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    South by South America Tour – Peru Part 16

    Sunday, October 27, 2019
    Lima, Peru

    Looking north up the median on Avenida Arequipa in Lima, Peru.
    Looking north up the median on Avenida Arequipa in Lima, Peru.

    The Museo Arte Italiano in Lima, Peru.
    The Museo Arte Italiano in Lima, Peru.

    “Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of more than 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the third-largest city in the Americas (as defined by “city proper”), behind São Paulo and Mexico City. Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535 as Ciudad de los Reyes in the agricultural region known by native Peruvians as Limaq, a name that it had acquired over time. Lima became the capital and most important city in the Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, Lima became the capital of the Republic of Peru.

    Caporales dancers on Avenida Paseo de la Republica in Lima, Peru.
    Caporales dancers on Avenida Paseo de la Republica in Lima, Peru.

    Caporales dancers on Avenida Paseo de la Republica in Lima, Peru.
    Caporales dancers on Avenida Paseo de la Republica in Lima, Peru.

    “Lima is considered the political, cultural, financial and commercial center of Peru. Internationally, it is one of the 30 most populated urban agglomerations in the world. Despite its location in the tropics and in a desert, Lima’s proximity to the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean leads to temperatures much lower than those expected for a tropical desert and thus Lima can be classified as a desert climate with subtropical temperature ranges. Lima’s beaches, located along the northern and southern ends of the city, are heavily visited during the summer.

    A stately white stone building at Plaza San Martin in Lima, Peru.
    A stately white stone building at Plaza San Martin in Lima, Peru.

    A Spanish colonial building in Lima, Peru.
    A Spanish colonial building in Lima, Peru.

    “Strongly influenced by Andean, European, African and Asian culture, Lima is a melting pot, due to colonization, immigration and indigenous influences. The city is known as the gastronomical capital of the Americas, mixing Andean, Spanish and Asian culinary traditions. Lima also has a vibrant and active theater scene, including classic theater, modern theater, experimental theater, dramas, dance performances, theater for children and other cultural presentations.”—Wikipedia

    A detail of the Iglesia de la Merced in Lima, Peru.
    A detail of the Iglesia de la Merced in Lima, Peru.

    The Iglesia de la Merced in Lima, Peru.
    The Iglesia de la Merced in Lima, Peru.

    On my first (and last) full day in Lima, I headed out toward the center of the city. My plan was to ride there in a collectivo van, but much to my dismay, the street they run on toward central Lima, Avenida Arequipa, was closed off to vehicular traffic. Instead, hundreds of people on bicycles, scooters, inline skates, etc. filled the street in both directions. So, I just set off on foot down a wide median on the avenue in hopes that I would soon reach the end of the closed off section. Although the walk was pleasant enough, I soon began to feel the heat of the early afternoon tropical air. A couple of miles down Arequipa, with still no vehicles in sight, I hung a right and walked a few blocks over to Avenida Paseo de la Republica, which turned out to be situated around a wide freeway. Seeing no collectivos around there, I headed back over to Avenida Arequipa.

    The intricate interior of the Iglesia de la Merced in Lima, Peru.
    The intricate interior of the Iglesia de la Merced in Lima, Peru.

    Ornate balconies in Lima, Peru.
    Ornate balconies in Lima, Peru.

    A few blocks later, the closed section finally ended as vehicles whizzed by me toward central Lima. But, there were still no collectivos. All I could do was trudge onward. A mile or two further, the muscles in my feet and legs began to feel fatigued, so I caught a bus for the final mile. (The buses in Lima require a card; luckily, the driver was nice enough to let me use a spare card he kept for randoms like me in exchange for coins.) Exiting near Avenida 28 de Julio, I was immediately impressed by the wide avenues, vast open spaces and gigantic, grand Spanish colonial buildings of central Lima. Hanging a left on Avenida Paseo de la Republica, I passed by the Museo de Arte Lima and Museo de Arte Italiano, both of which I wanted to visit, but unfortunately I had nowhere near enough time.

    Another intricately carved balcony in Lima, Peru.
    Another intricately carved balcony in Lima, Peru.

    Welcome to the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.
    Welcome to the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.

    Out on the median, I noticed an ensemble of Caporales dancers who were performing for a photo / video shoot. I was pretty stoked I managed to snap a few pics of them and their sexy legs! Next, I continued northward a couple of blocks on Jinon de la Union up to Plaza San Martin, a town square surrounded by elegant white Spanish colonial buildings. “The Plaza San Martin was inaugurated in 1921 on the occasion of the centenary of the independence of Peru. In the central part, there is a monument in honor of General José de San Martín built by the Catalan sculptor Mariano Benlliure. Around the plaza are an array of important buildings, including the former Hotel Bolívar, which until the new millennium, was the most elegant hotel in Lima, as well as the Club Nacional, the watering hole for Lima’s high society. The plaza has become one of the main symbols of Lima.”—Wikipedia

    Hordes of people enjoy the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.
    Hordes of people enjoy the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.

    A churro vendor at work in the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.
    A churro vendor at work in the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.

    At this point, Jinon de la Union turns into a pedestrian street that is completely chock-full of people walking to and fro amongst a phalanx of shops, stores and restaurants. The whole place really is packed to the gills. Three blocks later, I found myself staring up at the awe-inspiring, intricately carved facade of the Iglesia de la Merced. Built way back in 1535, the entrance of the church is flanked by bright orange walls, which attracts Instagramers in droves. A couple of blocks further north, I reached my final destination: the main square of Lima, the Plaza de Armas, which is the birthplace and core of the city.

    Balloon vendors at work near the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.
    Balloon vendors at work near the Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru.

    Sculptural photo ops in Lima, Peru.
    Sculptural photo ops in Lima, Peru.

    “The Plaza de Armas is located where Francisco Pizarro originally founded the city of Lima. Initially, the plaza contained small stores, a bull ring, and even a public gallows for those condemned to death by the Court of Santa Inquisición. In 1821, the Act of the Independence of Peru was inaugurated in the Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by the Palacio de Gobierno del Perú, the Municipalidad Metropolitana de Lima, the Catedral de Lima, and the Palacio Arzobispal de Lima.”—Wikipedia. Built in 1622 in the Baroque style, the Catedral comes complete with a gold plated altar and an on-site museum.

    An arch in the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Qvadra in Lima, Peru.
    An arch in the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Qvadra in Lima, Peru.

    Stone ruins in the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Qvadra in Lima, Peru.
    Stone ruins in the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Qvadra in Lima, Peru.

    A couple of blocks further northwest, I briefly visited the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Qvadra, which is composed of architectural and archaeological ruins from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Another block away, I encountered the yellow-clad facade of the Basilica de San Francisco. “Constructed in the 17th century, the Basilica de San Francisco is made up of a church and convent, as well as the chapels of the Solitude and the Miracle. The grounds also contain the Museum of Religious Art and the Zurbarán Room. In addition, under the complex, there is a network of underground catacombs.”—Wikipedia

    Pole position with the Basilica de San Francisco in Lima, Peru.
    Pole position with the Basilica de San Francisco in Lima, Peru.

    The Basilica de San Francisco in Lima, Peru.
    The Basilica de San Francisco in Lima, Peru.

    By this point, it was very late in the evening, so I decided to head back over to the Plaza de Armas, where I bought a ticket for a tourist bus back to Miraflores. At first, as darkness descended, we had to wait right near the plaza. Around 10 minutes later, a guy walked us several blocks west, where we waited some more on a dark street. After another jaunt a few blocks further west, we finally boarded a double decker sight seeing bus—the kind with no roof over the top floor. Pretty much everyone sat up on top.

    The Virgin Mary inside the Basilica de San Francisco in Lima, Peru.
    The Virgin Mary inside the Basilica de San Francisco in Lima, Peru.

    The packed pedestrian street Jinon de la Union in Lima, Peru.
    The packed pedestrian street Jinon de la Union in Lima, Peru.

    After a half hour, I looked downstairs, but there were only a couple of people sitting down there. Since the top was only half full, we had to sit for quite a while longer until some more passengers showed up. When the top was near capacity, we finally took off. Much to my dismay, the bus stopped again for 10 or 15 minutes a few blocks away. Once we finally got underway for good, the bus powered its way southward through Lima, with a guy announcing facts about various sites over a speaker in Spanish only. Finally, at one stop, I asked the driver if we were in Miraflores. Since “yes” was his reply, I jumped off and schlepped a few blocks up to Parque Kennedy. Luckily, I didn’t get mugged on the way. There, I enjoyed another delicious falafel sandwich at a little hole in the wall middle eastern restaurant called Taboush before calling it a night. So, if you ever find yourself in Lima, Peru, I highly recommend a visit to the historic center of the city!

    A spray paint artist who later got kicked out by the police in Lima, Peru.
    A spray paint artist who later got kicked out by the police in Lima, Peru.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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