Back on Land..........Where to From Here??
4/28/16 - 4/29/16
Thursday April 28th & Friday 29th – Lima & wrap up
Our final evening, we headed off to the ship’s Italian specialty restaurant, Toscana. Our first visit to Toscana was a bit disappointing as several folks found their meals not up to the amazingly high standards of the other specialty restaurants on board Marina. However, last night’s meal was better and the four who attended had a great meal. We have been thoroughly spoiled on this trip and have become far too picky. One of my theories is that all of us from the Greater Toronto area are spoiled when it comes to Italian cuisine as there are so many excellent Italian restaurants across the entire GTA.
Once back at our staterooms we bundled all of our things into our suitcases and placed our luggage out in the corridor prior to turning in for the night. Typical of all the cruise ships we have taken, the crew gathered all the luggage from the corridors, stored it overnight and placed it on the dock early in the morning. You can imagine the chaos if 1200 passengers were left to their own devices.
Message made of chocolates left for Roy & Sue by the stateroom steward, Nicoletta - the best ever. These are the little chocolate treats that they left on our pillow every evening - although we were usually given one each
We were all up and at it nice and early for final packing and one last lovely breakfast at the buffet with its great selection of food especially the amazing selection of fresh fruit. The disembarkation was well organized and orderly as everyone was assigned a specific time to meet in the main theatre and then be directed to the gangway on Decks 4 and 5.
Our group of eight would be splitting in half this morning as Michael & Mercedes plus Sherry & Kent are continuing their travels in South America for an additional week. They will be exploring Lima for several days before flying further south for a few more days. They will be visiting the high altitude ancient city of Cusco and surrounding areas including a trip to the amazing Inca mountain village of Machu Picchu. Roy & Sue, David & Hazel have all been to Cusco and Machu Picchu during previous trips so we will be heading home after a half day tour of the Lima area.
Lima and the Surrounding Area
The population of Peru is slightly less than that of Canada at about 32 million. Amazingly, just about a third of the entire country’s population lives in the greater metropolitan area of the city of Lima with a population of just over 10 million.
Costa Verde Drive in Lima (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
The settlement of the area around Lima has a long history with the original inhabitants going back to well before Christ with the rise and fall of a number of civilizations. Because of the constant building by successive generations there is very little evidence left of preceding civilizations in the more densely populated areas. However, outside the Greater Lima area archaeologists have discovered a treasure trove of ancient ruins. Since much of the area is a desert the drifting sands have covered up and preserved the remains at a number of sites. Originally discovered around 1890 many of the sites have been neglected and plundered by a number of parties. Only in recent decades have efforts been made to protect and preserve some of the more notable sites. Teams of archaeologists from major universities and the Peruvian Ministry of Culture are now hard at work exploring and preserving a number of major sites. Our tour on Thursday explored one of those digs, Pachacamac. Pachacamac is about 40 km southeast of Lima in the Valley of the Lurin River. The site was first settled around A.D. 200 and was named after the "Earth Maker" creator god Pacha Kamaq. The Pachacamac site is massive and covers about 600 hectacres of land. The site flourished for about 1,300 years until the Spanish conquistadors invaded in 1535. It was only with the invasion of the Spanish that the Lima area became more than just another coastal village. The Spanish decided to make Lima an important centre of local government administration and trade.
Model of Pachacamac Site -note the huge size
Display at Pachacamac
Display at Pachacamac
One of many amazing walls at Pachacamac. Behind this wall was a major compound where young women of the nobility were brought up and schooled
Partially exposed site of the girls school at the Pachacamac restoration project
Our Guide for the day explaining the Pachacamac site
After our tour of the Pachacamac site wrapped up we headed back into Lima to do a little sight- seeing before being dropped off at the Marriott Hotel back in Lima. The Marriott was the gathering point for most of us off the ship. From there Oceania had arranged to have us all transported to the airport at various times to collect our respective flights. Since our particular flight did not depart Lima airport till 12:30 am Friday morning we were one of the last groups to be escorted to the airport in a large bus.
Lima University (photo courtesy Google Images)
Pedestrian Walkway in Miraflores
Our Group & Guide in Miraflores distract of Lima
Old Electric Streetcar in Miraflores District
Coastal area of Lima
The Love Park in Miraflores District
Roy & Sue demonstrating how it is done in Love Park in Lima - note the statue in background
Our gathering point Marriott Hotel in the Miraflores District of Lima
As they say the rest is history, our flight from Lima to Houston was just over 6 long hours. We were late leaving Lima and our connection in Houston was very tight, however, since over 50 people booked on the Houston to Toronto flight leg were also on the flight from Lima United Airlines held the aircraft for 40 minutes as we all scrambled from Terminal E to Terminal C and boarded the little Embraer aircraft. The Embraer is a pretty basic aircraft with non-reclining seats and no entertainment system. By then it was more than 26 hours since any of us had been to bed so we all just slumped in our seats and headed for Toronto. Despite the lack of reclining seats many of us grabbed a bit of shut eye on the three-hour flight to Toronto.
The Wrap Up
By late afternoon we were glad to be back home in Brampton and unpacking our bags. We have been gone 18 days and covered a lot of territory, nearly 5000 nautical miles on the ship alone. We loved travelling with Oceania, their food and service are second to none. However, we found the ten sea days in a row a bit tedious and some of us found the constant movement of the ship tiresome over that long a period. The original itinerary did not have this many sea days but our inability to land on Easter Island due to high seas resulted in an extra long sea voyage without being on shore. The Easter Island stop was a highlight of the trip for many of us and a major disappointment when we could not land. Despite the disappointment none of our fellow passengers appeared to be anxious to follow the example of the port authorities in Easter Island who boarded our ship by jumping from their heaving open boat onto a rope ladder draped over the side of our ship.
The South Pacific is a fascinating part of the world but not one of the better cruise ship destinations as the shore trips are very few and far between. By the time we got home both Hazel and I had nasty colds and a persistent cough so that takes away from the fun also. However, if one enjoys far away exotic locations there is a lot to say for visiting French Polynesia and beyond.
What is next for us, well believe it or not we don’t have any major trips planned in the immediate future, Hazel is slipping up as she usually has another major trip in the planning stages at least a year or so in advance. A land trip to Africa is rapidly moving up the bucket list as is an extended Alaska cruise, however, nothing is booked yet.
In early June we have our big annual motorcycle meet in Lake George, NY that we plan to attend (see pictures below), then in August we’ll be joining a group of motorcycle friends for a week-long trip to Maggie Valley, North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This area of North Carolina and Tennessee is one of our all time favourite motorcycle touring destinations.
In September we’ll be making our annual road trip to North Carolina's Outer Banks to meet up with a group of friends who we rent a big beach house with each year. Perhaps we’ll even work in a trip to Halifax over the summer. Generally, we try and stay pretty close to home over the summer and take advantage of living on our beautiful little lake in Brampton but it is hard to turn down the call of the open road with our Goldwing motorcycle and the new Corvette sitting in our garage.
Hazel on a little lake ferry crossing the Vermont New York state border near the annual Americade Motorcycle Rally held in Lake George, NY - where we plan to be in June
David & Hazel at Crown Point, NY on the Vermont border while attending the annual Americade Motorcycle Meet in Lake George - where we'll be in June. Lake Champlain is in the background
Davd on his Goldwing Riding US Rt. 129 at Deals Gap AKA "The Dragon" near Maggie Valley, NC - where we'll be in August
Outer Banks, NC - Where we'll be in September (photo courtesy Google Images
Thanks to everyone who read our blog and thanks for your comments. Until the next time, all the best to everyone.
David & Hazel
May 1, 2016