On your way

Make the most of your time in Lima en route to Lake Tit­i­caca.

Qantas - - Travel Insider. -

Lima sits un­der a pale wash of sky that lo­cals call la panza de burro (the don­key’s belly). But for its whis­per­ing blues and vi­o­let greys, it could al­most be the colour of the city’s pre-In­can ru­ins and crum­bling 17th-cen­tury walls – or of the sur­round­ing desert.

At first sight, the Peru­vian cap­i­tal ap­pears to mute all its colours; even the na­tive San Pe­dro cac­tus is a dis­creet pow­dery green. But step in­side the food mar­kets of Surquillo, with their tech­ni­colour pro­duce dis­plays; visit shops packed with flam­boy­ant tex­tiles, pon­chos and pom­poms; check out the gal­leries of vi­brant con­tem­po­rary art; or visit on a feast or fes­ti­val day and you’ll see that Lima, the gate­way to Lake Tit­i­caca and Machu Pic­chu, re­veals the full spec­trum of colours to the trav­eller who takes the time to get ac­quainted.

In the 16th cen­tury, Spa­niard Fran­cisco Pizarro con­quered Peru and founded Lima as its cap­i­tal. Today, it’s a proudly in­de­pen­dent Peru that is con­quer­ing the world with novoan­d­ina (new An­dean) cui­sine. Splurge on a meal by the culi­nary con­quis­ta­dors at Cen­tral (cen­tral­restau­rante.com.pe), which has been No. 1 on Latin Amer­ica’s 50 Best Restau­rants list for the past three years, and Astrid & Gastón (astridy gaston.com), lo­cated in a his­toric ha­cienda in the up­scale San Isidro dis­trict.

Peru’s food rev­o­lu­tion has helped to spark a cul­tural re­nais­sance, too. Lima boasts small but lively de­sign, arts, the­atre and mu­sic scenes. Sur­vey its art his­tory from preColumbian times to the present at the Museo de Arte de Lima (mali.pe) in the for­mer Pala­cio de la Ex­posi­ción. And try Peru’s na­tional cock­tail, the Pisco Sour, at Bar Maury (Jirón Carabaya 399). It was at this Art Deco es­tab­lish­ment that a bar­man in the 1920s first added egg white to the now-ven­er­ated recipe.

If time is short and you want art, his­tory and great food and drink all in one place, stay at Ho­tel B (ho­tel.qan­tas.com.au/ hotelb), where the rooms are full of con­tem­po­rary Peru­vian art. This bou­tique ho­tel in bo­hemian Bar­ranco is also a prime spot for watch­ing the sun tickle the don­key’s belly with its rosy fin­gers be­fore set­ting over the sea.

(From top) A Dusk room at lux­ury lodge Ti­ti­laka; novoan­d­ina cui­sine by Astrid & Gastón, cur­rently No. 7 on Latin Amer­ica’s 50 Best Restau­rants list

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