|Up early today as we are getting picked up between 6-40 and 6-55 by PeruHop, the hop on, hop off bus company. We don't have breakfast as we have been advised there is a toilet on board but there are no number 2's allowed and we are a bit nervous that what goes in must come out! The bus is on time and off we go. Soon the bus is filled up with young people collected all over Lima. It's obvious we have raised the average age considerably!
We hit the road and head south to Paracas which is on the coast. We stop just outside of Lima for a view of Pachacamac, the ruins of a ceremonial centre of the Inca. Little remains in the desert landscape and fortunately we did a tour here 14 years ago (2004).
We continue on through a barren landscape with little vegetation. We stop at a roadside cafe at 10am for something to eat but we just have a coffee again nervous about the loos.
We follow the coast sometimes seeing small villages with whitewashed houses on the cliffs overlooking the beach.
We travel through the region of Chincha where there are large areas of citrus growing. We have to drive through a creek bed as the bridge was damaged in 2017 by the el nino weather pattern and as this is Peru, it hasn't been fixed yet. In this region they have a festival when they eat cats - how unusual! We stop at Hacienda San Jose a colonial plantation founded in 1688. It is a beautiful building with its own church and magnificent gardens. The archways along the expansive veranda were damaged in the earthquake of 2007 but have since been restored. This plantation was worked by 1,000s of African slaves until 1854 when slavery was abolished. As there was a hefty tax on slaves, the wealthy land owners had tunnels built from the coast to smuggle slaves to their plantations. These tunnels were also used to hide the slaves if necessary. After looking around the house we actually go down into some of the 17kms of tunnels all well made from local stone. Some parts of the tunnels we are able to stand up in but others we have to crouch over to get through. The air flow is good and they aren't too claustrophobic.
About an hour's drive later we arrive in Paracas, a quaint seaside town. We stop in the centre of town to unload the bus and our Hotel is a bit down the road so we wheel our suitcases there without too much trouble.
We have had no lunch but it is too late now so we walk along the malecon to find a cafe and enjoy a coffee and beer overlooking the beach and the hundreds of fishing boats moored in the harbour. Definitely seafood for dinner tonight.
Back to the Hotel and at 5.30 pm we go back to the malecon to another bar upstairs that has a good view of the sunset. I have a pina colada and Phil a beer which was PEN18 =A$9 for the two.
We have picked a restaurant to eat dinner at and when we finally find it, it's closed. Our second choice, The Bamboo House is only serving drinks, not dinner, so we go to our guides recommendation, Restaurant Paracas which is upstairs overlooking the bay. I have fish with a spicy seafood sauce and Phil seabass with potatoes. Mine is delicious but unfortunately Phil's is cold.