Having decided to check out Barranco with its report as a fun bohemian type neighborhood we took a taxi from the hotel. This is a more relaxing area than the old part of yesterday, but watch out at night when it comes alive with partiers. Needless to say, we will be snug in bed at that point!
“Barranco was founded by Spanish settlers and soon got the nickname “city of windmills” as its first inhabitants often used windmills to draw water from their wells. In the following years Barranco developed to the fashionable seaside resort for Lima’s high society. Beautiful colonial summer residences were built, where wealthy Limeños spent their weekends and holidays. By the time Peru became independent, it was a thriving retreat for Lima’s wealthiest families. It was also a favorite place where international visitors stayed when coming to Lima.”
“In 1870 the famous “Bajada a los Baños”, a small footpath that leads from Barranco city to the ocean was constructed. The “Puente de Los Suspiros” (Bridge of Sighs) with its stunning view down the ‘bajada’ was built in 1876. During the War of the Pacific, Barranco was as other wealthy districts of Lima badly looted and set on fire by the invading Chilean troops in 1881. At the beginning of the 20th century Barranco had recovered from the war. Many more or less well known Peruvian writers and artists moved to the district and gave Barranco its special romantic and artistic flair that it still has today. In 1940 a strong earthquake hit the region and damaged the district severely. The town recovered and was once again rebuilt.”
The first time one crosses El Puente de Suspiros, Bridge of Sighs, one is to take a breath, hold it, make a wish, and cross the bridge before exhaling. If successful, one’s wish becomes granted. Here’s hoping!
A few minutes after filming the surrounding views Bill said someone else was making a movie on the footpath below. I included them in my footage, and then we walked down there as they had finished that bit. Just as we were to explore the footpath they resumed their work so we were asked to wait five minutes. As they spoke English we asked them a few questions. The male actor is quite known in Peru while the female lead has done more theatre. The movie, La Última Tarde, is due out next year, and later I found its FB page!
An old church is nearby and has an interesting but common story. “Just after crossing the bridge you reach the “Iglesia La Ermita”. According to a local legend, one night a group of fishermen were lost at sea in Lima’s famous dense winter fog. They prayed for salvation and a luminous cross appeared, guiding them back to shore. The Ermita church was built on the site where the cross allegedly appeared and since then has become the preferred church for fishermen. Although the church was nearly completely destroyed by invading Chilean troops in 1881, is has been rebuilt and is an interesting site to visit.”
After walking to the ocean and back again via the footpath, we headed to another area in Barranco known for its interesting houses. It was a bit lacking, with two huge edifices empty and wanting. A very interesting store was there, though, filled with exquisite crafts made by Peruvian artists. There were so many rooms I got a bit lost but had fun finding different nooks. It’s a good thing I don’t want to fill my life with more stuff after unloading all my treasures before moving to Costa Rica. Another artesans’ store had incredible handmade furniture. My favorite piece was a platform bed with drawers underneath and a unique feature of sliding night stands.
A stop at a chocolate factory found me trying chocolate tea made from the crushed cacao husks, hot water, and a bit of sugar. It was surprisingly delicious! A great way to get a hot chocolate drink without the milk! We were given a free five minute tour of the chocolate making process and then left in the selling area to be enticed by sampling the chocolate licores and chocolate “jams”. Of course, we did end up buying some of the dark chocolates!
Time for lunch we retraced our steps to the Barranco Brewing Company where Bill had an IPA. I chose cinnamon and clove tea to wash down the multiple cheese pizza, including Roquefort, and bacon. Fortunately the crust was very thin!
A quick peek in another artesania store in a cul-de-sac afterwards led to a quick encounter upon using the stoop next door to tie my shoe. The door opened and an elderly gentleman bent over to show me a map and pointing out a sketch of the door at the end of the short alley. He said it was done by his brother and seemed to want to retreat back into his house. I asked if it was a gift, and he said it was. How sweet! I then wondered if his brother was the older gent in the small shop. The best part of the day!
Though the morning taxi ride was about ten to fifteen minutes from the hotel we ended up walking all the way back along the coast. Just before we got back we came across a tea shop. I purchased 500 grams of loose Sencha tea for $7 to take back home. After a nap and yoga are we ready for dinner?
We returned to Mama Olla where Angel was waiting with open arms! My spinach ravioli could have been cooked a bit more, but the flavor was good. Bill enjoyed his chicken in a creamy chili peanut sauce and pisco sour. Then it was back to the hotel to arrange a taxi for 6:15, pay the bill, and pack…..always more difficult to rearrange things and deal with dirty clothes.