Saturday, February 4, 2017

PERU: Lima (January 17 -20, 2017)

Our visit to Peru began in Lima. After a long flight we were glad to be met at the airport by a car arranged by our hotel, Hostal El Patio. The hotel, in the district of Miraflores, turned out to be a good choice with rooms arranged around a flower-filled courtyard.

Our room was on the second floor, just to the right of the orange umbrella.

A couple of blocks away was Parque Kennedy, surrounded by busy streets and a wide choice of sidewalk cafes, restaurants and stalls.

The park has a couple of unique features:

1) there's a WiFi hotspot right in the centre, equipped with concrete pylons for people to sit on. It's just visible on the right in the park photo above.

2) a volunteer group rescues stray kittens who live in the park until they find new homes. The sign below explains that they have been doing this for 20 years and gives information on how to adopt a cat.

We spent a day in the old heart of the city, the Centro Historico, enjoying the sunshine and the architecture, especially the beautiful carved wooden balconies on some of the buildings.

There was a considerable uniformed police presence, particularly in the main square, and we discovered that the president was making a visit. Many of the cops were women and all were relaxed and friendly in spite of the riot gear.

We found ourselves passing a small free museum dedicated to Bernardo O'Higgins, liberator of Chile from Spanish rule, who lived his final years in exile in Lima.

The most interesting items in the museum were scenes of the Nativity reinterpreted with local figures,

while the building itself had lovely stained glass doorways and intricate mosaic floors.

Another afternoon we walked down the main street to a mall on the waterfront to watch the sun go down.

It was like any mall anywhere in the world, except for the views. Expensive restaurants made the most of the outlook, and the open-air terrace was obviously a popular hangout for the young.

Wherever we walked around the city, there were brilliant flowers and trees...

... but none as spectacular as the garden attached to Museo Larco. Our visit there was a highlight of our time in Lima. The whole complex was draped in masses of bougainvillea of every possible colour, both outside its walls

and inside.

Beyond the curtain of red in the above photo is the museum's restaurant where we had a delicious lunch.

The museum itself had a well-curated collection of very interesting artifacts, and I particularly liked some of the clay pots.

Unlike other art museums we've visited, this one invited access to their vaults where pieces not in display were stacked in glass cases, giving visitors an opportunity to see the vast size of their collection.

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