On Saturday we flew back to Lima, checked our bags, and got picked up by a local guide who drove us around Lima for a quick day tour.
Our guide Monica was great. We hit some of the tourist sites and some of the cute neighborhoods. When we were planning this we decided to mainly skip Lima and hit Machu Picchu and Cusco instead. This was for two reasons--first, we had not heard many nice things about Lima, and second, the concept of seeing Machu Picchu was totally exciting and turned us into giggling school children. Our brief visit to Lima revealed a city with very appealing aspects and very unappealing aspects. I am glad we didn't spend 4 days there, but there was definitely more that I would have liked to explore. In particular the Barrancas and Miraflores neighborhoods were vibrant and appealing much like Madrid or Barcelona. But the neighborhoods by the airport and shanty towns were depressing and a little frightening. And the fact that the city sits on the coast seemed odd. It wasn't a positive or a negative.
Dinner was at Astrid y Gaston and it was amazing. We totally felt like judges on the Top Chef finale. In particular the ceviche and the northern Peruvian seafood stew were fantastic. Unfortunately, because the election was on Sunday we could not get the wine pairings. They have a rule that no alcohol can be sold for a couple days prior to the election (and voting is mandatory, enforceable by fine). But the food was wonderful nonetheless.
Monica took us back to the airport and then we spent the next 12 hours and then some in transit.
That is Cuzco above because we didn't take any pictures with the phone in Lima.