Thursday, 31 October 2013

Chile Photo Diary.

Though my day trip to Arica, Chile was over before I could believe it, I still had the chance to take a few snaps of my surroundings. The majority of our day was taken up by sitting in immigration for hours, trying to cross the border from Peru, we still had the chance to have a delicious lunch by the seaside (where I had the most devine chocolate mousse ever), have a look over the city from the famous 'Cerro de Arica', gatecrash a Disney street parade, and meander through the markets, but not before eating the most delicious gelato and getting thoroughly confused by the incredibly overvalued currency (I'm not even kidding, the gelato cost $1900 pesos).

I wish I'd had longer over the border to explore a little more, because I was surprised by just the amount of cultural difference within a 50km radius of the Peruvian border, especially as Arica used to belong to Peru. I hate to say it, by Chile may have stolen my heart a little bit. I'll go back there someday soon, I'm sure.

Chicken enchilada with beans and golf sauce.

Mixed seafood empanadas.

Chilean ceviche (raw seafood with drizzled lime over the top), was not good at all, Peruvian ceviche is still the best!

Clam chowder-ish dish with mashed potato, was delicioso!

 Photos by me, Tami.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Santa Catalina, Arequipa

The Convent of Santa Catalina is so much more than just any other religious building- located in Central Arequipa, just off the Plaza de Armas, taking up a full block of the city. I was a little sceptical at first, as I've seen enough churches/ religious buildings here to last me a lifetime, though my mind was completely changed when I walked through the entrance arches. What I had expected to be a boring, old museum-style stone building was actually an architectural playground, with regal arches and beautifully-painted depictions of the Bible, surrounded by vibrant colour. 

The convent was formed by a rich Spanish widow in the 16th Century, and only those from wealthy families could begin their training to be a nun. Santa Catalina wasn't like any other convent though- the nuns had their own servants and enjoyed many social events with entertainment, though in the 19th Century the Pope put a firm stop to this. A small handful of nuns still live there today, though the majority of Santa Catalina is open to the public to explore.

I personally loved the distinctive architecture and the convent's labyrinth-like layout- it's like it's own little city, with street names and different sectors! Unfortunately, the few photos I took doesn't do Santa Catalina justice, the tour we took was very rushed and I don't have a computer over here to edit my photos before putting them on here- so excuse me for that! 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Centro de Lima.

Before I continue with all of the posts I have ready from my trip to Arequipa and Chile, I thought I'd do a quick little post about the Centro de Lima (the historical centre of Lima), as I haven't already! 

Downtown Lima is one of the only places in all of Peru where you can see impressive colonial architecture (from the era when the Spanish still had control of the country). Unfortunately, not one of the the buildings standing today are original- due to the many earthquakes since the 1500s, the Chilean invasion in the 1800s, and the various refurbishments, most are just facades of what they once were. 

Must-sees are Plaza San Martin, where the liberator is commemorated with a huge statue of him atop his steed; a stroll along the Jirón de la Unión, the passage linking Plaza San Martin with the Plaza de Armas, where dainty colonial balconies stick out over the street, and houses are painted a number of bright colours; and the Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by the Presidential Palace (which features a daily changing of the guard at noon), the main cathedral and town hall, as well as the archbishop's residence. 

The last two photos are from the Mirador de San Cristóbal, a lookout perched on top of a hill, where, on a sunny summer's day, you can see the entirety of Lima. Unfortunately, I went up in June, so the characteristic Lima fog obscured the few a little, though I plan to return in summer to get some proper snaps! And there you have it- downtown Lima in a nutshell.