Peru

Bridge of Sighs (Lima, Peru)

Written by Mark McElroy

Join hands. Hold your breath. Be together forever.

We’re in Barranco, Lima’s funky, artsy, bohemian district, taking a morning stroll on what locals tell us is a rare sunny day. (Lima, particularly along the shoreline, tends to be overcast.) We make our way past the statue of Chabuka Granda, the beloved local singer, following the stairs down, down, down past the little garden:

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And so we come to the Bridge of Sighs:

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What began as a practical way for getting from A to B (residents needed a way to cross a ravine on their way to the church) has become something far more romantic. The legend is this: if you’re a couple, you hand hands, hold your breath, and try to walk from one end of the bridge to the other without breathing. If you’re successful, we’re told, “you’ll be together forever.”

I look at Clyde. “You want to do this?”

“Sure.”

We clasp hands. We take a breath. We start walking.

Maybe it’s because we’re almost twenty-two years into forever already, but the crossing is actually easier than expected. At the far end of the bridge, a few people clap for us.

Just behind us is a couple from Texas in their eighties. They’ve clasped hands and come across, but whether they managed to hold their breath is anyone’s guess.

A local man approaches them. “You made it!” he says. “You’ll be together forever!”

“Oh, lord,” the wife says. “I thought we already had been. You’re telling me there’s more?”

About the author

Mark McElroy

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