After spending a long morning touring the Lima’s colonial center, we moved on to Miraflores – the city’s wealthy suburb on the Pacific Ocean – for lunch. I knew I wanted ceviche, Lima’s premier dish. But first, Roberto took us to El Parque del Amour (Love Park), dominated by El Beso.
The statue, by Victor Delfin, is meant to be a take on Rodin’s famed Kiss statue – only this couple have Peruvian features.
Surrounding the statue are mosaic walls with phrases of love worked into the design. The park opened on Valentine’s Day in 1993 and it’s become a romantic place for couples to watch the sunset.
On a nearby hill, paragliders were jumping off a cliff and sailing over the Pacific Ocean.
And below, surfers were giving the waves a shot.
By this point, we were starved. Lima has been receiving quite a lot of press these days for its culinary scene, mostly based in Miraflores. We settled down for pisco sours and ceviche at La Mar, a modern cevicheria owned by Peruvian celebrity chef Gaston Acurio (he has outposts in Panama, Bogota, Sao Paulo and even San Francisco). Open aired and full of trendy folks just coming from the beach, La Mar was a hopping place. We sat at the bar and nursed our drinks before a table opened up.
Our meal started with plantain chips and a trio of dipping sauces…
…and continued with a plate of tuna sashimi…
And culminated in the delicious ceviche sampler. The fish you see in the picture are placed on top of different Peruvian potatoes.
After lunch, our guide Roberto took us to Museo Larco, a private museum that’s home to one of the most important collections of pre-Columbian art and archeological artifacts in the world.
The collection, which contains about 45,000 pieces, began as the personal hobby of Rafael Larco Herrera in 1925 and was continued by his son, agricultural engineer Rafael Larco Hoyle. In addition to the formal display in the museum, there’s thousands of pieces of pre-Columbian pottery catalogued in floor-to-ceiling glass cases. Seen all at once, it’s a little overwhelming.
Lima has plenty of stray dogs running around, but few cats. Roberto told me that Peruvians don’t like having cats as pets, which is why I enjoyed seeing these jaguar pieces in the display cases.
The Larco Museum itself has pre-Columbian objects and artifacts beyond pottery, including tools and jewelry. Most of the displays have English translations, so you can tour it without a guide.
Some of the pieces were quite graphic. The box above shows a priest preparing a human sacrifice for the Gods. The Larco Museum also has one of the world’s top collections of pre-Columbian erotic pottery. The pieces are fairly explicit so make sure you’re at a safe computer (preferably not at work) when you take a peek.
Thanks to LAN Airlines for sponsoring my trip.