Adelante! The Adventure Begins

4 December 2016 – I ended my last post with a tease, a street mural in Toronto by Shalak Attack. The tease is this: the mother & child are in the traditional dress of the Peruvian altiplano — and here I now am, in the Peruvian altiplano.

In Cusco, to be exact, with this Jesuit church anchoring one corner of Plaza de Armas …

Jesuit church, Plaza de Armas, Cusco

and this view of serried, tiled rooftops climbing into the hills serving as a Plaza backdrop.

view from Plaza de Armas, Cusco

But I am not here for Cusco, or Machu Picchu, my destination is the small city of Ayaviri, located between Cusco & Puno. It is not at all on the tourist track, but it is special to me, because it is the focus of an art restoration project with which my friend Michaela (a formerAGO volunteer colleague) is closely involved.

She & her partner rent a small apartment here in Cusco, to which she typically returns most weekends. It is in a 17th-c. building in the old quarter, once a private home, now in the same family for three generations and restored & maintained. Like all homes of that era, it presents a wall to the outside world, and has tranquil patios within.

Here, the main courtyard …

main courtyard

and here, a view from a window overlooking a small rear courtyard.

view over back patio

If things go as planned (cross-fingers time), tomorrow I’ll hop on the back of Michaela’s motorcycle for the 3 1/2 trip down the road to Ayaviri. They’re equipping me with serious biking gear for the trip — I’ll not recognize myself!

The work in Ayaviri centres around the cathedral, which dates from 1580. “It all began almost 3 years ago,” says Michaela, “when Padre Miguel decided he wanted to restore the cathedral — water was leaking in, grass growing on the roof, all that Colonial Baroque artwork was deteriorating. He began with some parish funds, then obtained some support from the Church & the municipality. Now there is a little art restoration workshop, and we are running our first training course in art restoration as well. We’ll see where it can go from here.”

Here we all get to see Ayaviri’s Catedral de San Francisco de Asís through the lens of Michaela’s camera …

San Franscisco de Asisi, Ayaviri

tomorrow, I hope to see it for myself.

You’ll see it, and the rest of the activity, along with me. But not immediately, for internet connection there is unreliable.

Until later!

Leave a comment


  1. We’re so excited to see what you find!

  2. Woohoo! My first glimpse of you outside Canada. I’m really looking forward to being in Peru with you. What a lovely courtyard and beautiful churches. I remember a conversation with an Australian architect in Jordan (the Middle East does courtyards beautifully too – I remember one particularly in Hama in Syria) – who was wondering why they aren’t a feature of Australian architecture.


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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