21 October 2014

Santa Catalina Monastery

Today I'd like to share with you some of my pictures of a place that I particularly loved in Peru - Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa. I say monastery, but it's actually a place for nuns rather than monks, so perhaps convent is the right word!
Santa Catalina is located in the centre of Arequipa, and it is like a little town of its own, with streets and houses (the nuns used to have their own individual living quarters, and servants). The colours the buildings are painted are absolutely stunning - terracotta red, bright white, and vivid blue, with orange geranium flowers and bright green limes providing even more colour.
There are still nuns there, but not as many, and they stay in a part of the complex that is not open to the public.
It was fascinating to see the pool in which the nuns used to bathe (fully clothed of course!), and the laundry troughs.
There are stairs to the roof of one of the buildings, and there are stunning views from there. And below this is a fountain with goldfish in the pool.
I was reading a novel at the time, The Book of Human Skin, by Michelle Lovric, which is partly set in Santa Catalina, and I think this made it come vividly to life for me.
Our group was taken round the convent by a guide, and, while she told us a lot about the history of the place, I felt that she did not allow us enough time to just soak up the atmosphere.
I thought about going back later in the afternoon, because it was a day ticket, but there was so much else I wanted to see in the town that I didn't. I have really regretted that since, as it is one of the places that has really stuck in my mind ever since, and I even had recurring dreams for months afterwards in which I went back there!
I took so many photos at Santa Catalina that they filled a whole album, and I'd really like to do some art based on them at some point.

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