Arequipa - Part 1!
Arequipa Travel Blog› entry 5 of 34 › view all entries
We arrived in Arequipa late on Monday evening (althost into Tueday morning) after a long and winding road from Nazca, although it is fair to say that the views of the huge waves rolling-in from the Pacific onto deserted beaches (although we wouldn´t want to take the risk of swimming by them!). It was very cold after our stay in Nazca, although our taxi drive assured us that it was warmer in the day (well, that is what Jeremy´s basic grasp of Spanish thought!).
We got to our hotel, it was a real oasis. Lovely manicured garderns around a pool, although it was only 10 minutes walk from the historic centre of the City of Arequipa and the Plaza de Armas.
The next day, we set about exploring the historic City of Arequipa. It has a lovely colonial plaza that focuses on the fantastic huge white-stone cathedral - built from the white volcanic rock that makes Arequipa famough (well, in Peru that is!). There are plenty of cheap but high quality eatiers and cafes, the place had a very relaxed feel about it, despite the heavy traffic (nearly all of it being taxis!) and the big number of people milling around.
The city is towered over by "Misti", the volcano that hasn´t erupted for many years. It has a perfect conical shape, although unlike some of the other mountains around, it doesn´t have a snow covering at the moment.
Wednesday. We visted the fantastic Santa Catalina Monestary - which was founded in the 16th century, not long after the arrival of the Spaniards in Arequipa.
Afterwards, we found a fantastic vegetarian restaurant - Erica would surely be hankering after some "proper food" soon though! We wandered around the City, then going to the Arequipa Market - which was a really interesting experrience - a huge covered area that has hundreds of stallholders selling everything from strange looking fruit, rather unclean looking chicken meat, live guinai pigs to the largest collection of Panama hats that either of us could have imagined!
Thursday - Another day of absorbing culture - this time it was to the Museum that houses the near perfect body of a child sacrifice performed by the Incas around 500 years ago.
Again, in the evening, we wandered around the lively streets of Arequipa - although it was very busy and sometimes poorly lit in areas, the feeling was that the place is very safe to wander around and had an lively but friendly atmosphere.
The next day (Friday) we had arranged to visit Fr Giovanni Cefai, brother of the Priest at one fo Erica´s local church. He runs a mission in Tomilla, which is a suburb of Arequipa - the day would be a huge contrast to our time kicking-back and taking-in Peru´s second City with its culinary and touristic attractions........