Monday, November 1, 2010

A Barranco Birthday

The "Heroic City" of Barranco, Lima, Peru--by crow 30 minutes from La Molina, was a perfectly romantic place to celebrate my birthday.

Barranco's location on the cliffs made it an ideal location for a bathing resort that drew Lima's citizens much like Salt Lake City's Saltair on the shore of the Great Salt Lake.

Several months ago Dad and I read about this seaside district of Barranco which is south of Mireflores, one of our favorite seaside haunts. Unlike Mireflores, the sea is not encumbered with high rise hotels and seaside restaurants. A little out of the way, it was and still is home to artists and poets, Lima's Bohemia, the guide book says. It has a pre-Hispanic history as well, but the district was officially incorporated 1874. Some of the older homes, mostly mansions and a couple of castles, date from the late 1700s, but the district is Colonial in feel, very Spanish and European. Those who lived in Barranco during the Colonial period were the conquistadores and the religious orders. The guidebook says Barranco was also a sizeable fishing village. Only last year was the modern marina completed. We saw some yachts among fishing and small pleasure boats.

Barranco also has distinguished military history having participated in the defense of Lima during the War of the Pacific--hence, it has the title of Heroic City.

The library dates to the late 1800s. In trying to capture the colorful building, I also caught a table of meats and cheeses lying uncovered under the mid-day sun.

One of the famous poets of Barranco wrote a poem about the Bridge of Sighs, a lover's bridge. Dad and I are standing on the bridge with the stairs to the upper city and an open market. The bridge was quite crowded but now we wish we had taken a picture of the whole bridge.

Two women from the highlands were getting ready to weave a belt when I took this picture. They made the bags, belts, small purses which they were selling.

This English Tudor mansion has a unique fence of chopped wood.

Every view was scenic--this restaurant is connected to an early cable car. In the background is the colorful cathedral tower.

Dad and I wondered if the bird on the far side of the brick sidewalk had an affair with a chicken.

This picture doesn't show the downward slope of the path from the higher city to the lower city where the baths were and where some of the older homes and restaurants are. Along the path are two backpackers' hostelries and a poet's home and museum.

Barranco has quite a history of earthquakes. Evidence of that is the cathedral in the background. Because it is an historic site, the destroyed cathedral still stands, but you can see the hole in the roof and the burned tower. Close up one can see the studs and bricks which once were covered with adobe. Only the facade remains, painted the popular lucuma color, and the plaza has a large feria or market. Also look at the wall which faces the street--the nearer stone wall is painted a warm blue green, but the back section is still the natural river rock.

We were told this is one of the castles. It looks like a private home.

This remodeled home is for sale. Not many could afford such a home. This is just one of many that line the main boulevard to the sea.

This cactus is really popular in Lima. We have seen it cut short and bordering flower gardens, decorating home entrances, and as house plants.

Alamedas or parks running the length and center of a main boulevard are common in Lima. This one is beautifully maintained and looks so European with gaslights and wrought iron benches.

The ocean is behind me. This picture shows a more full view of the beautiful boulevard with the center alameda and the mansions that line flank the boulevard.

Dad and Cesar, Graciela's husband, are standing under one of the arbors, a lovely spot for watching waves and surfers.

This is one of my favorite view points. You can see the cliffs of the coast line, an apartment building which is across the street, not on the cliff, and the wind blown trees. Colorful flowers are everywhere and, because of the humidity, the flowers survive the year round.

Dad and I are standing near a cement wall which runs the length of the sidewalk and offeres a great bench for just observing the ocean and the gardens.

Graciela and Cesar are standing in the spot from which Graciela took our foto so the view behind them is to the south. Graciela told Cesar Elder Slingerland was taking Hna. Slingerland on a date and she wanted to go on a date too. The plan was that the would just take us to Barranco but then we would go our separate ways, but we asked them if they would like to "double" date, a new term for them. We had a grand time together.

From the restaurant where I took this picture, we could look down into a once beautiful mansion which backed up against a hill. Graciela said there was a law that only these two colors could be used in homes. We are looking at the original paint of a home built sometime in the mid 1800s. What you cannot see is that the earthquake caused a landslide which slammed into the back of this home, completely filling this badroom and crushing the back walls of the house. Because it is historic, it cannot be torn down.

This picture was taken from a cliff which overlooks the restaurant where we ate lunch. We climbed steep stairs to the third floor and an outdoor patio of the restaurant which looks as if it was once a home. This picture also shows the vestiges of the pre-Hispanic culture--before the 1500s--with the terraced cliff and ruins of structures on the edge of the cliff near the ocean.

This picture gives better view of the seascape, the Inca ruins, and the scenic viewpoint. This day at the coast was a perfect day. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday-- a day with Dad, beautiful scenery, and good friends to share the day with. We were grateful Graciela and Cesar stayed with us because they also were our very knowledgeble tour guides. They have a fun tradition by the way. They regularly bundle their three children up and take them to the coast for night games and a dinner picnic. They know the seaside well!

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