On Thursday and Friday, we visited the Centro Historico of Lima. We had planned on only one day, but there is so much to see, and photograph, there, that we had to go back a second time.
The square is modeled in the traditional manner, with the Government Palace, the Municipal Building and the Cathedral facing a Central Park. We decided to go visit the Cathedral of Lima first then the Archbishop's Palace Museum next. The Cathedral is an amazing structure, especially considering construction was started in 1605 and completed in 1622. The project was initiated by architect Francisco Becerra in 1584 until his death in 1605, when leadership was assumed by Juan Martinez de Arrona. It is built with a central nave and 14 surrounding chapels.
I photographed the interior extensively, and I intend to offer a more complete post here with a complete collection of the building at a later time. For now, I offer these few images as a little appetizer. ;-)
Visiting the Cathedral and the Archbishop's residence museum took us a few hours. For the rest of our time on that first day in the Centro Historico, we walked around Plaza de Armas and then had lunch at Tanta, one of the restaurants recommended on Trip Advisor. We had not been misled. The food was excellent. We shared two traditional Peruvian dishes: Aji de Gallina (shredded chicken breast on chily, pecans and unripened cheese sauce, served with yellow potatoes and rice with corn), and Lomo Saltado (beef, onion and tomato served with french fries and rice with corn). Both dishes were delicious and we were both too full for dessert or even coffee.
We then headed down a street alongside the Government Palace and found ourselves in a little park packed with families, couples, young people just hanging out enjoying the evening. There was music, street vendors, children playing, old folks sitting watching. The music was coming from a crowd assembled in a smallish round structure that looked like a mini arena, with seats around and a clear area in the center below. We had to get closer to see that it was a dance floor with a live band. The seats were filled with people and in the center, people were dancing, young, old, and in between, everybody was just having fun. There were food vendors and we had picarones, a traditional Peruvian pastry that looks like a donut but that is made with mashed squash and sweet potatoes. They are deep fried and then generously drizzled with a sauce made from raw sugar. Sticky and yummy!!! Here, I had to switch to my crazy blurry style, because for me, this gives a much more accurate representation of what it felt like to be there.
On Fridady, we went back to the Centro Historico. We were looking to photograph a specific library because we had seen some beautiful images of it. After doing some research, we found that it was at the Convento de Santo Domingo, which was very close to Government Palace. So off we went! We found another great place to visit and photograph. As a nice surprise, Henry discovered that this was the burial place of San Martin de Porres, who was his mother's patron saint. It felt a little bit like a nod from Lola to us and our family.
I also photographed this church but not as extensively as the Cathedral the previous day. Images of this to follow aws well. As an extra challenge, Henry wanted to go in the Bell Tower. We had to get a guide to access that part of the useum. A nice gentleman ushered us to the base of the tower and signaled for us to go up a flight of stairs... and then another... and then yet another! Ouf! That was quite a workout, a good practice for our trip to Cusco in a few days.
Later that evening, we headed to Kennedy Park, just one block away from our apartment for dinner. The square was full of people and there seemed to be a fiesta. We wandered around and found another of those little arenas full of dancers! We managed to find a spot to watch and take a few photographs. Here are a couple of images that I find convey the festive mood that prevailed.
Well, I'll leave you on that note ;-) It was a busy couple of days but we very much enjoyed the Centro Historico in Lima. In my next post, I'll let you know what we were up to for the last couple of days we spent here. One week might seem like a long time in one place, but it really goes by so quickly! There is so much more we would like to see, but we'll have to move on to Cusco on Monday.