Brave Para-gliders

When I think back to my time in Lima, my most vivid memories are of the Mira Flores district. I loved how the cityscape crept up to the cusp of the Pacific Ocean.  Lover’s Park teeters on the edge of a massive cliff between skyscrapers and the Ocean.  When I picture this lively place speckled in mosaics, I remember the para-gliders that flew bravely over-head. They glided close to the buildings and over the cliff’s edge. On occasion, they would cast large shadows overhead that blotted out the sun. This post is in homage to the daredevils that were brave enough to appreciate the beauty of Mira Flores from a new perspective.

What places have stood out to you?

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Lima, Peru – Part II – Historic Center of Lima

Downtown Lima is a bustling metropolis that offers centuries of rich history. During our visit to the Cercado de Lima, we were shown the centuries old architecture of various government buildings, cathedrals and the President’s house which was adjacent to town square. We were lucky enough to arrive during a week of festival where we were able to enjoy a parade with a full marching band and people in costumes. The day we toured the center of Lima also just happened to be national Pisco Sour day! A Pisco sour could be compared to a whiskey sour except that Pisco is not whiskey. The cocktail is made with Pisco, muddled limes (sometimes lemons), simple syrup, an egg white, and bitters. It is shaken and served with a foamy top resulting from the egg white, then topped off with cinnamon! Yum! In the spirit of the holiday, most restaurants were serving these complimentary to lunch and dinner.

My favorite part of our day was touring the Catacombs of the Saint Francis Cathedral & Monastery. To read more on this experience, see my post titled “Catacombs of the Saint Francis Cathedral & Monastery in Lima, Peru – A MUST SEE!!!” Lastly, we walked through the central market place which was missing its glass roof which was destroyed in an earthquake. Recent tremors and a 6.4 quake had deterred them from replacing it.

Our visit to the Cercado de Lima was brief but the sights and rich history made it worth it. If planning a vacation, I would suggest spending no more than 1-2 days visiting this central district of downtown Lima. This will give you more than enough time to take in the history and appreciate the scenery.

~Carpe Diem!

Lima, Peru – Part I – The Miraflores District

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For those of you who don’t know, Lima is a very large city comprised of nearly 50 districts that span a distance of over 300 km sq. Hannah (my travel companion) and I were lucky enough to stay near the water in the district of Miraflores. During our first stroll through the area we learned that during the day, heat from the sun warms the water from the Pacific and causes an unusual but aesthetically pleasing layer of fog that takes over a good portion of the Miraflores district. It was so beautiful! Miraflores is set up on a cliff so there is no close access to any beaches, but the parks are lovely and provide some of the most lovely views for picture-taking and sight-seeing! We were fortunate enough to be within walking distance of “Lovers Park.” Continue reading

The Floating Islands of the Uros – A Unique Experience

 

A demonstration of how the Uros people build their islands, boats, and homes.

A demonstration of how the Uros people build their islands, boats, and homes.

If you’re looking for a unique experience while traveling in Peru, don’t miss out on visiting the floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca.

The life style of the Uros people differs greatly from what most of us are accustomed to. Visiting the islands offers a unique travel experience and the opportunity to gain an understanding of a piece of Peru’s cultural history. I walked away from the experience with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the lifestyle of the Uros. My lack of preexisting knowledge of the islands and a lack of research ahead of time, allowed me to be completely taken by surprise. Before visiting the islands, I had assumed “Floating Islands” was a play on words and that there must be a catch…But I was wrong; the islands are literally floating on the lake, held in place by only an anchor.

The islands themselves are man-made using native Totora reeds and roots. The buoyant roots and soil are cut into large squares approximately 1 yard cubed. These cubes are then roped together to make the base of the island. Next, the reeds themselves are cut and laid atop the base to make for sturdier footing. The picture below shows just how thin the base of the islands are. On several occasions the island under me seemed to give a little further in some spots causing me to question whether or not my foot would break through into the lake! Luckily, no such event happened (whew).

The roots of the Totora Reeds make up the buoyant bottom while the reeds themselves are nestled on top to provide stable (ish) footing.

The roots of the Totora Reeds make up the buoyant bottom while the reeds themselves are nestled on top to provide stable (ish) footing.

Access to the islands can be gained through Puno, where tours are offered at most hotels, the bus station, and the docks themselves.

Not only will you get an up close and personal look at how these people live their daily lives… but you’ll get to see living history, have a unique experience, and leave enriched by a new cultural experience!

“The Incan City”- A Perfect Precursor to Exploring Machu Picchu

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Ollantaytambo or “The Incan City” is a small town 60 km Northwest of Cusco. It was once the royal estate of emperor Pachacuti and served as both a town and ceremonial center. Today it is a small residential town that thrives off of tourism in addition to serving as one of the starting points of the popular Incan Trail. The Incan city as it stands today consists of a mix of its original infrastructure with more modern infrastructure built atop. From the paved roads, to the retaining walls, the original 500-year-old infrastructure is discernible throughout much of the town.

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Catacombs of the Saint Francis Cathedral & Monastery in Lima, Peru – A MUST SEE!!!

For those of you looking for things to do while in Lima, Peru, consider visiting the Saint Francis Cathedral & Monastery. It not only is fascinating for its architecture, style and history but the Catacombs beneath the foundation offer a unique experience! Truly unforgettable.

The Monastery was built in the 15th century and sports Spanish Baroque style architecture. The foundation was built with round well-like structures designed to absorb the shock from frequent tremors and earthquakes. The interior is adorned with gorgeous original murals only recently discovered within the last 40 or so years. It is the only original construction cathedral left in the area but it did suffer some damage in the 1970’s from a quake. The guide conducting the tour of the grounds shared a story with us which claims that all the beautiful tile work, mahogany, and cedar in several of the chambers took over a year to collect back in the 15th century. Messengers were sent to gather hand-painted tiles from Seville, Mahogany and Cedar from Central and/or South America plus other materials from India. We were prohibited from photographing anything inside the grounds so unfortunately I have no pictures to share with you. Sorry!

The Catacombs part of the tour was the most fascinating for me as my B.A. was in Anthropology with an Archaeology focus. Osteology was my all time favorite class so bones fascinate me!

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