Back into Chile

Arica Travel Blog

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The cast iron church, kind of like a cross between a church and an elaborate railway station.

Arica is a fair sized coastal town on the Chilean side of the Peru-Chile border, and we were only here a few hours to break up two long night bus journeys. We could have hung around the bus terminal deciding whether we prefer Chilean pisco or Peruvian pisco, but instead we stretched our legs with a walk into town.

We had read in the guide book about the Inglesia San Marcos, a gothic style church designed by M. Eiffel (yes, he of Eiffel Tower fame),  and built entirely out of cast iron. We arrived in the designated square, that was indeed dominated by an attractive but fairly standard looking church. As we got closer however it was clear that the entire structure was held together by rivets, and a little knock with the knuckles confirmed it was wonderfully molded and painted cast iron! A peep inside revealed that the interior reminded us of nothing more that a rather swanky railway station waiting room, filled with pews and with an alter at the end. We did not see the priest, but like to imagine him ending his services with a whistle and a wave of his trusty green flag.

Having been suitably impressed, we headed down to see the ocean, which required us to run the gauntlet of guano park. This part of town is filled with palm trees, which are themselves filled with yeco birds, and the entire area is blanketed with the result of this arrangement. There are benches, but unusually for South America, we didn't see anybody sitting on them.

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The cast iron church, kind of like…
The cast iron church, kind of lik…
Yeco birds roosting in the palm tr…
Yeco birds roosting in the palm t…
..and the benches below the palm t…
..and the benches below the palm …
Arica
photo by: jendara