Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Peru circuit (Day 3 - cont.) - Puno city square, the Church of San Juan Bautista and the city outside barrios - The 27th of April 2013


As we approached Puno, the landscape changed once more and that was particularly noticeable as we looked down onto the Lake Titicaca and the city spreading around its shore.

We headed towards the Hotel where we would be spending that night, not before saying good-bye to Fidélia, once she would be substituted by Hernando, a local guide who would take us through the Lake Titicaca visit and accompany us all the way to Cusco.

Because we wouldn't be meeting him but the following day we still had some free time to wander about the city and do a bit of "exploration" on our own till dinner time.

Hotel "La Hacienda" reception hall with local handicraft decoration (right). Tapestry detail to be found at the reception Hall of the hotel.

Marie Hélène and I soon headed to the city main square just a few metres away from the Hotel, where the Baroque style Church of San Juan Bautista proudly stood. This eighteenth century Cathedral, whose Patron is Mamita Candelaria is famous for its  Andean elements, many of which can be seen in its façade.

As we walked out I once more started handing out some of the balloons, candies and decorated pencils I had brought for the children.

Puno is said to have incorporated two of the oldest Andean civilizations - the Southern Aymara and the Northern Ketchua, together with the colonial influences, the result having been a huge diversity in folk demonstrations comprising 300 different dance style approaches (Diablada, Waca-Waca, Ayamara Love dance and Llamerada amongst many others) which range from open satyrs to the presence of the Spaniards to Andean beliefs and religious  festivities.

Having checked on the scheduling for those festivities I realised we wouldn't be able to watch any of those, which I felt was a pity.

Our city "adventure" continued as we moved away from the centre, having walked down some pedestrain streets and headed towards the farther away barrios close and around the city open market, which covered a huge area.

The experience proved to be quite an exciting one, particularly the moment we realised we were virtually the only foreigners in the market. We managed to feel the genuine atmosphere and even talk to some street vendors, as we approached them to hand out some of the candies and balloons to their children, who in a rather shy attitude (we were told mainly because they very rarely saw foreigners) turned their heads down.

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