Tag Archives: Lima

Last Day in Lima

Day 3. Today we are no longer on our own but are part of a group that will be traveling together around Peru. The day was sunny and gave us new photo ops. We were happy to see the Plaza de las Armas closed to traffic because a military band was playing a concert in the grounds of the governor’s palace.

Since we had already toured Saint Francis monastery we left the group to explore the area. We found a 1920s shopping mall and looked at an urban redevelopment project along the river. The guide drove us around the streets of Miraflores and along the Pacific coast treating us to the views of the beautiful parks that are there. We went to a crowded neighborhood restaurant where they seated us in the only table available, in the hallway to the kitchen. This was sort of fun to see the kitchen staff hustle to serve the customers.

We went to the nearby handicraft markets and rested in a bustling but beautiful park which has the distinction of being home to 100 cats. That evening we ate at a sidewalk cafe discussing our days in Lima. Tomorrow we leave Lima and take an early flight to Cusco on our way to the Sacred Valley.




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Lima, Peru, Day 2

After breakfast we returned to el Centro to continue our ecclesial exploration, starting with the Archdiocesan Museum housed in the former bishop’s residence. On entering we were impressed by the grand staircase leading to the house chapel. The golden retablo in the chapel was immediately visible, setting the tone of the spiritual purpose of the house.










The first floor contained artwork from throughout the diocese that needed restoration. All entry fees support restoration of these works that will then be returned to the churches. My favorite was two wooden figures of the child Jesus and the Blessed Mother at play.












Fr. Tom’s favorite is a large canvas of the Assumption.












Our guide did a wonderful job pointing out images representing European and indigenous interpretations. We were inspired by bishops who reached out to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the indigenous peoples.

The second floor gave insight into the inner workings of the bishop’s function and gave us an opportunity to see period rooms now reserved for hosting dignitaries.

We continued on to the cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. The exterior which we have already posted, with the bishop’s palace, dominates the city’s central square. The interior is spacious and light, with its width accommodating many beautiful side chapels. The dimensions were imposing and the details were exquisite. There is an episcopal crypt beneath the altar. An added bonus was a museum of the cathedral’s treasures.

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We paused to pray the Divine Office before continuing on.








On the recommendation of an usher at the cathedral we went to St. Peter, having to push through a political demonstration (!). The exterior is a plain neoclassical facade in contrast to its baroque interior ornamentation, a nod to its mother church in Rome. It is a stunning interior, with the incredible retablos we are becoming accustomed to. We were happy they were starting Mass so we could attend. Also, a better way to experience a church is to experience it during worship. A bishop was the priest celebrant.

Wanting to push as much as possible into a morning, we attempted to see the Franciscan monastery, but as it was closing, we stopped at a local restaurant across from the old train station, for calamari and wine.

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Lima, Peru, Day 1

There are more posts from Germany and Austria to come, but for now I am traveling in Peru along with Father Tom Mattingly. Tuesday, January 20, 2015: It was a short night. We arrived at our hotel at 2 o’clock in the morning. We got up to a great hotel breakfast and had to go to the migration office because someone lost their migration card… The migration card is something very important in Peru, to avoid 18 percent sales tax. It was 2 hours that we will never get back again, but the people were helpful and very friendly. They went out of their way to help us maneuver through a bureaucratic maze.


From the office we went to Plaza de las Armas, the central square in the old city. It is a beautifully landscaped plaza, bordered by the cathedral, the bishop’s palace, the governor’s palace, and the central post office. We were relieved to see such a beautiful side of Peru because the areas we had seen so far were rather run down.

Governor's Palace

Governor’s Palace



We walked to the Convent of Santo Domingo and were able to get in the church before it closed down for the afternoon.


Entry into Dominican monastery

Entry into Dominican monastery



One of the side altars was dedicated 1 of the 2 favorite saints of a Lima, Martin de Porres, who spent his life and died in this monastery. We were surprised to see his skull in a glass case on the altar.

Tomb of Martin de Porres

Tomb of Martin de Porres

Looking ftom his chapel to a fresco of one of his miracles

Looking from his chapel to a fresco of one of his miracles

After leaving the church we took a tour of the monastery and Museum. There is a chapel in the monastery dedicated to Saint Martin in the room that served as the infirmary where he had worked. His grave in this the room contains his body but not his head.

There was another chapel in the monastery, below the order’s chapter room, dedicated to Saint Rose of Lima, Lima’s other favorite saint. She dedicated her body to the monastery before she died, but her head is interred in the church of Saint Rose, built where her family home had been.

Tomb of Saint Rose of Lima

Tomb of Saint Rose of Lima

We were impressed by a 17th century library in the monastery full of ancient volumes. I was happy to see a volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy displayed in the library.

Chant book in monastery

Chant book in monastery

Everywhere walls where covered in decorative tiles from Spain, frescoes and wood carvings.

1609 Tiles in Monastery with Moorish imfluence.

After the Convent of Santo Domingo we returned to the central square to find lunch. We settled on a meal of “the best ceviche in the world” according to the waiter, and a bottle of the local white wine, also the “best in the world” according to the same waiter. It was delicious, and delightful to watch the activity in the area. Next to our table was a group of Italian nuns.

It has taken some time getting use to the rate of change. The Peruvian sol is 3 to 1 US dollar, making the listed prices 3 times higher than we would expect. We had several instances of sticker shock before we got used to it.

Saint Rose of Lima's hermitage.

Saint Rose of Lima’s hermitage.

We only had time to visit one more church before we wanted to get back to the hotel, so we walked to the church of Saint Rose of Lima. The church was closed for the day but we were able to walk around the ample courtyard. Under class was the small house she and her brother had built and where she had spent her life. Father Tom was thrilled to be able to purchase medals at a small gift shop there. Although the church was closed there were many people there, a sign of her importance to the people.





We returned to the central square to catch a taxi back to the hotel. It was scary to experience Lima traffic, but we arrived back safely.

After a rest, we walked about 20 minutes from the hotel to the Pacific Ocean. The walk took us pass high end shops. casinos and 5 star hotels. The road ended in a park that looked down a steep cliff to the ocean. There was a complex of shops, restaurants and parks that took advantage of the wonderful view.

We decided that an appropriate way to end the first day would be to try the local cocktail, the Pisco sour, made from the local liquor, pisco. We felt affirmed in our decision as we found a two for one happy hour at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. A long but rewarding day.