PASEO Program Adventure—Day 57: Lima, Peru

This morning (Saturday), I booked a tour through Viator called Lima Colors and Flavors. The tour guide picked me up from my hotel at 9:30am, and once we picked up the other tourists, we drove to the district of Chorrillos, which is a local town that prides themselves on fishing. Here, the fishermen can be found fishing at 4:00am, 11:00am, and between 2:00-3:00pm. Their wives can often be found tending their stands in the fish market. Based on the times that the fishermen are out fishing, it is recommended to eat ceviche in the early afternoon and not for dinner, since the fish is freshest earlier on in the daytime.

Once we finished walking around the fish market and the port, we continued our tour in the Chorrillos neighborhood, and walked around the local markets. We sampled a wide variety of fruits native to Peru including lucuma, granadilla, tuna, aguaymanto, chirimoya, pepino dulce, pitahaya, tumbó, and platano de isla. The colors of the fruits were vibrant, and the fresh taste of each one was absolutely delicious.

Following our walk around the local markets, we stopped for lunch in a cevichería, where we ordered chicha morada to drink (made from purple corn, cinnamon, cloves, a little sugar, and pineapple), and triples which included arroz chaufa, chicharron de pescado, y ceviche. The food was great, and it was just what we needed to continue our walking tour.

After lunch, we drove to the district of Barranco, and saw the Bajada de los Baños  (a pathway to the ocean), as well as the romantic Bridge of Sighs, which is known to be a romantic site. It is also said that if you walk across the bridge while holding your breath, you are entitled to a wish. As we walked around the district, we came across beautiful art painted by talented local painters. In 2015, Barranco organized a competition named “Las Paredes Hablan” (The Walls Speak). About one hundred people entered the competition, and the ten finalists were each given public wall space to paint their artwork. Some of the incredible art work can be seen pictured below.

As nighttime approached, I stopped by Larcomar, an impressive outdoor shopping center located by the ocean in The district of Miraflores. There is a free art museum that features paintings and photography from local Peruvian artists, so I made sure to check that out, before enjoying dinner (ají de gallina) and walking around the center.

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Barcelona, Spain: Las Ramblas and Plaça de Catalunya

As our last afternoon in Barcelona quickly approached, we strolled through Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a long street in central Barcelona known for its shops, restaurants, bars, and various kiosks that sell flowers, souvenirs, and handmade art.

Las Ramblas is near el Barrio Gótico and in between Plaça de Catalunya and el Mirador de Colom, which was discussed in a previous post. The street is constantly crowded, as tourists know this is the place to be. We walked to the end of Las Ramblas on one side, which brought us to Plaça de Catalunya.

Plaça de Catalunya is said to be the city center of Barcelona, and it is where all of the city and tourist busses come to make their pick ups of those anxiously waiting to get around the city. The center is surrounded by shopping centers, hotels, financial institutions, and beautiful fountains and sculptures.

As we walked back to Las Ramblas, we came across the Font de Canaletes (Canaletes Fountain). It is said that if you drink the water from this fountain (which gives this area of Las Ramblas the name of Las Ramblas de Canaletes), you will return to Barcelona. The inscription in Catalan (the most spoken language in the city) states translated to: “If you drink water from the Font de Canaletes you will always be in love with Barcelona. And however far away you go. You will always return.”

I drank from this water nearly three-and-a-half years ago, and apparently it worked because I was back! So naturally, I drank from it again this time, and here’s hoping I’ll be back in Barcelona one day soon. (Here’s also hoping I come across a fountain that allows those who drink from it to access cheaper plane tickets).

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Las Ramblas, Font de Canaletes, and Plaça de Catalunya

 

Barcelona, Spain: Casa Battló

After lunch, my sister and I reserved a time slot to visit Casa Battló—another incredible building designed by Antoni Gaudí, which is located near the center of Barcelona.

Between 1904 and 1906, Gaudí designed and built Casa Battló for a wealthy man by the name of Josep Batlló. Battló lived in the bottom two floors with his family, and rented out the remaining floors, which were used as apartments. As you can tell by looking at the pictures, Gaudí used colors that can be found in nature, but more specifically, marine life.

The outside of the building is designed to look like it is made from skulls (which are the balconies) and bones (which are the supporting pillars for the building). The roof is designed to look like a dragon, and as you walk around the exterior and see the different angles of the house, you’ll notice different colored tiles on the roof. These are meant to represent the scales of the dragon’s spine.

As you walk inside the house, the shapes and colors of the rooms and features are constantly changing. There is something to be seen everywhere you turn. The railing for the staircase is meant to fit the palm of your hand, as are all the door knobs inside the house. The banister itself represents another spine of a large animal. With incredibly large ceilings, Gaudí shaped each skylight like the shell of a tortoise, and made sure that there is an even distribution of light throughout the entire house.

This can be noted in one of the pictures below where the tiles from the bottom floor going up start off as a light blue. As you continue walking upstairs, the tiles become increasingly darker. There is also a glass casing on each floor by the staircase that provides a special effect. So, when you look at the blue tiles through the glass, it seems as though you are underwater, and the different shades of blue really accentuate this. And as if the inside of the house wasn’t beautiful enough, the various views of the city that can be seen from the rooftop are also stunning.

Below, you’ll find a video provided by Casa Batlló that shows the house come to life, as Gaudí originally imagined. It is truly a spectacular piece of art, and besides being a historic and fascinating staple for Barcelona, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

http://vimeo.com/81086090

Day 2 In Bogotá, Colombia Continued: Museo del Oro

After passing through the Museo Botero, we walked through the city and came across an obleas cart. Obleas are thin wafers that can be filled with jam, fruits, cheese, condensed milk, dulce de leche, or arequipe. I remember buying packages of this years ago in Guatemala, so naturally I ordered one to try it out here in Colombia. I ordered this one with condensed milk and jam, and it was delicious to say the least.

After taking a quick snack break, our tour continued at the Museo del Oro, Bogotá’s Gold Museum. Upon entering the museum, we were told that it contains somewhere around 53,000-55,000 pieces including metals and artifacts, with 32,000 of the pieces being pre-historic gold artifacts. This museum is also said to be the largest in South America, or at least that’s what our tour guide told us. The way that some of the artifacts have been displayed on shadows represents the ways in which various tribes once wore the golden pieces. Additionally, pictured below, you can see large emeralds, which are known to be very valuable in Colombia. Something I found very interesting was that the room containing these emeralds was secured in a vault and guarded by security, whereas all of the other rooms in the museum did not have such strict security.

Also found below is the Muisca Raft, also called the El Dorado Raft. In a certain ritual, the Muisca chief jumped into the lake along with gold and emeralds as offerings. This golden raft with people on it is a replica of what is believed to have been the raft with the Muisca chief and others before the offering. Since the offering, countless people have tried to dive into Lake Guativita to find the golden pieces, but since the lake is so deep, no one has had such luck. The last exhibit we came across in the museum displayed 3,200 pieces that had been found upon digging up old tombs.

An interesting fact about the city of Bogotá is that the founder of Bogotá came searching for El Dorado, the city of gold, but he instead found the city of Bogotá. Ironically, the gold museum is located next to where his house originally was.

As we drove off to our next stop, we were told that Justin Bieber visited Colombia a few years ago, and decided to graffiti some of the walls here in Bogotá. Surprisingly, he had a police escort surrounding him, and was allowed to graffiti the walls. Local graffiti artists ended up complaining to the government in protest of not being allowed to graffiti the walls, and the government ended up changing the rules. Since then, local graffiti artists are now allowed to graffiti throughout the city only with permission of buildings if the graffiti consists of approved art.

Our next stop included a lesson in one of Bogotá’s local sports, Tejo, which I’ll be posting about a little later on.

Day Four In Antigua, Guatemala

Seeing as we had a somewhat early flight back home from Guatemala, we spent our remaining morning hours in Antigua exploring the grounds of our hotel, which included six great museums on the premises. The first museum we entered was the hotel’s Silver Museum which houses various samples of old, traditional handicrafts of the region including glazed crockery, painted ceramic, pyrography-based crafts (made from wood-burning), wrought iron, candles, carpentry and cabinets, tin ware, textiles and kites, and other such artifacts.

From there, we came across the Marco Augusto Quiroa and the Artist Halls which is a beautiful art exhibit with numerous pieces such as paintings and sculptures on display. We spent much more time in the museums than we had originally planned and only had time for one more exhibit so we chose the Archeology Museum as our grand finale. This particular museum displayed a wide array of both ceramic and stone objects including feminine figures, vases, plates, bowls, funerary urns, thuribles (used in worship services to burn incense), ceramic jugs, and other such immaculate pieces which are assumed to have been used during the Mayan culture’s Classic Period (200-900 AD).

Having reached the end of our trip, we made our way back to the hotel room to grab our belongings and head over to the airport to return home. On the way to the room though, we came across a breathtaking view alongside beautiful parrots that were quick to catch our eyes. Unfortunately, that was it for our time in Antigua, but hopefully one day we will return because there is still so much to be explored in this incredible city!

(http://www.casasantodomingo.com.gt/museums-en.html