I am a proud

Sunday, February 26, 2012

BONES! The Catacombs - Lima, Peru

If you are in Lima, Peru one of the most visited tourist sites is the Church of San Francisco in the historic center of town. If you get to the Plaza de Armas (the main square in Lima) it is just a block away to the west. As with many of the 16th century churches in Lima, there are burial grounds beneath the church. The church is easy to find. It is the one overrun by pigeons. There will be almost as many vendors of oil and water color paintings as there are pigeons. Not to worry. Neither the pigeons or the vendors will be a problem for you. For 7 Peruvian soles (about $2.50 US at this writing) you get the guided tour (English or Spanish) of the monastery and the catacombs below. You'll see beautiful paintings from the 16th and 17th century Lima school of painting, lovely Spanish tile and woodwork and a rich history of the Franciscan priest that lived their lives here. According to our guide the custom in Lima during the 16th and 17th centuries was to bury all the city's dead in the catacombs below the churches. Archaeological excavations began in 1947 under the San Francisco Church and in 1950 tours opened to the public. Today you'll find that modern Europeans and North Americans tend to be taller than the folks who built these passage ways. You'll have to duck as you pass through some of the doors and passage ways in the catacombs. No photos are allowed in the church or catacombs. Thanks to Flickr creative commons I've found a few photos someone acquired that shows you some of what we saw. Down below you'll see the places where the bodies were laid out by family. Apparently once the body decomposed the bones were gathered according to type and grouped together. That is to say that today you'll see a niche full of femor bones, another with skulls and so forth. There remains more to be excavated. Our guide estimated that 25,000 people were buried below this church alone. Be sure to visit this site and the nearby Plaza de Armas when you come to Lima. Hopefully there will soon be a geocache nearby.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yahuarcocha Cache and its story, northern Ecuador

When in north Ecuador a must is a visit to Yahuarcocha, the lake of blood. A good friend hid Yahuarcocha (GC2F4C2) for the caching enthusiasts. The lake is located some 4 kilometers north of Ibarra and is a popular location for weekend get aways. Today there is a race track running all the way around the lake. Most weekends it is open to the public and you can drive all the way around the lake to access the many different locations suitable for picnics and family outings. Be sure you look for the cache while you are here. Many people aren't aware of where the name came from. Inca Huayna Capac led the conquest of this part of Ecuador over 500 years ago. The Caranqui tribe resisted the Inca invasion but were conquered. Huayna Capac, according to legend, took his revenge on the resistance by having every male above the age of 12 years old put to death and the bodies dumped into the lake. The waters turned red with the executions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Person's Ordinary, Littleton, NC

On a recent visit to the Littleton, NC and Lake Gaston area I had the chance to get out with my friend Allen and do some geocaching. It was a perfect winter day with sunshine and cool, not freezing cold, weather. Littleton hosts two geocaches associated with the Person's Ordinary. One is a replica of the building located on Main Street. This was our first stop. After finding Halifax 7 -- Littleton (GC2P2BZ) we moved on to the real thing. The next cache is located on the southbound road heading out of town. It was close to the old stagecoach trail. This historic one and a half story wood frame building has been maintained by the Littleton Women's Club and can be toured if you make prior arrangements. It is the oldest landmark in Littleton. An ordinary is another word for a tavern. It was a popular stage stop along the Halifax-Hillsborough stagecoach trail where travelers could rest up and have a meal before continuing on their journey. It was also possible to spend the night. The ordinary was the property of Thomas Person (1733-1800). He was an Anti-Federalist leader in the state and had been involved in the Regulator movement in opposition to federally regulated taxation by corrupt colonial officials. Records indicate that the ordinary was operating by 1770. The day we stopped by we were able to approach the building, find and log the cache without being observed. We took some time to look around the building and the grounds. If you get the chance to visit the area make sure this is one of your stops. Person's Ordinary (GC2M8C9) is well worth the time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

El Cristo Blanco - Cusco

One of the geocaches that GTAbusquedor put out recently which is gaining populatirty is Camino al Cristo (GC34J5Q). It is located high up on the mountain overlooking Cuzco and can be seen from many parts of town. If you take the tour of the sites around Cuzco you are sure to pass nearby. From the Cristo you can get a beautiful view of the city. The cache is not right at the Cristo but down the mountain a little way. You can climb to and from the cache along a cobblestone walking path that leads up the mountain. Somewhere along that path you'll find the cache. If you hike up to find the caches on the mountain be sure to take rain gear with you. Storms can appear out of nowhere. Enjoy!