The White City (Arequipa) - an introduction
Arequipa Travel Blog› entry 22 of 30 › view all entries
This journey through Peru turned out to be filled with ghosts from my past. In highschool I had written a report about the Inkas and Machu Picchu and now I had seen it myself. Years ago I had read an impressive novel that was partly set on lake Titicaca and that also I had seen. And now I was looking at the perfect volcano El Misti. Ever since I saw a picture of El Misti in a book about wonders of nature, when I was still very young, I wanted to see it and stand next to it. It seemed I had a presentiment of my future.
Arequipa itself is a fun city. It is quite big and quite rich for a Peruvian city and it is no wonder the people of Arequipa feel themselves autonomous from Lima (as a souvenir, you can by an Arequipena passport). Arequipa has big shopping streets and a very beautiful, sparkling plaza de armas.
there was a big earthquake and one of the towers of the cathedral came crashing
down, but it has been rebuilt.
It is also the hottest city I have been to yet in Peru, because Arequipa is located on that special point of balance: just above the coastal fog but not high enough to get chilly. It felt good to be in the Andes one last time! After this, it would be coast only.
Arequipa has a stately, clean feel to it and is not as dominated by tourism as Cusco. It is filled with elegant churches that are hewn from excellent white rock that is found nearly, named sillar. Notably the cathedral at the plaza de armas is very big, very elegant, and very white. The White City Arequipa is called by the Peruvians, and it is surrounded by fields of red boulders that lie in gray-white sand. It would be our base of operations for the next few days.
There are cafes at the sides of the plaza where we went up to the roof to have a greaaat view over the city. Before me the plaza stretched out and on my right there was a majestic view of El Misti and the surrounding mountains. We had bought a chocolate El Misti of real Peruvian chocolate so we could doubly enjoy the volcano!
We had an amazing hostel! Our room was a separate little house in the backyard of the rest of the building. It was called Hostal las Torres de Ugarte.