Plaza de Armas (also called Plaza Mayor) – the Peruvian equivalent of the zocalo in Mexico. The Plaza is quite large and surrounded by the cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Palacio de Gobierno, which is the residence of the President.
- Iglesia de San Pedro, a small baroque church. Not much to look at from the outside but pretty ornate inside. The church was consecrated by the Jesuits in 1638 and makes extensive use of “pan de oro”, a gold glaze and beautiful tile work throughout.
- Museo Banco Central de Reserva del Peru, a museum specializing in pre-columbian archaeology and a very impressive display of gold in the vault.
- Monasterio de San Francisco, a monastery and church with an impressive but sadly aged library filled with books from centuries past. Another feature of this church is that it contains underground catacombs holding the bones of many unnamed souls from years past - a sort of Peruvian "potters field". A bit ghoulish for my tastes…
We have also ventured about near the coast in Miraflores. The city here sits on a cliff about a 100 feet above the see and offers some great views. Should the sun decide to peak through the clouds at some point the views will be even better! More pictures to come on that when we get a bit better light and some blue skies. There is an extensive shopping center - Larcomar - that sits embedded in the cliff right over the beach.
On Monday - a national holiday celebrating the naval Battle of Angamos - we were invited to go up to a country club in Chosica, a town about 25 miles outside of Lima. Holiday traffic here is considerably worse than anything outside of Los Angeles and the trip was thus a bit intense. However, we arrived in a sunny setting with some pretty incredible scenery. This whole area is desert and the hills are totally barren of plant life - except where mankind has intervened and created oasis in the otherwise moonscape setting. We picnicked, hiked about and generally enjoyed the sun and greenery in Los Bosques (the forest for you non spanish speakers) country club. Had it been warmer or had we had more time we could have hung by the pool, done some horseback riding or any number of other activities available to visitors.
Yesterday was our own shopping tour to the nearby Indian market area. I have now officially fallen in love with all things alpaca! The sweaters are soft (baby alpaca is the best!), high quality and cheap. The artwork is colorful and the selection of any cloth handiworks (tablecloths, clothes, etc) is extensive.