Loving Lima and the Larco Museum
After a wonderful day of exploring ancient ruins, we were once again excited for the remainder of our stay in Peru. We caught an early flight to Lima, the capital of Peru. When we arrived at the airport we were pleased to discover that we were flying first class.
It was a quick flight to Lima and for the first time on our journey we did not have a reservation. We landed at 10 am and asked our driver to take us to the historic central district. We knew that we couldn’t go wrong staying near the museums.
We checked into a hostel just off the main square. What the hostel didn’t have in ambiance it made up for with location, CNN International, and the best bread of our trip. We stored our bags and hit the streets.
We were within a two minute walk to the Presidential Palace where we witnessed the 45 minute spectacle of the changing of the guard. We watched the crowd of people enjoying a beautiful afternoon on the main plaza. We then went in search of the best ceviche restaurant in the city.
We visited plazas, cathedrals and Ol’s favorite the Choco Museo (for his chocolate fix) which seems to be in every major city in South America.
We were also treated to a Peruvian parade, a protest, a government awards ceremony and another free concert across the street from our hotel. The Capital was a happening place.
We spent the afternoon and evening at the Larco Museum. The Larco is a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art. The museum is housed in an eighteenth century building built over a seventh century pre-colombian prymid.
Established in 1926 by a wealthy amateur archeologist, it holds some of Peru’s most important treasures. I had read that if you can only visit one museum in Peru, the Larco is it.
The museum’s walls and grounds were lined with pots overflowing with bougainvillea. I wanted to explore the gardens as much as the exhibits.
The museum space and exhibits are fresh and modern and the exhibits are explained in at least seven languages.
We began with a film explaining the museum and the collection, which was played in English for us.
The film put into context the archeological sites that we had visited in northern Peru. Many of the sites we visited were highlighted in the short film.
It made us realize that our guide, Dilser, really did do an excellent job in explaining the temples, ceremonies, and history of the region.
We saw exquisite pottery taken from the temples we had just visited. Also on display were the fine textiles for which Peruvians are still known today.
The textiles are woven using beautiful cotton, wool, and dyes.
One item on display, hand woven centuries ago, still holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the second highest thread count per square inch. It was made by hand and is finer than most garments that can be made by machine.
The museum is best known for its Pre-Colombian erotic pottery. The erotic art is housed in a separate museum wing. Let’s just say that it should be experienced in person.
There were gasps, giggles and lots of whispering from the people going through the exhibit. I think Ol was mesmerized because he failed to take any photos! (Above photo is of the cute Larco bathroom signs)
The Larco is also one of the few museums in the world to open its archives to visitors. Pottery and artifacts housed in cases from floor to ceiling, room after room, are on display. The sheer number of artifacts is almost overwhelming.
Many of the techniques used to catalogue and date items were developed by Larco and are still used today. We were happy to see Peru’s great treasures in Peru.
The museum also has a fantastic gift shop and excellent restaurant. We ended our day with a wonderful dinner of fine wine, sea bass, fresh vegetables, and a wonderful dessert.
The setting was so beautiful that we really didn’t want to leave. The museum is open until 10:00 PM and when we left people were still arriving to enjoy the museum, the grounds, and the fine dining experience.