Callao (Lima) Peru
March 7th, 2012
The port of Callao is the gateway to Lima, the capitol of Peru. It was founded by Francisco Pizarro, the ruthless Spaniard conquistador who defeated the Incas. Peru is a country of many interesting historical sights. To the south are the Nazca lines which is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Inland from Lima is the famous Machu Picchu Ruins (the lost Inca city).
The city of Lima is huge (nearly 10 million people) and one in three Peruvians lives here. Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia are South Americas true Indian countries. Many indigenous tribes formed the Inca Empire (who were aggressive conquers themselves). Peasants seeking work have flooded the city from the interior but there is not enough work for all of them. They have to create there own work. Many selling every imaginable product, musicians, mimes, fortune tellers, clowns artisans, thieves—every conceivable way of earning a living no matter how meager.
The historical center of town has the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. Construction on the Cathedral started in 1746 and several earthquakes resulted in parts of it being rebuilt. Inside you will find a series of paintings that describe in visual fashion, the thirteen daring men who decided to accompany Pizarro on his conquest of the Incas. Just to the right as you enter, you find the chapel of Pizarro, an impressive space with walls of mosaic tiles. Also in his chapel is a glass coffin containing his mummified body.
The Cathedral is very impressive with its many mosaic walls and gold religious artifacts. It also houses a museum next to the sanctuary.
Next to the Cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace with it’s ornate facade including a pair of wooden balconies, probably the best example of this architectural style in Latin America.
On the north side of the plaza is the Government Palace which was Pizarro’s own house. It is not open to the public but midweek they have a colorful changing of the palace guards.
On our tour we also visited a very old monastery and church. Lima gas over 20 museums and is rich in historical artifacts. One day is not nearly enough time for Peru. We were joined by 105 passengers who were returning to the ship after visiting Machu Picchu. We will have to leave that visit in our bucket list.
On to Ecuador and crossing the Equator ceremony where we become shell-backs…