Coquimbo Chile. A small town north of Valparaiso. We decided not to venture ashore as we were told there was not much to see. A very poor region that looked very dilapidated. We had a lovely restful day aboard recuperating from our full day in Valparaiso the day before.
After two calm, sunny days at sea, we arrived in Callao Peru at 6am on the 17th April. As we head up the coast the temperature is gradually increasing. A lovely still 22 oC today. Callao was founded in 1537 as a transshipment point for goods taken from the Inca nation and sent back to Spain. A very big and busy port about 45 minutes drive from Lima.
An early wake up call today, as we are on a ships tour of Lima city
. A very comfortable bus and a tour guide called Carlos. Carlos was a lovely man full of information, at times a little hard to understand. We drove through the poorer parts of Lima and then the old town which was once the hub of the city. The old architecture is magnificent but now mostly derelict and uncared for. On to the central district which surrounds Plaza de Armas. A beautiful plaza with gardens and grand buildings. The old Palace (which is now Government house) the Town Hall and the Cathedral are some of the buildings surrounding the Plaza. We did a guided walk through the Cathedral and Museum, which are very old and beautiful. On to the 17th century Franciscan Church and Monastery of Francisco. (A Unesco World Heritage Site) There are 50,000 skeletons in its Crypt and the Catacombs are open daily to view. Quite creepy!!! lots of bones on view. Both the Cathedral and Monastery are badly quake damaged and going through painstaking restoration. Apparently they have earthquakes most days. Our guide informs us we are lucky as they haven't had a quake for 5 days. The climate in Lima is similar to ours, but they don't get storms, hardly any wind and only 3 inches of rain a year. (Plenty of smog though). Apparently the Andes surround us, but you can't see them. From the centre of the city we drove through very poor areas and very affluent areas, out to the coastal district of Miraflores. A huge stretch of rolling surf beaches with beautiful housing, shopping and Hotels. We walked lovers park on the cliff tops and enjoyed the ocean views. Back to the ship after a long day touring. Time for a swim in the pool. We are here for two full days, so will get out and explore some more tomorrow.
Today a day of shopping and finding a Wifi site to update everything. Another beautiful day today. We watched a guy play his pan pipes, quite beautiful. The ship sails today at 5 pm.