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Published: October 31st 2008
The Lord of the Miracles Festival
Here are some ladies in their religios clothing with incense from near the front of the parade
We've been away over a week now, although it feels like longer for some reason. After the first blog we spent a few days seeing the rest of Lima, and had a bit of an epic coach journey to Cusco, which I´ll come to later!
On the Saturday morning we went into town (after we managed to get away from Angelo, the hostel owner who cannot stop talking!) We arrived in perfect time to join the crowd that was filling the main square for the arrival of the Lord of the Miracles parade. We were near the front of the crowd, where there were bright and colourful ceremonial guards on parade, as well as riot police complete with riot shields and backed up by armoured cars! Peru is 80% Catholic, and the majority of them take religion seriously, so we saw a lot of people in their religious purple dress with white headscarfs, and people were crowding to by rosaries when they passed by. The crowd were all well behaved and it was fun to be right in the middle of it all.
We snuck out after the mural copy had been presented to the Presidents Palace, and headed
Lima City Centre
View of the Plaza de Armas in central Lima
to the San Fransiscan monastery, where we had a tour of the building, including a very, very old library with two spiral staircases (unfortunately pictures weren´t allowed) and also into the crypt, where 25,000 people had been buried, sinceLima used to not have a cemetary. The archaeologists had arranged the bones of the unidentified people into patterns so that they could do a count, but it was slightly disturbing looking into a 5m wide well with bones laid out in a circular pattern!
Angelo had told us the Hotel Maury had a good, economic menu, but more importantly, that they make one of the best pisco sour´s in the world! It was a good pisco sour, but the meal weighed in at a hefty five pounds, compared to just over a pound the day before, so were were left reeling more from the price than the drink!
We went to the Parque del Amore in Miraflores - complete with love quotes - and joined the locals watching the gringo paragliders whizzing around (at 20 pounds for a few minutes flight we decided against it this time), but the cliff top parks were great to walk around in the
Parque del Amor
This is the statue of lovers, on the cliff-top parque del amor, with a paraglider passing by behind it
Parque del Amor
Wrongly advised on location and entry fee by the Lonely Planet Guide, the next day we trekked to the Natural History Museum. We saw some interesting parts of the city and practiced lots of spanish asking for directions on the way! The top of my recently shaved head took a beating from the sun and took on a decidedly painful pink glow. After Christina's Spanish failed us in the supermarket (She asked if they sold hair to protect my burnt head) we had to improvise and so for the rest of the day I sported a stylish hat made from Christina´s cardigan tied around my head!
That aftenoon we went round Huaca Huallamarca, which is another adbe pyramid ancient religious site. It had a small museum, with several mummies and skeletons, as well as pottery and some fabrics. Walking up the runway path to the top of the Huaca felt like something from Indianna Jones, but there was absolutely nothing at the top, which was a bit of a let down.
That afternoon we got our first public bus, rather than a taxi. Costing about 30p each, it was pretty excting. The buses are
Christina at Huaca Hallamarca, with hand made adobe bricks shown behind her
very colourful, very run-down minibuses. They barely stop, slowing down by the stops as the conductor yells out the destinations its going to. If you want, you dive in before it pulls away into the mass of horn-blaring traffic, and hopefully it takes you to the right place by a reasonably direct route! Our journey wasn´t very far and was remarkably easy.
Monday was our last day in Lima so we returned to the city centre to fill in the gaps left from Saturday, including the beautiful cathederal, the hilarious changing of the guards, and the Museum of the Inquisition. The changing of the guards took 45 minutes, and was entirely behind black railings, meaning the view was pretty bad. They played a variety of marching music, which included the sound of silence and the Pirates of the Carribean music!! During the eclectic musical performance the guards marched in a stately and slow version of Basil Fawlty´s goose-stepping. Bizare.
Encouraged by our earlier bus success we attempted it again. In the chaos, sellers hopped on using various sales techniques. At one point there was great excitement and the conductor ran down the road - it turned out someone
Chapel of the Virgin in Lim Cathederal - made of silver and gold plated wood
had scarpered without paying. Although we took the very scenic route, we recognised a lot of the places we past, so we left Lima really feeling like we had seen a lot of the city.
Our bus journey to Cusco started badly when bus left 15 minutes early, as we watched. It did come back, but we were delayed by about half an hour. We then settled down for 22 hours of feeling very very sick as the bus rounded corner after corner. Perhaps the worst thing about it was that we could see absolutely stunning mountains, rivers and llamas out of the window, but couldn´t look at them for fear of being sick.
Now we are in Cusco. We have had a slow start, getting used to the altitude which is a lot harder than we expected. We're beginning to get enthusiasm up now as there is a lot to see although it is very very touristy. On the 31st we leave for the inca trail to Machu Pichu and will write about Cusco before then.
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