This blog is going to cover two things.
1. Sand boards and dune buggies in Huacachina.
2. 72 hours of Gluttony in Lima
Of course as always we will include loads of photos.
1. Huacachina - what a really weird little place this is. Although it's an "Oasis", as in "a lake in the middle of a desert," upon arrival it appears that although very striking from afar, at ground level it is a dated, dusty town full of young travellers following the gringo trail. All good though, we got in amongst and had a good couple of days there with the hightlight being the sandboarding and dune buggying over massive sand dunes.
This was our attempt to walk to the top of one of the dunes - we stopped about 10 metres in. In fairness to ourselves, it was midday and really hot
The rolling dunes we were free to play upon
Our vehicle of choice for the dunes
This is a pic of the largest of the dunes which we boarded down - it was so steep and amazing. Thankfully the dune buggies retrieved us at the bottom so no uphill walk required
View of the "Oasis" from the dunes. Looks good huh?
Video of the Sandy exploits
Needless to say, after this adventure we had sand everywhere.... Like everywhere you could imagine. We are still finding sand in our pockets one week later.
2. Lima - I think we put on about 10 kg's (which we really didn't need) while eating our way around world class restaurants.
Let's talk about food, baby.
We haven't spoken a lot about food on the blog - because for the most part, it has been good, not great food. Sure there have been some highlights and good finds along the way, however, South America has not inspired our tastebuds as much as other regions. A notable exception and perhaps the home of the continent's best cuisine is Lima, Peru. Knowing this, we were not going to pass the opportunity by to indulge perhaps our favourite past-time; eating bloody good kai.
Restaurant 1: La Lucha (This also falls into Restaurant 5 as we returned). This highly recommended sandwicheria lived up to expectations with fabulous pork sandwiches and the best fries ever tasted. Side note for the spud enthusiasts out there: there are approx 3800 potato varietals in Peru. The fries at La Lucha were these white/red marbled numbers. Fantastic!
Restaurant 2: Astrid and Gaston. This restaurant recently made a jump from number 35 to number 14 in the world restaurant rankings. We were expecting big things.
The only booking we could get was for 10.30pm. It is actually quite difficult to maintain an apetite till this time, even for the likes of us who will eat at anytime of the day. But we went along planning to give it our all and devour a degustacion menu. We ordered only to be told that it was unavailable at this time. Still happy, we turned to the menu all in fancy spanish (we struggle somewhat with everyday spanish let alone trying to decipher a fancy spanish food menu) but we knew some key words so planned to just roll the die and hope for the best. A spanner was thrown when we were once again told that actually, the degustacion menu was still available. Perfect, two of those with matched wines thanks. Five minutes later found us perusing the menu again... Seems it was not available. After a couple of suggestions from the waiter we had chosen a few dishes which were found on the degustacion menu and could be ordered separately. Perfect.
The bread basket given to us before the meal deserves a special mention. It was full of a vast range of breads which were devine. It was quite large however and we were left feeling full before the proper eating had begun.
Still not 100% sure what this was but was artfully presented and tasty. We didnt order it - we think perhaps it came as part of the original degustacion menu??
l-r; 3 x ceviches & Guinea pig at the front, sexy seafood risotto, lumps of delicious beef
Incredible desserts; namely the apple basket thing (2nd) which was a caramelised apple in brandy snap case with amazing condiments
Tower of sweet given as a complimentary surprise at completion of the meal
Restaurant 3: Central. This restaurant is ranked number 50 in the world but with the previous nights' experience still fresh, we went not knowing what to expect. All our doubts were quashed immediately as we entered into a haven of fabulous service. We even got a rooftop garden tour and a visit from the head chef at the completion of our meal. Really and truly an amazing dining experience which we would repeat in a heartbeat.
The bread basket although not as extensive as A & G, deserves a mention for the fact that it came with butter (not margarine) which had been slowly burnt. It was incredible and a good sign of what was to come.
Entrees and mains consisting of (l-r); Tuna tataki, Seared fois-gras, Amazonian Arapaima, Suckling goat
Eucalyptus and dry ice
Desserts were a highlight as always
Cup of Peruan Chai to finish off
Our garden tour where they grow herbs atc
Restaurant 4: La Mar. This restaurant is part of the Astrid y Gaston stable. It is a more relaxed, lunch only cebicheria (place where the focus is on ceviche which is a peruan raw fish dish). We rocked up nice and early to beat the rush and had exemplary service and incredible food. We loved this place and it was really good to be back on the coast to have access to amazingly fresh and delicious seafood.
Degustacion of ceviche - five different ways to serve raw seafood. Amazing
BBQ tuna steak - yes please!
We topped our 72 hours of gluttony off by watching two movies back to back - fatties much? We loved our time in Lima and to be honest we saw very little of the city aside from the amazing restaurants. Seemed like somewhere you would not need to spend too much time though (unless you up for some weight gain).
One thing we did come across was a park which housed loads of cats. Super weird. They are all healthy and content so I do not know who is responsible for their upkeep but they do a good job. Dotted all around the park you can find people sitting in the sun on park benches with various cats on their laps.