Last weekend my wife’s aunt invited us for a day trip out to Cieneguilla, a small town less than an hour outside Lima.
The attraction of Cieneguilla is the sun. The Humboldt Current which makes Peruvian waters such a great habitat for fish also cools the atmosphere so Lima never gets too hot.
While the Humboldt Current is great for seafood, it causes high humidity and moisture to get trapped west of the mountains, blanketing the city in fog for six months a year.
So when you can’t take the gray, take a short trip over the mountains to find sun. Cieneguilla is the preferred destination for Limeños with money, which is to say the restaurants are more expensive.
We chose Parque Molle because they happened to be hosting a horse show, the 43rd Peruvian Paso Horse Contest produced by The Pumas of Cieneguilla. (That’s “XLIII Concurso Caballo Peruano de Paso” from “Los Pumas de Cieneguilla” in Spanish.)
The Peruvian Paso is a special breed of horse which walks in a way that gives a smooth ride.
The horse show was held on a giant field at the end of the restaurant. As in the United States, competing in horse contests is an activity for people with money. The bar sold the best piscos and Johnny Walker black. The outfit of the day was a white sombrero, white dress shirt and either khakis or jeans with boots.
The old-money Peruvian horse culture was interesting to see. Almost tempted me to order a whiskey.
Outside the restaurants there are opportunities for horseback riding and hiking, but we just did what I assume most do and stayed inside one restaurant for the whole day.
The sun was not shining when we arrived and I snapped many of the pics, but it came out in full force around noon. There were various playgrounds for our son, two trampolines and even a pool.
While they were empty when I took the pics, the tables filled up. Some children even swam in the pool.
The food was great. I had arroz con pato, which may have been the best version I have ever had. Wife’s uncle also got that, but with leg instead of breast.
My wife got the Cabrito de Leche a lo Molle – a goat dish which she enjoyed very much.
Her aunt got the Lechon al Palo – roasted pork with beans.
We all shared a banana split for dessert.
All in all, I enjoyed Cieneguilla and a break from the gray. We decided to return at least once or twice every winter.
As it was our first time, I asked my in-laws if Cieneguilla were a winter retreat and largely abandoned during the summer months from December through March. They confirmed it’s dead. Winter is when everybody goes.