(Part 1 — featuring Amazon animals and Amazonian costumes and portraits — is here).
My guidebook told me that the Recoleta monastery’s library was so precious that it was only open every fifteen minutes, forty-five minutes past the hour. I arranged to get there at about half past four — and found it entirely deserted and unlocked.
A small number of books were laid out in the centre of the room; the rest were in bookshelves that lined the walls on two floors. For the next half an hour I wandered slowly around the small room, trying to make out the titles, taking photos of everything I could. Time flew; it felt like I was only there for five minutes.
A leaflet I picked up told me that the library was founded in 1661, and that it now contains 23,000 books, many of which were shipped from Europe to Arequipa via Panama between the 16th and 18th century for the monks. Interestingly, fewer than half of the books are religious; the rest are on a broad variety of subjects.
(I built a library in Minecraft a couple of years ago, and I’d love to build this one too because it was put together so nicely!)
The only negative thing in this otherwise sweet-smelling heaven was that everything was in Spanish — I could not read one word out of the trillions that surrounded me.
Below is a tiny number of the photos I took.
I was absolutely buzzing as I left the museum. I felt incredibly, ridiculously, amazingly lucky.