Chabuca Granda and El Puente de los Suspiros, (Bridge of Sighs)!
Chabuca Granda, the well known Peruvian singer and composer was born in the area of Barranco in Lima, with its cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The district is considered to be one of Lima’s most romantic and bohemian and is now known for its thriving arts and music scene. Last century it used to be a fashionable beach resort for the Lima aristocracy and people used to spend their summers vacationing there and in neighbouring Chorrillos. Today, its beaches are among the most popular with surfers and a new marina also provides services to the local yacht club. Barranco is the Spanish word for ravine and there are also cliffs which overlook a sandy strip below, known as Costa Verde (green coast).
There is a beautiful walkway leading to the sea, which goes through Barranco, called the Bajada de los Baños and crossing over it is the Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs. The walway ends in the central park of Barranco, which has a large cathedral and surrounding it are cafés, art galleries, hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Inspired by this bridge, Chabuca Granda wrote a song about it in 1960. Legend has it that a wealthy man's daughter, who lived in one of the grand houses of the area; fell in love with a lowly street cleaner. Her father forbade the relationship, and she lived out her spinster days, waiting at her window for a glimpse of her beloved. They say that those who walked across the bridge could even hear her plaintive sighs! On the far side of the bridge one can now find a park with a statue of Barranco's famous singer and composer and right next to it is there is another statue, in honour of one of her most famous compositions about the Peruvian paso horse. Please visit my hub to read about it: Chabuca Granda and the Peruvian Paso horse!
El Puente de los Suspiros was built in Barranco in the late 1800s, and to this day it remains a romantic landmark for couples, after having survided wars and earthquakes. It has inspired artists with its antique planks and quaint cobblestone roads, which lead to great views of the ocean from atop a cliff.
Chabuca used to say: "My placid childhood took place in the Bajada de los Baños (Bath Descent) Ravine in Barranco, a suburb situated on the Pacific, some eight kilometers from Lima. A small wooden bridge joins its two cliffs. I go often. In it I never see memories. Always as when I was a young girl, I look out from its banisters and see life ahead of me… curiously".
There is a tradition that states that whoever crosses the bridge for the first time without breathing, will have their wishes come true!
- The Barranco district of Lima | Travel | The Guardian
Each week we visit an emerging neighbourhood in a different city. This week: the Barranco district of Lima, Peru.
- Barranco, Peru
Barranco Peru is a pleasing Lima suburb whose character remains, where the city has lost much of its own. It's the heart of the bohemian section of the city.
Jutting out off the Costa Verde Beach Circuit, one can find La Rosa Nautica, one of Lima’s most beautiful and well-known restaurants, founded in 1983. The restaurant offers a complete selection of Peruvian and International cuisine, as well as a a sophisticated bar.
El Puente de los Suspiros lyrics
For those who can speak Spanish, I am including the lyrics in original language:
entre follajes y entre añoranzas,
sobre la herida de una quebrada.
Retoñan pensamientos tus maderos,
se aferra el corazon a tus balaustres.
y entre el murmullo de la querencia,
abrazado a recuerdos,
barrancos y escalinatas.
Puente de los Suspiros,
quiero que guardes,
en tu grato silencio,
Es mi puente un poeta que me espera,
con su quieta madera, cada tarde,
y suspira y suspiro,
me recibe y le dejo,
solo sobre su herida, su quebrada,
y las viejas consejas van contando
de la injusta distancia de la amante,
sus arrestos vencidos,
vencidos por los ficus,
de enterradas raices, en su amada.