Of all the things I expected to see in Peru, a huge statue of two people rolling around and making out was not one of them. And yet, the statue (called “El Beso”, or “The Kiss”) in Parque del Amor (“Park of Love”) is one of Lima’s most popular attractions. You’ll find it on the seaside path in Miraflores, which is a perfect spot for a picnic lunch, rollerblading, cycling or jogging. Visit at sunrise or sunset to join the crowds of cuddling couples taking in some of the city’s best views. In the spirit of this week’s photo challenge, I want to know what is the strangest “romantic” spot you’ve seen while you’re traveling?
I know there is research out there that suggests starting your meal with a broth-based soup can lead you to eat 10% fewer calories overall during that meal. It’s nice, then, that so many healthy vegan and vegetarian restaurants offer a fixed-price lunch menu that starts with soup or salad before offering a main course and dessert.
When I was traveling in Peru, I oddly found that Lima was the most challenging place to find good vegetarian food. Fortunately there was a restaurant called El AlmaZen near my hostel, and on my last day in Lima my schedule aligned with their opening hours so I was able to enjoy their lunch offerings. My meal started with this perfect bowl of soup, full of noodles, fresh herbs, onions and a huge piece of corn with the largest kernals I’d ever seen! It was just what I needed to warm up in the Peruvian winter (remember, July and August are winter in Peru!) and it certainly inspired a number of broth-based soups in my own kitchen when I returned home. If you’re a vegetarian in Lima Peru, you have got to head out to Miraflores for lunch at El AlmaZen!
Canchas are a popular snack across Peru and Ecuador. Restaurants and bars take the dried kernals from a special variety of corn, toss them in oil and then fry them in a hot, hot skillet until they puff up. I suppose they’re like corn nuts, but ten million times better (especially when served like this, with a heavy sprinkling of coarse sea salt). I ate all of these while waiting for a meal that never arrived at a little restaurant in the Paracas Natural Reserve, just a few hours south of Lima.
In a rather plain park in an untouristy neighbourhood just outside of downtown Lima, you can find one of the city’s most popular attractions: the Magic Water Circuit. There are a few different fountains throughout this park, and the highlight is the evening show featuring fountains and lights choreographed to traditional Peruvian music. Time Magazine calls it “surprisingly awesome”, I call it the only picture of motion I could think of to share with you.
I am sitting here in fuzzy PJs beside my (okay, natural gas) fireplace, drinking some green tea, and it’s snowy outside with temperatures expected to reach -20 quite shortly, and I’m really happy to see that this week’s photo challenge is all about warmth.
Last “summer” I went to Peru, and by summer I mean winter, because when it’s my summer break Peruvians are wandering around in down jackets and snow boots. I was unprepared for these cold temperatures (much like in the Baltics in August, but at least that was the northern hemisphere!), so it was a pleasant change to move inland from damp, cold Lima to the sand dunes of Huacachina, Peru (near Ica), where cactii grow year-round and the sun warms the sand dunes enough for you to stick your toes in without worrying about catching hypothermia. If you happen to be in Peru in July, and if you happen to be freezing too, then make sure to add an afternoon on the Huacachina dunes to your itinerary… because everyone deserves a little warmth!