England, New England and… Peru?

Well, hello! It has been a minute. Here we are fat and happy from some relaxing time at home with friends and family. Our last post was about Jordan and from there we stayed with our friends Alex and An in London for 4 days, then making the hop across the pond to Maine to enjoy the holidays before jetting off again to Peru.

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Downtown London

I had never been to London and it welcomed me with open arms and… snow? Their first snowfall in 5 years, apparently. Just for me! London was cold and wet, just as I expected, but we were warmed by the hospitality of our friends and the flat beer that is actually magical when you step into one of the adorable old pubs.

We also got to see all the great stuff the English stole from the Greeks and Egyptians! So many times in Egypt and Greece there would be signs telling us what used to be there and that it is now in the British museum, so we got to see the stuff and put all those pieces in place. “We’ll just keep these here, where they’re safe,” the English say. I have to admit, they do a great job of protecting and displaying the artifacts, so while it’s a bit of a letdown sometimes when you’re in Greece and part of the Parthenon is missing, at least you know it will be well cared for in England.

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The actual Rosetta Stone, which looks nothing like the replica we saw in Egypt!

We also stopped by to see the crown jewels at the Tower of London and got a nice little tour of the grounds from one of the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary, or if you don’t feel like saying that more than once in your life, Beefeater for short. Ah, the Brits! Did you know they keep ravens on the grounds? They are about 7 that are very healthy-looking and roam around during the day and have a coop at night. There is also (no joke) a Ravenmaster whose job it is to take care of the ravens. They are kept because of an old superstition “if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”. They live 40+ years. I was particularly charmed by the ravens as my mom is an avid crow feeder, dutifully wrapping leftover french fries in napkins and smelling the car up just so she can feed the crows in Maine. So I was careful to document the royal crows’ lifestyle for her.

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A Yeomen Warder of… oh never mind, Beefeater giving us the Tower tour

The jewels, which you can’t take pictures of- has the world’s slowest moving walkway which you get on and it moves you past the lit up jewels. Pretty funny.

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To complete our London experience we also took a double-decker bus, stood in a telephone booth, went to a play, ate fish and chips, bought tea, saw the changing of the guard and went to a Christmas fair (where I won a giant donut). If I left out any quintessential British things I’d be surprised.

Big thank you to Alex and An for letting us take over their flat and stay with them!

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Alex and Gregor, cheers!
We had a lovely Christmas with family and were happily reunited with our cat and dog, which have been taken care of by both sets of our parents for the past 9 months. We were really happy to see them and we think they were happy to see us 😉 The cat showed his affection by repeatedly eating ribbon off presents and then barfing it up. We shared time between our families and ate extraordinarily well – thanks moms!
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Maybe, our dog, she is pretty well-behaved.
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Smjör, our innocent-looking cat. He is evil.
Then, Lima! We arrived to warm, sunny Lima and quickly found a cheap bus from the airport to the more touristy area of Miraflores. Paragliding is big here, there is a steep cliff to jump off.
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Ceviche and causa (a mashed potato terrine)

The bold gliders sailed over head while we walked along the nice path, breaking to eat at the excellent restaurants in town, especially the ceviche restaurants! We didn’t expect to really enjoy Lima all that much, but after a month of freezing in England and New England we were just happy to be outside in something other than a parka.

 

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view from the walkway along the cliff
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Our cute hotel in Miraflores
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We wandered around getting a feel for the culture and running errands, which turned out to be no small task. Getting a sim card involves 4 different counters, a passport, fingerprinting over your signature at least 6 times, and then going to the pharmacy to put value on it. No, you can’t add value at the actual store, silly!
Also, Peru seems to have some restrictions on online transactions, so to book some flights we had to do it the old-fashioned way of walking (like, on your feet) to the airline’s office and talking to an actual person (in Spanish) who books the tickets for you and prints them out. We did this twice.
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We had a nice day in the city center going to the Larco Museum which promised a lot of pottery. Gregor was happily surprised that most of the pottery was primarily sculpture which kept it interesting. The museum itself was also very beautiful and had a nice garden with mats so you could lounge and read if you so chose.

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The old town square. Obviously you can’t tell from the photo, but this has to be the world’s slowest horse.

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The Iglesia de la Merced (above) and a nun enjoying the nativity scene inside (below). Every church has a nativity scene and there is a lot going on in every one we saw! Most are complete with running water and functioning lights.

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Town center in Lima

We enjoyed Lima much more than we thought we would and are pretty excited to be traveling in a place where we know some of the language. It seems like a great country so far and we’re excited to do some more exploring!

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