Let me tell you about Lima, and the magic in its streets during the winter. The magic manifested the moment I arrived from San Francisco, as the airplane dipped through the clouds that covered the entire coastal City of the Kings, as if entering a world that is off map, that can only be found if you know its secret location. With no rain, and little sunlight, days and nights can be cool, but no matter where I was, it was always time for a cafe con leche, a savory bite, a sweet treat, or a Pisco cocktail that warmly welcomed me to the city where I was born.
It had been 3 years since I last visited Lima, and that visit was all too short, a brief stopover on my way to Cuzco where I was to run the Inca Trail Marathon with a group of runners from all over the world. This time, the goal of my trip was to explore the food and Pisco scene in Lima, to walk its streets, seeking inspiration and stories in its criollo dishes, and to taste all the Pisco macerados I could get my hands on. But I also took the time to make a special pilgrimage along the Pisco Trail, to the Ica Valley south of Lima, where Pisco was born over 400 years ago.
Over the next few weeks, my posts are going to be about my trip to Peru. About the Mistura food festival I attended, the restaurants I visited, the chefs I met, the Pisco cocktails I enjoyed, the traditions I discovered, the music I heard, and what I learned and brought back with me to San Francisco. I took over 1,000 photographs during this trip to Peru, but the thing that was impossible to capture with a camera was the magic of the city at night. The city lights that reflected on the clouds over Lima coated the streets with a surreal golden glow that could only come from an entresueño state in a magical realism story by Vargas Llosa.
On a drive along the coast one day, I noticed some graffiti on a wall next to the highway, in giant letters, two words stood out:
Simple. Beautiful. Powerful. And for days I would ponder the intention by the artist. Then, during an afternoon walk on the streets of Miraflores, on a small stone wall, I saw the words again. A different font? Perhaps a different artist? What did it mean? This time, I was able to take a photograph, as a reminder of what Lima means to me. Yes, there is magic in the streets of Lima, but there is also Love. And wouldn’t you travel over 9 hours and 4,000 miles to find, feel, and taste Love?