San Isidro

Following on from last week’s walk to Barranco with Mike from South American Explorers, this week we decided to go to San Isidro another suburb of Lima which is adjacent to Miraflores. Apart from the exercise, we had a couple of other objectives; to check out the proposed new site of South American Explorers, which is moving home within the next few weeks and to look at Parque Olivar which is in the centre of San Isidro. IMG_0164 Apparently, the park contains more than 1500 olive trees, some more gnarled and wrinkly than me.IMG_0153

The park is very popular with families and also with newlyweds who apparently stroll through the park after their wedding ceremony. There is also a live music facility IMG_0163. No doubt the venue for the Morrissey concert. Although perhaps it’s a bit too big.

The park does boast several water features, the largest and most spectacular was sadly closed for refurbishmentIMG_0166. Although a sneaky look behind the tarpaulins, seems to confirm the rumour that it is in fact, being converted to a skateboarding park. IMG_0165.

The park and its environs are also popular with dog walkers and I confess to squealing with delight when I saw this little poodle.IMG_0161 It is actually wearing shoes. I did not get close enough to see if it was wearing socks.

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La Música Peruana

I had the good fortune to be invited to attend a concert of  traditional Peruvian music on Monday night   – 8th July, at the ICPNA in Miraflores.  I had seen some examples previously in Spanish lessons and also have watched some videos on you tube . There were several acts, all featuring guitars and vocals. .And, even though it was filmed on my lowly little Ipod, I have finally produced a video and uploaded it to You Tube.

It was not the usual type of concert that I would attend and it certainly did not evoke the the same feelings that a Hawkwind performance would. Nevertheless, on hearing that Morrissey was in Lima and due to perform, I am certain, of the two concerts, La Música Peruana was the more uplifting. I am sure in the coming months, I will get to sample much more of this blend of cultures. I am already weighing up the prospect of attending a similar show next week.

Barranco

Barranco is another district of Lima, neighbouring Miraflores and is described in various publications as being bohemian and home of many Peruvian artists. For me, and not wishing to appear too much of a philistine, it was somewhere to walk to and maybe take some photographs. I was invited to accompany Mike, who runs the South American Explorers club here in Lima. He likes to go for a walk regularly, for exercise and I need to keep building my strength for challenges I may face later in my travels.

From my penthouse to Barranco and back, I clocked up almost 14kms. Fortunately, although it was somewhat hazy, DSCN0687_341 the sun was shining and it was a good day for walking, if there could be such a thing. We walked out of the centre of Miraflores towards el Malecón, where I walked last weekend and headed south. It was not as busy as last Sunday but I imagine many of the people were working. They do seem to work very long hours here.

It must have taken us an hour and a half to reach Barranco, stopping at  Larcomar on the way for a pit-stop. Consisting of shops, bars a cinema and the all important servicios, Larcomar is built into the cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean. At the oceanfront, Barranco and Miraflores are separated by a gulf IMG_0121, so you have to walk inland a little way to cross a bridge. I didn´t mind on the way there but I resented those extra paces on the way back.

Apparently, Barranco was very fashionable, a hundred years ago and more. An affluent area and a popular place to live and to visit. Many of the buildings have fallen into various states of disrepair since though, as Barranco was largely deserted it seems by those wealthy residents.DSCN0700_354

More recently, the influx of artists and artisans, has seen some restoration and it is a very popular place for evening entertainment, with a number of restaurants and clubs. There are some rather stark images between the carefully restored and the sadly neglected but there are also some quaint reminders of times gone by. Although some could have you wondering if they were coming,IMG_0125 IMG_0126or going.

The partly restored church IMG_0133, might look even less dilapidated if it were not for it´s rooftop scavengers who are probably stripping the roof quicker than it can be covered.DSCN0697_351

After crossing the Bridge of Sighs, I inadvertently got into a conversation with a guitar playing local busker, who was waiting for his percussionist, who had been persuaded to take a photograph of a couple next to a statue. It was not really a conversation because his accent was so strong, I could not make out a single word. It has been quite a while since that has happened. It soon became apparent that he wanted to perform for us. I declined and Mike and I headed off, only to be pursued by the dubious duo. They had us boxed in as we were headed for a dead end, so we gave them a few coins and they played for us.IMG_0138Finally managing to understand their accent, when they asked us where we were from, I replied, “Inglaterra”. The drummer responded straight away with his one word of English, “Beckham”. It made me feel quite nostalgic for the good old days when most non – English speaking people knew two words – Bobby Charlton. I pointed out that David Beckham and I have something in common, we are both recently retired. Chuckles – at least they understood me.

It was time to head back to Miraflores and I have to say, I was glad to get back. It was a great walk though and another is planned for next week.

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Lima From The Bus

I had hoped to go on a sea kayak trip today, a new experience for me. However, the sea has got up and the tour operators have said that it is not going to possible until next week. I am happy that they are safety conscious, being a novice, and so I decided to take the bus tour of Lima. It was probably the coldest day of the two weeks I have been here and there was a hint of rain but I had to do something.

So, onto the big red bus. It cost 65 Nuevo Soles, which is about £15, I think. Probably average for this sort of tour,(I chose the basic one although they do a variety). It departed from Kennedy Park which is in the main part of Miraflores close to the City Hall IMG_0113[1].

The first stop was, Huaca Pucllana, which I visited last week. From there we headed through the suburbs to central Lima where there is quite a mixture of old and new architecture. The streets were filled with traffic, giving an opportunity to take in the views.

Some of the older properties are well maintained, DSCN0644_298  others need more than a lick of paint.  DSCN0639_293

The highlight of the tour was San Francisco church and monastery, including a walk through the catacombs. Unfortunately, photography was banned inside the building and as you can see, this rule is rigidly enforced.DSCN0662_316 The monastery contains many works of religious art and has magnificent carved ceilings. It also contains a library of more than 25,000 books many of which are centuries old.

The catacombs contain the bones of some 70,000 people who were buried there. The bones have been dug up and stacked in neat piles according to which part of the body they belonged.   DSCN0658_312 View from outside the monastery.

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Lima in The Sunshine

What a difference the sunshine makes. After 10 days of mist and gloom, I awoke today to glorious sunshine. I decided to have a hearty breakfast for a change and head off to the seaside.

Breakfast was good, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and some type of local cheese. In the menu it was called, “French Conneggtion”. Very clever, very nice.

I got to the seafront around 11 am and it was reasonably quiet. But the attraction of a sunny day at the seaside was too good to be missed for many. The rather bleak and almost empty place that I had visited the week before was transformed. Local families, tourists, skateboarders and runners were filling the park areas. Street vendors appeared and the taxi rank became full as the taxistas dropped people off and then waited hopefully for a return fare.

The restaurants started to fill up rapidly as lunchtime approached. Now I can see the attraction of El MaleAcon in Miraflores. DSCN0568. Apart from the parks and the restaurant area, there is action taking place in the sea DSCN0570 and in the air. DSCN0608 Although the air did appear somewhat congested at times DSCN0607. There was a queue of paragliders waiting to take off. It was like a bank holiday at Gatwick Airport.DSCN0603. I did not see any pilots come to grief but there were some close encounters.DSCN0612 It is not one pilot with two chutes, unfortunately the other one is just out of the shot. Probably, fortunately for him, as they looked to me to rather too close for comfort. As exciting as it looks, don´t expect any aerial shots from me in a paraglider. They do take people up on tandem flights but unsurprisingly, I did not see any.

According to a local woman, the area has also got an attraction for those who, having become disillusioned with life, decide to jump without a chute DSCN0585. The authorities in there efforts to deter this, have erected canopies on both sides of the bridgeDSCN0584.

A bit further along from the bridge is El Parque del Amor, a park in which, after dark when all the families have gone home, lovers come to the park to do whatever it is that lovers do in parks. There is even a huge statue to celebrate this fact.DSCN0595

After such a tiring day, I went to the Lima suburb of Jesus Maria for my evening meal, in search of a restaurant serving typical local dishes. I had a nice meal of trout with golden potatoes and a delicious salad, accompanied by a cold beer. As tasty as the meal was, the occasion was marred by the clumsy attempt by the waiter to rob me of some of my change. The irony is, that what he tried to take from me, was less than the tip he would have received.  Nevertheless, for me, it was a good day to experience Lima in the sunshine.

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