Here are some random shots from my beautiful trip to Peru. Of course the greatest beauty I encountered there was undoubtedly in the people I met. I’ll be frank – Peru seems to have an overabundance of gorgeous people, but it was their warmth, generosity and humor that knocked my socks off. I don’t have permissions to post their photos, though, so I’ll focus on a few other lovely sights.
Up in Cusco, Carmen and I went to an evening performance of traditional Peruvian dance. In the back of the theater there was a small costume museum filled with absolutely stunning pieces like this one. The color and complexity of the patterns and pieces just blew me away.
Here’s Carmen’s church – it’s such a lovely structure, with an open and clean design inside. It had great warmth with minimal fuss. Check out the fence around the church – they have a wonderful gardener who talks to the flowers and they evidently listen to him. I was really taken by the way the flowers seemed to burst out of their container.
Now here’s an interesting one. Carmen’s great friends, Marg and Eileen, are Presentation Sisters – their order was founded by an Irish woman named Nano Nagle. Marg and Eileen live not too far from Carmen, in an area called Las Flores de Villa, and there they have created two amazing centers. One is primarily for women and the other is for children. They provide holistic therapies, access to psychologists and counselors, art therapies, places to work and receive all manner of support. These buildings are beautiful because of where they are and what they provide for the great people who live nearby.
The building pictured above is their center for children. The next shots are from inside:
Above, you can see a shot of the neighborhood. The cyclamen below really summed up the inside of the building for me – in a rocky, dry environment, the center springs like an oasis, filled with lush color and growth.
This shot was from what Carmen called our ‘Pilgrim Day’ in Lima – starting here, at Las Nazarenas church, where on a busy working day people stop and buy a beautiful candle and have it lit for them while they pause and say a prayer. I liked how some people would group several candles into one holder, and others would stick with one. Some went for simple white candles, and others really went all out with the elaborate purple ones. This church is the starting point of the famous celebration of Señor de los Milagros in October each year.
From Las Nazarenas we walked up to the Santuario de Santa Rosa – Saint Rose of Lima’s home.
There’s a nice ritual at this well – people write down their hopes and intentions on a slip of paper, press them to the statue, and then drop them into the well. Carmen told me that in the past she’s seen long lines of people waiting to reach the well. We were fortunate that the day we visited was surprisingly quiet, and we were able to meander around a bit and then drop our wishes into the well. (I’m pretty sure Carmen asked for a Ferrari.)
Last stop on the tour was Saint Martin’s home.
This was a gorgeous building with incredible tile work, entirely dedicated to providing services to the poor. Saint Martin was super cool – not only was he tireless in working and advocating for the poor, but all the statues depict him with a broom in hand, because he considered all work sacred. I can get behind that.
I had to pop in this photo from Huaca Pucllana – a pre-Incan site right in the fancy district of Miraflores. According to my reading, it dates back to 200-700AD, and is an extremely significant site. We were simply floored by the excavation – particularly one demonstration of the process of collecting and reassembling the zillions of pieces to a huge smashed vessel. It was ulcer-inducing just to consider how painstaking the project was! I also couldn’t stop looking at the patterns created by the adobe bricks.
The last shot is of the coast, from the Larcomar shopping area in Miraflores. Pretty sweet view!