We ate breakfast around 8:30 am this morning, our actual tour did not start until 11:45 am. Breakfast was great like Saturday, there type of food was about the same, however they did not have our favorite chocolate filled pastry. Following breakfast we returned to the room. Cindy Skyped and Todd ventured out of the hotel to get water for the day.
We meet our entire tour group in the hotel lobby, Novotel Lima. By 11:50 am we were boarded on the bus ready to start our tour. Each us were given name tags which I thought was a nice touch. Particularly since none of us knew each other. Our tour guide, Angel, explain several things about the Lima area. There are 53 mayors in the Lima region and one head mayor. There are over 250 tremors a year. No major earthquake since the 1700’s. On our bus ride we passed by a major freeway artery which was closed. Our tour guide said that on Sunday mornings this freeway closed so the locals can us the freeway for exercising like running, biking, etc. How neat is that.
Our first stop on the tour was
be my guest lunch. Our lunch was at a private residence, the family still living there. The private home was Casa Diez Conseca. The owner is a former politician and now owns the largest producer and exporter of Quinoa. Normally the owner is at the home, however today he was in town and was not able to meet us. When entered the gardens of the hotel, we were greeted by a host of waiters carrying pisco sours or a corn drink. Cindy had the pisco sour and I had the corn drink (nonalcoholic). The drinks were a very nice touch and enjoyable. Following our welcome drinks, we were offered a liver skewer. This was so good. Our tour guide actually did a great job giving us a tour of the home explaining the various rooms and the family history. Here is a little more information regarding the private residence.https://www.limatours.com.pe/archivos/perucollection/CASAS-PERUANAS.pdf
Following our tour of the home, we had a fantastic lunch, buffet style. Our tables were located outdoors on the patio behind the home. We sat under shade trees where there was a cool breeze. There were four tables set up for our tour. Our table guests included a
family from Westchester NY and two single ladies, one from PA and the other from MD. Before we ate our lunch, our tour guide came to each table and asked us to follow him so he take us to the buffet line so he could explain each dish were about to eat. Unfortunately, I did not write the food choices down, however the items were all Peruvian. We were also offered beverages at the table, including red and white and wine. Cindy had the red wine and I had the white wine, both Peruvian. We are starting think Peru wines are limited and have very limited taste. For dessert we had two yummy options; rice pudding and fruit salad. This is the first time we could eat fresh food according to the tour guide. Cindy and I tried a little of each. They were both really good. In the end, we spent about 1.5 hours at the private home. Prior to leaving the, the tour guide presented us with a handmade wool woven small case with his quinoa beans package inside. Such a beautiful gesture.
Following our awesome lunch and private home visit, we reboarded our bus
and headed to our next visit, Church of the San Francisco. Along the route, we drove by several shanty towns located close to the freeway and on the mountainside. Shanty towns are slums on the outskirts of many cities – especially in third world countries. Normally there are not many shanty towns in more economically developed countries. Often of low cost, with houses badly built with plywood, corrugated metal, sheets of plastic, cardboard or any available material. Our tour guide stated that some of the shanty towns do have limited water and electric, but it is limited. We also noticed that there were writings on the side of the mountains. Apparently these are political statements.
After about a 40 minute ride, we arrived at the Church of the San Francisco. This church is a beautifully appointed spanish style and it also a monastery. We were only able to take a few photos of the exterior, no photos allowed inside. I was able to copy a few interior photos from the inside of the church off the Internet. According to our guide of the church and Internet research, here is some really neat information on the church. “The church and
monastery were consecrated in 1673 and completed in 1774. Though it survived several earthquakes intact in 1687 and 1746, it suffered extensive damage in an earthquake in 1970. The church is noted for its architecture, a high example of Spanish Baroque. Its granite carved portal would later influence those on other churches, including the Church of Merced. The vaults of the central and two side naves are painted in mudejarstyle: a mix of Moorish and Spanish designs. The head altar is fully carved out of wood. The corridors of the main cloister are inlaid with Sevillian glazed tiles dating from the 1620s. The complex is made of the temple, the convent and two other churches, ‘La Soledad’ and ‘El Milagro’.” Much of the wood in the cloisters were imported from Nicaragua.
The three fantastic parts of the church that stood out the most to Cindy and I was the impressive library in the upper floors, the catacombs under the church and the churches painting of the last supper. The library “is world-renowned. It possesses about 25,000 antique texts, some of them predating the conquest. Some notable books are the first Spanish dictionary published by the Royal Spanish Academy and a Holy Bible
edition from 1571- 1572 printed in Antwerp.”
The catacombs were very interesting. We had never seen anything like this before. Located under the main church, it consists of various passages. According to the tour guide, originally the catacombs consisted of just large donors of the church, however later on common people were buried there. “Discovered in 1943, they contain thousands of skulls and bones, serving as a burial-place until 1808, when the city cemetery was opened outside Lima. It is estimated that 25,000 bodies were laid to rest there; the crypts, build of bricks and mortar are very solid and have stood up well the earthquakes, it is also believe that existed secret passageways connected to the Cathedral and the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition.” Our tour guide said the bodies were first decomposed and they took their bones and skulls and skulls and sorted them in a very organized pile. The pictures on my blog are from the Internet since we were not allowed to take photos.
One last standout of the church was the large painting of the last supper. This painting was completed by Diego de la Puente. The painting has similarities of
other last supper paintings, however this version consisted of typical Peruvian ingredients and meals including chili’s, potatoes, and guinea pig. Another difference is a vision of the devil next to Judas. Quite interesting.
After visiting the Church of San Francisco we walked to a beautiful plaza called Plaza de Armas. The plaza was surrounded by the Presidential Palace, Bishop Place, and various other beautifully appointed buildings. According to some of the research, here is what I found about this plaza. The plaza “is the founding site of the city of Lima. It is the main public space of the city. It is located in the historic center of Lima , around buildings are Government Palace of Peru , the Cathedral of Lima , the Iglesia del Sagrario , theArchbishop’s Palace of Lima , the Municipal Palace of Lima and the Club of the Union . The main square is surrounded by the Junín shred the shred of the Union , the Huallaga shred and shred Carabaya” Unfortunately we were not able to go to the center of the plaza because a there was a protest in the opposition corner of the park. Police were blocking the entrance and then about 15 minutes later several police showed up with riot gear. We were lucky to see the plaza, however not fully.
We boarded the bus in the plaza area and then headed back to the hotel. What a fun day touring the older part of Lima. You can feel that the city is full and rich in culture and traditions. Really neat to see.
Dinner this evening was on our own this evening. Cindy and I decided to eat at the same restaurant as last evening, we did not want to venture out much plus we needed to be up super early to head to the airport. We ate Tanta and had a full meal this evening.
Before going to sleep for the evening, we spent time packing and getting to bed early. Follow us on Facebook & Twitter! We encourage you to visit our sponsors (ads) on each page.
Cindy and I Plaza de Armas