Peru Series: Miraflores

In July 2013 I lead a group of 15 people on a mystical tour of Peru, to include many well-known locations. I will write about each location in this series of articles.

I embarked on this journey because I wanted the experiences in Peru to change something in my soul. Imprint me with a new groove in my soul, and alter the shape of my Being, to some degree, small or large. I know you can experience this depth of change anywhere at any time, but traveling seems to have a special way of making it happen quicker and deeper – if you let it. I also wanted to encourage and support the soul changes that I knew would be available to each of my fellow travelers.

As expected, each person would have their own lessons to master, and would approach their growth in their own way from where they were starting. Over the two weeks and seven locations, these changes would emerge.

But first, we had a soft entry into the land of the Incas.

I was excited to start the trip in Miraflores, a distinctly beautiful suburb of Lima. Miraflores “means look at the flowers”, and that is what you can do here. Starting with the formal entrance to the city, you drive up an ancient cobblestone street lined with trees and flowers that spell out Miraflores. It is only the beginning of the beauty and care that you will find here.

From our hotel, we walked back along this street the next day. It leads to the cliffside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Years ago, I had a past life vision of an ancient lifetime where I was standing at the edge of a very similar cliff, high above the South American coastline. With a llama over my left shoulder, I was staring up at the night sky, looking for familiar aircraft who may be looking to recover me from this planet. I was hoping they would find me and take me back home. While I do not yet have specific memories of the Nazca Lines,which we would see the next day, the idea that they may be signals to attract spacecraft does not seem all that odd to me. I get it.

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On our walk this first day, we arrive at a sculpture park that is wrapped in a mosaic wall that reminds me of Barcelona’s Parque Guell, designed by Antoni Gaudi. In the center of the park is not a war memorial, as found in so many city parks, but a gigantic couple laying together in an embrace. Celebrate love, not war!

From here we walk south along the Malecón, a pathway meandering along the edge of the cliff, with frequent lookouts and parks. One park includes equipment where you could do some strength exercises by using your own weight: do a bench press and your seat lifts, row and you are moving your own weight. A great inspiration for passersby to get even more health benefits from their walk!

We finally reach Lárcomar, a shopping center built into the side of the cliff. On top it appears to be a park. When you walk down the stairs, or drive into the parking lot, you find three levels of shops, restaurants, and kiosks. A great place to enjoy lunch and the local beverages. A couple of us decided to try a pisco sour (the national cocktail) infused with coca leaves. Coca is a taboo in the US because it is used in the manufacture of cocaine and other illicit drugs. However, in Peru, it is a source of a multitude of nutrients and is the main antidote for high altitude sickness when visiting Cusco or Lake Titicaca.

The drink is delicious, the fresh ceviche scrumptious, and the view breathtaking, with sweeping vistas of the shoreline, waves and surfers.

After we are satiated, and have enjoyed a bit of the pre-requisite shopping, we grab taxis to take us to a very special spot. Having been here twice in 2008, I knew it was a place I would have to share with my fellow travelers. La Rosa Nautica. It means the compass that seamen use to navigate the oceans.

DSC01206This charming restaurant is located at the end of a wooden pier that stretches hundreds of yards out over the waves. From here we get a closer look at the surfers and discover brilliantly colored crabs on the rocks alongside the pier.  We stop to take in the sweeping views of the cliffs where we just were – now high above us – and notice a dozen hang-gliders gracefully flying above us like so many condors. They jump off the cliff, and then rise higher and higher, before spiraling down to the shoreline.

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We were completely surprised to find out this restaurant was built in the 1980s. It appears to be a huge antique two-story Victorian gazebo. We enjoyed a cozy happy hour in the restaurant bar, wandered through the gift shops, trying on traditional Peruvian bowler hats, and then took taxis to our next destination.

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AmaZ. I learned of this restaurant just before coming on this trip while watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. AmaZ features AmaZingly gourmet dishes from the wide range of fresh, tropical fruits, vegetables, fishes and meats from the Amazon. Ordering the multi-dish tasting menu, we were treated to a delightful feast of flavors and textures.

After this, we head to our hotel as we will arise early to catch our bus to Paracas to fly over the Nasca Lines.