing on the menu. We happily obliged as he scrapped our order and replaced it. This is the result.

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The picture doesn’t quite do it justice. Ceviche. That’s white fish, marinated in lime juice and olive oil, with corn, sweet potato, a huge ripe avocado and capers. Definitely some garlic in there too. It was phenomenal. The flavours were bold and delicious and complimentary. I’ve read that the juice left over is sometimes mixed with vodka to make a cocktail. There was no juice left over. I slurped every last drop.

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Then we had fried rice (chaufa) with fried prawns and white fish. It was incredible, perfectly greasy and salty after the fresh, light ceviche. Along with 2 bottles of beer, it was all we needed after that bus journey. A delicious meal we were more than happy to pay for. But the curious Peruvian, Hugo, quietly paid our bill. He was certainly a little drunk and extremely generous, though we protested, we’re English after all.

Hugo insisted we visit his bar, Ayahuasca, as it was nearby and had been recently voted in the top 10 new bars in the world. Big words, Hugo. He promised to look after us and made a call to the bar. After a quiet drink in another bar, where a 12 year old looking waiter presented me with a pink rose stolen from a vase, we headed over. Cringing, we tried to explain that Hugo had called ahead for us. We have all the grace and subtlety of Alan Partridge attempting to nab a freebie. Eventually, they understood (Ooo-go, not Hugo) and we sat down at our reserved table with this:

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Pretty nice guy that Ooo-go. Since dinner and drinks were free, we treated ourselves to post dinner carpaccio. This is NOT the way we live. I wish it was.

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We ended up full and drunk and pretty content with our first night in Lima. Delicious food and free champagne. Thanks Hugo, you absolute gent!

Today we woke to more sunshine and wandered around Barranco. Lunch was at Twist Burgers in Barranco, run by some guy from Newcastle. The burgers were pretty tasty. I had the Barranco Burger (anticucho sauce, cheese and grilled chillies)…

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And Oliver had a BBQ Burger (cheese, caramelised onions and bbq sauce)…

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If you have problems (I do), you can view the whole Twist Burgers menu here. I’d like to say I’ll skip dinner, but it ain’t happening. Back to find ceviche place number 1 open this time!

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Machu Picchu Pueblo

Yesterday we took the lazy way to Machu Picchu, a one day organized tour through our hostel. Granted, we had to get up at 4am and take a bus, a train and another bus to get there, but it was nothing compared to the Inca Trail or a jungle trek. We decided on this option because the Inca Trail is closed throughout February’s rainy entirety and books up months in advance anyway. We planned to do the jungle trek option, four days and three nights of mountain biking, rafting and zip lining. But it’s been pouring of rain every day since we arrived and it didn’t seem quite so appealing to be outdoors, soaking, miserable for four days.

So a one day visit it was. And it was lovely to take a fancy train to Machu Picchu Pueblo, the town at the base of the mountain that Machu Picchu is built upon. From there we took a nerve shattering bus journey up winding roads on the side of the mountain to the site entrance. I’ll never willingly reach this altitude again in my life. Every journey is terrifying and an unnecessary lesson in fear. Along with their disregard for safety or comfort, Bolivians and Peruvians just love building things on top of fucking mountains. I realise I am my father’s daughter when I say I’ll be happy to be at sea level with a cheddar and branston pickle sandwich.

Here are some pictures from the journey before and after Machu Picchu.

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bike rides in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta del Este, Uruguay is the so called ‘Monaco of South America’ because it’s population swells from around 9000 most of the year to several times that in January each year. The town is filled with holiday homes and apartments, fancy restaurants and overpriced shops. It has 2 beautiful beaches and lots of scary purple jellyfish that pretty much ruined that aspect for us.

We stayed at the The Trip hostel, which despite having the worst breakfast in South America, was quite cosy and comfortable. We were gifted a beer upon arrival and enjoyed a dinner or two on the roof terrace, accompanied by some flying cockroaches. We rented bikes for about £6 each a day. They broke down twice, resulting in a stubborn argument between Oliver and I. The pictures are from the nice enjoyable part of the day.

Punta del Este was the last time I swam in the sea, mid December 2013. I know that’s not too long ago, but this cold weather makes me long for the beach and the 6 weeks through Brazil and Uruguay that we took the sunshine and sea for granted. The last river I saw (near Machu Picchu) was rapid rafting material and came with a warning about sewage pollution.

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pictures of Montevideo, Uruguay

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We went to The Manchester cafe (how could we resist?) to find they have their city knowledge spot on! I definitely miss seeing Big Ben on the way to the Arndale.

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Cusco, Peru

We’re in Cusco, Peru now and have been for the last 5 days. We visited Machu Picchu yesterday on the longest day trip of my life, 4am – 10.30pm. It was a pretty nice way to spend Valentine’s Day, which is just a crappy non event that leaves everyone feeling bad. The internet here is terrible so FaceTime is not happening. I’m a little tired now, of moving constantly and of the cold weather in Bolivia and Peru. I think I need some sunshine again, so travelling seems a little lighter and easier.

In a few days we’ll travel to somewhere in Peru I’ve forgotten the name of and then Lima. From Lima we fly to Bogota, Colombia for a short stay and then onwards to Sydney, Australia for the next leg of our journey. I’m looking forward to the Autumn sunshine and the English language!

More updates and pictures as soon as we move to our next hostel!

Happy Birthday Jill! I hope you have the best day, I’m missing you and your kitchen table! Here’s a picture of some kronuts we found in Cusco, your would-be birthday cake!

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arriving in Salto, Uruguay from Brazil and pictures of Montevideo graffiti

Even though we arrived in Uruguay on 12th December 2013, I still have pictures from Montevideo and Punta del Este to put up! I uploaded our couple of days in Colonia a while back. You can see those pictures in one post here and another post here!

We flew into Salto, Uruguay from Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil because in order to enter Brazil you need proof of onward travel or a return ticket. Actually, Air Europa needed proof of onward travel for us to board in Gatwick. Brazilian customs did not ask a thing, just a stamp in a passport and we were in. We booked this flight a week or so before leaving the UK for this reason. It was the cheapest ticket out of Brazil, about £130 each, but a bus would have been much cheaper, though most probably unbookable from the UK.

Our plane headed to Salto first, then Montevideo. There were around 15 people on our plane, the journey was around 2 hours but included free drinks and snacks. It seemed that flying in this part of the world is kind of a fancy way to travel. We felt spoiled. Anyway, we got to Salto and were the only people getting off the plane. It was hilarious. We walked across the runway to a shed called Salto International Airport. We watched one guy open the underside of the plane and grab our 2 backpacks. We waited inside the shed for ‘immigration’ to come along and the same man then offered us a lift to the bus station. We must have been the only passports in need of a stamp that entire week in Salto. I’ve tried to find pictures online of the airport but to no avail, I wish I’d taken one!

Salto is pretty and friendly and feels safe. We had no idea it’d seem so nice so we’d planned just to land and get a bus onwards to Montevideo that day. We ended up booking a midnight bus to Montevideo to save on accommodation and we spent the day in the bus station/shopping centre/cinema which was totally up our street. We watched En Llamas (The Hunger Games) and enjoyed the first of many cinema trips in this continent!

Yadda, yadda…. we arrived in Montevideo, spent 2 nights there, here are some pictures of the graffiti and art work we saw around.

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wild rover hostel, La Paz

Today the 3 boys are attempting Death Road, while I have the day all to myself. Lovely. Except it’s been raining all day and I could barely escape the hostel for a coffee a few blocks away. The place next door that does nails is closed, the only day I’ve seen it closed, so even a cheeky pedicure is out. Internet is so bad that streaming Netflix is a no no. There’s nothing at all to do but eat, drink and learn Spanish. I slept in too so even a nap isn’t too appealing! I know, it’s a tough life. Just wandering La Paz’s streets casually let’s me imagine that I live in a big city and I can stay for weeks, I look forward to being in one place for more than a week (that isn’t Buenos Aires!) and getting to know it.

We stayed in Loki Hostel for one night and the other 4 in Wild Rover Hostel, two big popular hostels in La Paz and a nice change from the seedy b&bs we’ve stayed in throughout Bolivia!

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