Miraflores and Barranco
My three weeks travelling North through South America with my G Adventures group and Chris Arnold’s endless jokes – more can be found in his podcasts here – terminated in Lima.
From here, I would set out to travel alone through Ecuador and Colombia for five weeks. But first, I had a few days in Lima to explore and enjoy the much more home-like Western feel to the very up market Lima district.
It was a close contest between Lima and Arequipa for the title of Peru’s capital city, with Lima triumphing. Since, Lima has grown significantly with heavy investment in property, tourism and infrastructure although the population density causes viscous traffic, slowly bringing that city to a haunt in the evening.
There are various districts within Lima, each with a level of wealth attached to it which was highly visible. I stayed in a region known as Miraflores which has a more wealthy stigma attached to it due to its large hotels – including a sea front J.W. Marriott – along with the large ‘Lacomar’ shopping centre.
The familiar, interminable street selling ceased slightly whilst Western culture hit Lima hard, creating a seemingly modern, diverse and thriving city which are few and far between throughout Peru. From previously seen family run, counterfeit businesses, chain stores and restaurants arose on every corner with the growth of Peruvian cuisine making Lima famous, including the home to world renowned and recently crowned ‘Best Chef in the World,’ Virgilio Martínez.
All this was found within the small radius of Miraflores, but venturing a little further South along the coast, another, not too dissimilar district of Barranco is found.
Barranco has a certain upper class feel to it with an aura none too dissimilar to that of San Francisco. Cool street art is littered around, highlighted by the ‘Bridge of Wishbirds’ along with trendy cafes and museums. One such museum, MATE documented the work of Peru and Vogue’s most prolific photographer which was an interesting addition to Barranco.
Running Around the World
This may be a personal bias, but there certainly appears to be a correlation between wealth and running population and this was profound in both Miraflores and Barranco which was home to a great, blue track.
Having been at some great altitudes prior to arriving in Lima, it was literally a welcoming breath of fresh air, making run all that much easier.
I headed out for multiple evening – this was the only time cool enough – runs along the sea front as the sun was setting overhead. The change in altitude made an incredible difference when running. For comparison, I ran a number of 5km runs in Cusco situated at 3,400m where the pace was slower than a jog yet my heart rate was higher than it was when I set my PB.
Coming down to sea level was a relief. A steady 5km was so comfortable to what I had run previous, whilst being 7 minutes quicker!! Having seemingly not lost too much fitness or benefitted from the altitude (most likely the former) I decided to head to the track in Barranco.
Here I attempted a session of 5x800m on the busy track. It was good fun to run on a track after 3 weeks off but considerably more difficult than expected due to being in big trail shoes along with the added humidity. Nonetheless it was good to be back and I plan to continue to hunt down more great tracks around the world.