What An Eiffel

25th Oct. 2016

My new friendsOn reading up about Arica at coffee time, I discover that the cathedral was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel and is made entirely of stamped moulded cast iron shipped from Paris in the 1870s at the order of the then Peruvian President. The cathedral is currently shut due to renovations so we could not investigation and the hoardings around the outside made photography pretty much impossible. I also discovered that Eiffel  designed the Ex-Aduana, former customs house which contains a wrought iron spiral staircase and was free to get in. Dave thought I had lost plot so I dragged him back to prove it. Sadly it was locked and we resorted to peering in the window and the sorry sight now inhabited by pigeons.


Typical South American CemereryWe had started the day with one of our favourite haunts (excuse the pun), the city Cemetery and wandered around the vast area packed full of graves. Luckily this time the bones were all safely hidden out of sight underground, unlike the Catacombs in Lima we saw last week.Each grave in the long 7ft thick walls begins a plain concrete affair before the end is customised by relatives into personal memorials complete with personal effects. We even saw someone grouting in a tiled surround.


Port overseerSearching for a way to get closer to some rusting old fishing boats, we landed up back at the fishing quay were we had been yesterday. The pelicans and seals were there again, mainly due to the fishermen throwing scraps into the sea as they gutted and prepared their catch ready for sale. One pelican was overseeing proceedings. The fishermen were not shy in holding up their produce for us to photograph. Our new memory cards are filling up too quickly!


About El MorroOur last major sight was to climb up El Morro de Arica to see Christ the Redeemer statue. The views from the top looking back over the town were amazing and looking the other way we saw the island/peninsula we walked around yesterday.There is also a museum about the hill and it’s strategic position in the War of the Pacific. I must confess to not learning much of its history as it was all in Spanish. My excuse was my mind was more concerned over how we would pay for our imminent four day trip into the Andes.


Enormous flag overlooking AricaWe were waiting for an email so we could pay by PayPal as they did not take credit cards. Eventually, the email arrived and wanted US dollars at a 10% inflated exchange rate. After a third trip to the tour office we finally deduced the only way to pay a sensible amount was in cash. By extracting our daily limit from the cash machine we were able to settle up with only a few pesos left in our pockets! What an Eifel kerfuffle, you might say!


On guard at El Morro museumAs we will be heading up to over 4,000 metres tomorrow it is no alcohol tonight and a safe meal of steak and chips in a great restaurant which accepted credit cards. We would loved to have had a more adventurous steak meal that was on the menu, washed down with a lovely bottle of vino but we were good and stuck with fruit juice.


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