Hola amigos! Last week I returned from the most amazing trip to Peru. There is nothing like a trip abroad to open not only your eyes, but your heart as well, to the world. One of my favorite things about traveling is seeing how other people live. Immersing yourself in another culture is very special and I firmly believe it makes you grow as an individual. It's important for us to know there are other ways of doing things and living, and realizing this and respecting other cultures is a gift I value.
This trip was my first visit to South America. I ended up on this trip thanks to my dad and step-mother, Moza, who is from Lima. When presented the opportunity to go to Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu, I quickly said yes and looked forward to the adventure. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Lima or Cusco, but Machu Picchu had been a place I've always wanted to go so I had high hopes that the experience would be as great as I was envisioning it to be. The trip exceeded my expectations, so much so that I took upwards of 1,000 pictures in a weeks time. While I still haven't gone through all the images fully, I wanted to kick off my Peru travel diaries entries with a #TravelTuesday post about the art scene of Lima, which was my favorite aspect of the city. I had no idea there was such a creative and artistic scene in Lima, and this was definitely the highlight of the city to me.
The Street Art & Architecture of Barranco
Thanks to Instagram, I had done some research about Lima and found that there is a budding street art scene in the Barranco neighborhood of Lima. On our way to the MATE Museo, I was staring out the window of our cab trying to snap pictures of all the incredible art along the streets. While I wasn't able to capture it all, and didn't have the time to go back to walk the streets, I have vivid memories of the art I saw and I can't wait to go back to this neighborhood and spend more time admiring the art. If you are planning a trip to Lima, definitely set aside the time to walk through Barranco.
MATE Museo de Mario Testino
The moment I found out Mario Testino had a museum in Lima, I knew I HAD to see it on this trip. Mario Testino is a famous Peruvian fashion and portrait photographer known for his incredible work that has graced the pages of international fashion power house magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and more. The museum, MATE (get it- MA for Mario, TE for Testino?) is a small creative oasis that was opened as a "not-for-profit center to contribute to Peru through the cultivation and promotion of culture and heritage" (source: MATE website). I was lucky to see Testino's permanent collection which included awesome shots of famous celebs such as Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, P. Diddy, J Lo, and more. It was to my surprise the temporary exhibit was a tribute to Princess Diana, which gave me chills it was so beautiful. I later found out these portraits of Princess Diana are what opened the door for him to be one of the exclusive photographers of royal families in Europe. Testino's ability to capture such character through the camera in one image is truly an art in itself. I could have stared at both collections all day mesmerized by the beauty in his art. This museum was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip, and I highly recommend a visit to this creative museum when visiting Lima.
Street Art of Callao
In addition to Barranco, there is another neighborhood in Lima that is budding with art- Callao. Moza and her cousin, Martin, took my dad and I to see Callao and explained some of the history of the neighborhood to us. Callao is still an up-and-coming area of Lima, however, in efforts to build the neighborhood back up again, artists have been flocking to the streets to paint colorful and lively murals to boost the community and bring art to the people. Walking the streets alone you can view mural upon mural at every corner, not to mention all of the galleries that are open to the public for viewing. I loved the mix of art and creative expressions through the streets and in the galleries and other than MATE, this was one of my favorite parts of Lima!
Stay tuned for the rest of my Peru Travel Diaries that I'll be posting in the upcoming days, featuring the Lima food scene, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and more!
Blonde in the District