Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Instagram: A Day in Lima, Peru

My daughter and I are in Peru this week with Adventures by Disney, on a trip to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We flew in yesterday and spent today exploring Lima. About a third of all Peruvians live in Lima; it's a sprawling place that's historic, colorful, sometimes elegant, often gritty, and chock full of interesting details.

We started out the day at the Convento de San Francisco, a few blocks northeast of the Plaza de Armas. We took a tour of the church and descended into the catacombs, an underground stone vault where dead bodies where buried continuously for 300 years. The bones and skulls are still on display. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside the church. The exterior courtyard is home to a gazillion pigeons.

I just love this section of the convent wall, which shows off its 400 years of paint layers.

Next, we headed to the Plaza de Armas, where Lima was founded in the 16th century. It's a wonderful place to view colonial architecture.

We arrived at the square a little before noon to watch the changing of the guard at the Palacio de Gobierno. It turned out to be a fantastic peoplewatching spot. This is probably my favorite snap of the day: a nun rushing by with fresh flowers.

We couldn't help but notice the police in the square. Strangely, their presence seemed more preventive than menacing, despite the riot shields.

Finally, after much fanfare that included a marching band, the changing of the guard happened with much highkicking but behind cast iron gates.

This fabulous giant door knocker is one of several on the Catedral in the Plaza de Armas.

This angel — complete with conquistador helmet — sits atop the central fountain in the Plaza de Armas.

We got a kick out of the taxis in Lima, which apparently come in all colors, makes and models, and degrees of repair and disrepair. Tell the driver where you want to go and agree on a price before you get into the cab.

In the Miraflores district, we stood on the corner of Hope and Peace.

Photos: I'm @suzannekelleher on Instagram.