Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Journey of a Lifetime ( Part 1 ) The CIty tour of Lima

All of us have a bucket list of places around the world where we would like to visit... My friend, Lulu and I have decided to make one incredible journey to Peru. It has been our longtime dream to visit Machu Picchu, known as the Land of the Incas.

After carefully planning our trip to Peru for almost a year... our dream was about to be fulfilled. Lulu found the perfect tour schedule. Come and follow us while we discover the beauty of Peru. Let us share with you what we have learned about Peru. Its history, culture and the beauty of what Peru has to offer. Through my blog and photos we will share with you what we experienced on this trip.... here is our story..

We flew from Los Angeles to Peru aboard COPA airlines, with a lay over in Panama.  When we arrived in Lima, Peru we were met by our tour guide, Jesus and we were escorted to Hotel Antigua Miraflores located in an upscale district in Lima. It looked like a house that was converted into a small " boutique hotel ".

Set in a Spanish-style mansion and oozing colonial period charm, this hotel offered a much more intimate and authentic experience than staying in a chain hotel. The decor is old fashioned, and the staff was very helpful and courteous. The hotel is made us feel like we were staying in a home!!

After breakfast we had a brief orientation with our tour guide and off we went on a tour of the city of Lima.

San Francisco Monastery - is a church and convent at the Historic Center of Lima. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991. The San Francisco Monastery is famous for its 17th century architecture and world renowned library and the catacombs of the benefactors of the church.. Walking through the catacombs gave me an eerie feeling. The uneven pathways were so narrow and dimly lit that would make anyone feel claustrophobic. You can see bones line up along narrow hallways underneath the church, and in one area contained several large and deep holes, filled with bones and skulls arranged above each other in circular patterns. According to our tour guide, these catacombs were discovered in 1943. It is estimated to contain 70,000 burials.  We were not allowed to take any photos inside this church.

Plaza Mayor or The Main Square of the city of Lima. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, it is surrounded by the principal buildings dating from the colonial period: the Government Palace, the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace or city hall.

At the center of this architectural complex there is a magnificent ornamental bronze fountain, done by  Rivas, in 1650 It bears the coats-of-arms of Lima, Spain, and of the Viceroy Conde de Salvatierra. It was recently remodeled and has become one of Peru's special tourist attractions.

The Presidential Palace is located in the Plaza Mayor in the center of Lima. We were lucky to be at the main square in time for the changing of the guards. Complete with a musical band and choreographed performance is a sight to see. The changing of the guards at the Palace is usually done at 11:am and  lasts for 30 minutes.

Cathedral of Lima - Is an immense baroque- inspired Roman Catholic cathedral originally built in 1564 designed by Francisco Pizarro.

The Municipal Palace

One of the historical buildings in Lima is the House of the Peruvian Literature. This edifice is located right behind the Presidential Palace. It is also known as the " Estacion of the Desamparados " ( The Desamparados Train Station ). It was built in 1912 and was originally the main train station in Lima. At the beginning of the 20th century 'Desamparados' was among other destinations the starting point for one of the world's great railway journeys. Since 2009 this magnificent building was renamed to " Casa de la Literatura Peruana " (House of the Peruvian Literature) and now houses a Cultural Center with temporary art exhibitions.

Our next stop.... Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum...

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