This Saturday on our day off we went into downtown Lima, starting from the Plaza de Armas. It just so happened that we arrived during the “changing of the guard” at the Governmental Palace which happens every day at 1pm. There was a marching band, which was actually quite entertaining, seemingly holding the interest of the mostly Peruvian onlookers. The whole changing exercise took over 30 minutes, with much show of police force (i counted 25 uniformed solders and policeman, along with 4-6 secret service looking dudes, and at least 2 what we think were plain clothed agents). There was lots of synchronized marching routines with much pageantry, but it seemed to us, strangely, there was a period of about 5 minutes or so during the changing of the guard, where there was no guard at all, at least not the pretend-bayonet wielding kind that the whole event seemed to focused on. Apparently this has been happening since 1940, and it was pointed out that the only other places in the world that have this drawn out guard change are in Britain and the Vatican.
In there nearby streets surrounding the Plaza de Armas, there was copious police presence, small crews of police with full riot gear, police assault vehicles etc. Seemed like a safe place to wander around with police at every intersection, but we couldnt help but wonder why all that was really necessary.
we took a quick rest stop near the Bar Cordano, originally for a cold adult beverage, but the scene and atmosphere was so classic, that we decided to have a little lunch as well. Bar Cordano was a friendly, busy place that has been around since 1905. There were multiple staff photos throughout the ages up high on the walls in the main bar, several of which we could identify as younger versions of at least 3 of the gentlemen that were waiting tables. Their signature lunchtime treat appeared to be carved beef and ham sandwiches, but we ordered a Papa Rellena, since we had still not tried that Peruvian delight. Its basically a deep fried breading , shaped like a football, stuffed with mashed potatoes, ground beef, kalamata olives, onions, a hard boiled egg, cheese and other fabulous stuff. It was, as you would expect, a winner.
We wandered around the streets between Plaza de Armas and China Town, which was completely jammed with shoppers from the central market, which we stopped into briefly. We decided to visit China Town another day because, by then, we were getting pretty tourist-ed out, so we headed back near our place in Miraflores in time for a few sunset shots, in the general vicinity of Larco Mar.