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I want to visit the center city this morning, complete a Lima Church walk I mapped-out in my Lonely Planet guide last night – I just don’t want to pay for a Mercedes to go there. On the other hand, I’m not really up for being kidnapped and raped today, either. The JW Marriott valets call Pablo for me.

Pablo Luis Rios Venegas

Taxi a su servicio – Seguridad y Garantia

Telf. Dom.: 582-3025

Cel.: 99718-4083

Pablo speaks no English. I speak very limited Spanish. We attempt conversation on our way to Central and I think we kind of get each other. I ask for a return ride back to the hotel and he asks me (I think) at what time.

Commit? He wants me to commit? Did we list commitment issues among my various psychological maladies a few posts ago? If not, we need to add commitmentphobia to the running tally.

“Noon,” I tell Pablo. But I’ve crossed my fingers behind my back.


Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Starting at the Plaza de Armas, walk northwest on Conde de Superunda to Camaná. The Iglesia de Santo Domingo lies on the corner. Don’t let the pretty pastel décor fool you: this Lima church houses (and displays) the skulls of San Martín and Santa Rosa.

Santo Domingo Church Lima Pulpit

Iglesia de San Agustín

Walk southwest on Camaná two blocks to the Iglesia de San Agustín at Ucayali. This Lima church — flanked on both sides by red concrete — is fairly foreboding from the outside…

San Agustin Church Lima exterior

But the interior is soothing…

San Agustin Church Lima

Iglesia de Merced

Exit the Iglesia de San Agustín and head one block further on Camaná, turn left onto Miró Quesada and arrive another block later at the Iglesia de Merced. You will be rewarded with at least two dozen ornate and magnificent baroque and renaissance-style altars. And the crazy thing is, there are no other tourists in this place to wander into your frame and spoil your photo!

Iglesia de la Merced Lima

Monasterio de San Francisco

After exiting the Iglesia de Merced, keep going down Miró Quesada for three blocks, then take a left onto Azángaro and go another three blocks to the popular (too popular?) Monasterio de San Francisco, the final stop on this Lima church walk.

San Francisco Church Lima

Photos of the monastery are permitted, but photos of the famous catacombs are not, which is fine with me: the catacombs are not sufficiently gruesome to be very photogenic while the churchy area has more personality. Anyway, it’s very pretty and the graphic, geometrical red and white designs please my visual sensibilities quite a lot.

San Francisco Church Lima Ceiling

So you’ve completed my Lima church walk. Now what? You in the mood for some torture?

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Wandering aimlessly and getting lost in a foreign city is how I get to know it; setting my iPod to shuffle songs, following an urban walking trail and getting lost in thought is how I get to know myself. My criteria for a killer urban walking trail:

• Breathtaking scenery
• Not too long, not too short (one-to-three hours in duration)
• A defined path
• No backtracking. Preferably, the hike is circular
• Easy accessibility from downtown

Everything is within walking distance if you have the time“. – Steven Wright


Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Coogee Walk: Catch a bus to either Bondi Beach or Coogee Beach. Along the journey pass outdoor cafes and pubs, the Bondi Icebergs Club (open to visitors and clearly one of the coolest places to be in the city), Waverley Cemetary, dream beachhouses, and Aboriginal carvings.

Duration: 90 minutes. Level of difficulty easy: People density: high.
Bondi to Coogee Walk Map

Urban Walking Trail Bondi Beach to Coogee Sydney

Hong Kong’s Dragon’s Back: Easily reached by the MTR and bus from the heart of the city. Stunning views of Clear Water Bay and islands on one side, the expanse of the Stanley Peninsula on the other. End in charming Shek O fishing village and catch a bus back to HK.

Duration: 75 minutes. Level of difficulty: moderate. People density: moderate. • Dragon’s Back Map

Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak Trail: Ride The Peak Tram from the Garden Road Lower Terminus (walking distance from the MTR Admiralty Station) to the top of The Peak. Take either Lugard Road on the right, or Harlech Road on the left. Both offer panoramic vistas of Victoria Harbor. Back at Peak Tower, go to the information “caboose” for advice on additional walks, including the 31-mile Hong Kong Trail. Findlay Road is an effortless and enjoyable return route to the city center.

Duration: 60 minutes. Level of difficulty: easy. People density: moderate.

Sydney’s Manly to Spit Bridge Bushwalk: Grab a map — trust me here — and take the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly. The walk is divided into distinct sections: Do ‘em all. Tall grass, a stunning overlook of Sydney, beaches, Aboriginal engravings, an art gallery and museum, and wooden plank walkways await.

Duration: 2.5 hours. Level of difficulty: easy to moderate, depending on the stretch. People density: High at times (and eerily isolated at others).
Manly to Spit Bridge Walk Map

Urban Walking Trail Manly to Spit Bridge Sydney

Vancouver’s Stanley Park (Seawall) Walk. Within walking distance of downtown. Rewards around every bend: totem poles, a soaring bridge, flocks o’ fowl, statues, a waterpark, beaches, concession stands.

Duration: 90 minutes. Level of difficulty: easy. People density: high.
Stanley Park Map

p.s. Walk duration times are based on a gait of four miles per hour.

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Chicago is a world-class city: groundbreaking architecture, Michelin-rated restaurants, 5-star shopping and The Wiener’s Circle! But, best of all, Chicago is a walking city. Here’s one of the The Windy City’s best treks: a one-hour (at 4 miles per hour, excluding cocktail stops) tour by foot past some of the most interesting homes in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.


Lincoln Park Map

Fuel-up for your archi-trek with a slice of cracker crust pizza from Amato’s Pizza at W. Willow Street and N. Sheffield Street. Forget what you’ve heard about Chicago-style deep-dish pizza: it’s overrated. This stuff is the best.


Head east on W. Willow Street — not far — and check-out 922 on the opposite side of the street. This is one of my favorite properties in the neighborhood because it’s so unprepossessing at first glance, second glance, one-hundreth glance. Then, at some point, you realize that there’s an amazing space hiding behind that unassuming, industrial, street level front. This place is currently valued at $1,628,500 on although it sold for $2,312,500 in 2006. It was under construction back then, and the workers allowed me to walk inside. The interior of the front section, which was built in 1910, had remained unchanged inside, down to the original signage of the company that occupied it. So unique and just un-ostentatiously fabulous.

922 West Willow Street Lincoln Park


Continue east on W. Willow two blocks. This two-year-old spacious addition to the area was formerly a German Lutheran Congregational School. The owners obviously possess an eclectic taste and sense of humor, as you’ll notice by the ghost lamps flanking the entryway and the massive door — with multiple peepholes for all ages and species – beneath it. I don’t know who owns this place, but I like them. They do their own thing, buck convention.

737 West Willow Street Lincoln Park


1727 Burling is directly across from 737. Some days I like this gothic place, some days I don’t, dependent upon my mood, kind of like how I waffle between agnostic and atheist depending upon whether or not I had my morning coffee. Today I like it, and appreciate how they incorporated the design of the building next door. However you feel about it, you’ve kinda gotta respect that they did something so completely gutsy and different.

1727 North Burling Street Lincoln Park


Take a left onto N. Burling Street and head north. 1864 will be on your left. It’s an interesting structure, slightly soulless, although I do applaud the rounded roofs. Yeah, I could live here just fine. values it at $2,495,900.

1864 North Burling Street Lincoln Park

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