The concierge arranged our taxi for 10:15AM since we had a 12:50 flight from Cusco to Lima. We got up and enjoyed the breakfast spread at Hotel Pension Alemana then quickly visited a few small shops for some last minute gifts. We met back up with Leslie, Christian and Sutton at the airport; they had taken a more extreme approach to the Ollantaytambo/Machu Picchu days involving motor bikes, more hiking and less caution. One fun thing about the Cusco airport is that they make announcements stating that they do NOT announce gate changes over the loudspeaker and to please read the boards – as it was time to board our flight and everyone began approaching the gate, people started turning around, proclaiming the gate had been changed. The boards still showed the same gate though. We asked an attendant and they directed us downstairs to another gate, which had a sign in front of it for a different airline and different destination. And the boards still showed the previous gate for our flight. As our boarding time came and went and we remained standing at this alternately labeled gate, we got nervous and found another employee who stated this was our proper gate despite the lack of announcement and discrepancy from the board and signage. Thirty minutes after our scheduled boarding time, they began to let us through the gate onto the plane, at this gate despite never updating any boards, signs or announcements. You really have to stay on your toes at the Cusco airport.
Once in Lima we, all 5, hopped into 1 taxi and headed to the Airbnb Christian had booked for that night, he was departing Lima the next morning while the rest of us were flying out around midnight tonight. We dropped our bags at his room and then headed to a nice, final dinner – seafood in Lima!! We picked La Mar since both Katie and Leslie had heard good things about it. It was less than a mile from the apartment so we set off through Parque el Olivar (Olive Grove Park) which was really beautiful and pleasant with tons of twisting olive trees, many families laying on the lawn and people out walking their dogs. Ten minutes later we realized we were almost a mile and a half from the restaurant, we’d been going the wrong direction, so we turned around and walked back through the pleasant park.
We arrived at La Mar about 30 minutes before closing, they stop putting orders in at 5PM. They brought out some plantain and sweet potato chips accompanied by a few different dips. We ordered a mixed seafood ceviche (this was far superior to the ceviche we’d had at the Lima market on our first day) and assorted causitas (mashed potato balls topped with variety of toppings) to start. Then we got a crispy maki roll, scallops and clams a la plancha, some kind of sizzling large shrimp, and a seafood fried rice type dish. We went family style on everything and it was all super delicious. We all tried different wines with the highlight being Leslie’s selection – El Enemigo Cab Franc. I think we had just the right amount of food; we didn’t leave much if anything on the table and were all contentedly full, though we intended to cross the street for some gelato afterward. We spent around $35usd each on this meal which was by far the most expensive meal in Peru but still relatively inexpensive for such a gourmet seafood feast.
Across the street was a homemade gelato shop called Amorelado which someone had spotted on our way into La Mar, so we had firm intentions of checking it out after dinner. It was a really cute little shop with encouraging words scattered on the walls and a good number of patrons. We sampled many flavors before selecting 1-2 scoops each and were all very satisfied. We still had a few hours to kill before we had to head to the airport so we asked the gelato shop owner for a recommendation on a place for Christian to get his head shaved, she walked us down the street to a small beauty parlor where they were happy to take care of it. It was so accommodating of her to leave her post at her gelato shop and hand deliver us to the barber ensuring that there was no miscommunication on how he wanted his hair done.
After the haircut, we went back to the gelato shop to ask a group of locals we’d seen for a recommendation of a bar to watch the Olympics. They had a heated debate and finally directed us to The Corner, which is basically like a generic version of Buffalo Wild Wings. There were hilarious posters of, what appeared to be Google search images of athletes blown up and framed on the walls. There was tons of memorabilia from US sports teams all over the wall and it really was a good recommendation for a place to watch the games. We watched a bit of field hockey, women’s handball, men’s basketball, and some local soccer games while sipping Cusquena beers. During this time we found out that our 12:30AM flight had been delayed until 3AM, womp womp. We opted to head to the airport around 11PM anyway because Sutton was on a different flight that was leaving on-time at 1AM. We hopped a cab back to the apartment to pick up our bags and then called an Uber to take us to the airport. Katie and I killed some time in the duty free shop and then made our way to the gate.
At 2:45AM they announced they would begin boarding, they said no water bottles could be brough on board even if they were purchased here at the airport. Also, the boarding procedure would include a thorough check of everyone’s carry-on luggage; I guess United doesn’t trust Lima security to properly check the bags on entry toward the gate. I was super agitated about this because I was exhausted and I had a massive backpack that I had very carefully packed with all of my clothes, toiletries, souvenirs, etc.; I didn’t want anyone ruffling through that stuff. Needless to say, boarding took FOREVER. Eventually all bags were checked, water bottles confiscate, and we were on our way home.
This trip was very memorable, I’m so glad I decided to join this fun group of adventurers for their Peru expedition. I did things I’d never done before, I pushed myself physically and mentally with multiple 3 hour nights of sleep (if you know me, you know I like my sleep 10PM-7AM, always), I met new friends, I saw ancient ruins and some beautiful landscapes from the Creator, I enjoyed the hospitality of Peruvians and indulged in their cuisine, it was great!