I decided to wander off through the busy noisy streets of central Lima.
My main aim was to visit the Banco Central de Reserva del Peru, to which Annett’s father and I had tried to enter last time we had came here – but failed – we had been walking past on the one day of the week it was closed, and even if it was open we were a few minutes too late. I decided I had to come back to visit some day in the future.
After walking aimlessly in the wrong direction along Av. Abancay and surrounding back-streets – seeing some of the oldest houses in what were the richest areas of Lima hundreds of years ago – I arrived to the Congress building where I asked a policeman for directions. Oddly for a Peruvian policeman his directions were detailed and correct and after a long walk in the other direction and crossing to the other side of Abancay I was there.
I was blocked from entering the central bank by another policeman who explained that although entry to the museum inside was free, I had to present a copy of my passport and identify what country I was from to enter. I always carry a photocopy of my passport and I am from a country with no bad relations with Peru so I was let through.
Inside the bank they had examples of various coins and bills/notes different periods of time – money from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina. The central bank of Peru did not have a single Peruvian coin to show – absolutely no Peruvian money – such oddities are typical of Peru.
Some time passed and a guide approached me. Unlike places such as Cusco, there was no attempt made to cheat me, the guide works for the bank and the tour is free. With the guide I was taken to a vault-turned-gallery downstairs, where a number of gold artefacts from pre-Incan cultures of the north of Peru were displayed. After some detailed explanations I was ushered out of the building – it was 4:30 – closing time.
I’d say the Bank is worth a visit if you can find it.