Thursday, January 22
Thursday is another at sea day—but a lovely temperate day to be outside. I put in two miles on the track then get back tour cabin to find I have a yoga class in 15 min. I’ll be fit today! When we take our breakfast to our favorite outside deck we see a pod of dolphins. What a thrill! We have a wonderful speaker on Peru after lunch to prepare us for Callao/Lima. Four things we didn’t know about Peru: they had a mountain of silver when the Spaniards came; they mine bird guano for huge profits; the Nazca lines are here(the ones referred to in “Chariots of the Gods”; and their pyramids were larger than the ones in Egypt before the Spaniards flooded them to reveal their gold. I order the wild boar and gravy for dinner! The offerings are so diverse—I’ve also had queen fish from Antarctica, buffalo and calamari!
Friday, January 23
We wake up in the harbor of Callao/Lima. (we have traveled 2291.7 miles so far!) We’ll be here till 1pm tomorrow when we sail for Easter Island! Our tour of Lima is an experience of contrasts: we are taken first to the poor part of town (just like home it is nearest to the port), then past some very decorative, multi-storied buildings left from the colonial times (some being the oldest in the city); and then to Miraflores (the second heart of the city)—the prosperous part with banks, businesses and beautiful apartment buildings. Lima has 8 million residents—mostly Mestizo (mixed blood)—and 40% are poor. It was one of the two most noted cities in the Spanish New World (the other was Mexico City). The city was founded in 1575 by Francisco Pizarro, who is credited with drawing the first “line in the sand” when some of his followers wanted to return to Spain. The story is that only 13 stayed. Then we go to the square which is the first heart of the city, Plaza de Armas. It was the site of Pizarro’s home, then used by the Spanish viceroys, and now the home of the President. The Mayoral complex is here too, and a grand Cathedral (patterned like one in Seville, Spain—and the oldest in Lima). We tour the Cathedral which has Pizarro’s bones entombed there; there are also beautiful frescos, carvings (in cedar from Panama), and mosaics (Moorish designs from Spain). The buildings have been restored many times due to earthquakes. From there we walk to the San Francisco Church and tour its monastery; it has a beautiful, green courtyard and many frescos and mosaic, some of which were newly discovered while doing restoration work. We visit a lovely seaside park in Miraflores, Lover’s Park; there is a huge statue there called “the Kiss.” Our last stop is a beautiful home, built in the 20s in downtown Lima. The hostess offers us a tour of her residence and refreshments in her lovely courtyard. We are served canapés and a tasty Andean drink containing a strong liquor from fermented grapes. The evening entertainment back at the ship is folk dancing by a marvelous group called “Incamerica,” great music and dancing, and gorgeous costumes.
Saturday, January 24
Saturday dawns cool and sunny—a good morning to walk the track for our two miles today. We leave the ship to look over the offerings of some shops set us on the dock. At 1 pm we begin our trip to Easter Island—2311 mi away. We will cruise this afternoon and four more full days to get there. There are lots of activities offered to keep us busy, and the days fly by! I will be watching for internet service so I can download to the blog.
Sunday, January 25
Another lovely day on the Pacific. Smooth sailing. Highlights of the day include a lovely church service led by our Captain; we pray especially for our families and friends back home and I get tears in my eyes. The dining room crew has put together a marvelous brunch, and we meet a Finnish lady from Woodbury MN (not far from the Cities?) and her German husband. They are wonderful conversationalist.