Day 4: From Nazca to Arequipa

Arequipa Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 17 › view all entries
A tear in the desert
Today it's again a shockingly early time to rise, to turn up in the closed restaurant at quarter past five for breakfast. After our experience on the first morning, however, the hotel has granted our request to let us have breakfast-packages, which are well-filled. This time we don't have to board the bus on nearly-empty stomachs.

We will follow the Panamerican highway for most of the day, before taking a sharp west turn, into the mountains. Once again the day starts cloudy, misty and rainy over a barren desert landscape.

An hour into our journey we stop at a rare geological feature, to take photo's there: a faultline across the desert. The fault, about 25 m deep, is the South-Amedican prolongation of the San Andreas fault, and it opened up during an earthquake in 1985.
The torn apart rocks make another impressive sight, the so-manieth already during this holiday.

After this photostop, we follow the faultline for quite a many a mile, before it suddenly takes a turn and crosses the highway (which has been restored now, so we can simply drive over the bridge). Shortly after that bridge, the faultline disappears from view, not to return anymore.

Our next stop is in Chala for a cup of tea (most of the group drinks coffee), in Hotel de Turistas (a hotel on the seaside). The hotel looks very much empty, but after a little bit of looking around, we find someone to serve us our drinks. At least we have a very nice view over the sea, where the fishing boats lay moared and the birds flock the ocean.
Fresh fruit!
While we are enjoying our cup with a view, a nice extra comes along: the local green growser on his carrier cycle. Since we know we have a very long drive still ehaed, almost all of us buy some fruit at his mobile shop. All of us get a filled bag, whether we asked for it or not, and we are all charged a price of eight soles. And, as we find out back in the bus, it is good fruit too!

We continu our ride along the coast, with the ever changing view of much desert, some farmland and a ragged coastline. At some point I even manage to get all three of those on one photo. The beautiful views give rise to the necessity of a photostop, which we hold above the valley leading to Ocaña. In that town we also hold a short sanitary stop, before taking the final stage of coastdrive to Camanéé, where we stop for lunch.
Me on the Pactific Coast
One shrimp omelette and a bottle of Inka Kola later, we leave the ocean behind us and start our climb from sealevel to 2830 meter altitude.

Quite soon after our inland turn we see the active Volcano "El Misti" towering over the landscape. The huge mountain with the everlasting snow on top is a sharp contrast with the outstretched sandplanes of desert we pass through. During the photostop for one of the best views of El Misti, I can't neglect to take a few pictures of the sandy flatland (already at an altitude of over a kilometer) and of the two contrasts together.

During the rest of our ride, we hold only one more stop in La Joya for human necessities, before arriving in Arequipa, where we are going to stay the next two nights.
El Misti
Our hotel, bang in the middle of town on the main square, looks very luxurious, and looking out of my window (to the side, but still), I can see El Misti frmo even closer (even though this volcano hasn't erupted for about four hundred years, and shows no signs of doing so any time soon, I can't help thinking: "not just right now!").

Having taken some recovery time in my room on the topfloor (the fifth), I decide to take a stroll around the main square. At first instance, I don't get very far: just beyond the lift, there is a roofterras on this floor; I go up there for the  view of the town (and the exotic plants growing in the pots on the terras). Almost by accident I find the swimmingpool (I was so intrigued with looking at the cityscape, that I discover the swimmingpool by just being able to retract my foor before taking a very sudden plunge).
The Arequipa Cathedral by night


My tour around the Plaza de Armas results in me finding both things I set out for: some more postcards to send, and a cookery book with typical Peruvian recipees in a readable language (so English, not just Spanish, or, even worse, Quechua).

After the quite tasty dinner in the restaurant of the hotel (vegatable broth, boeuf Stroganoff and chocolate cake), I join a number of my travel companions for another (now nighttime-) walk around and this time also across the main square (Plaza Majore). The intended relaxed stroll holds another surprise: near the middle of the square, a group of students from the university of Arequipa try to cover their costs of studying by performing as a folklore group playing more local traditional music... There's just one little snag: they don't just play music - they also dance.
The Plaza Major by night
.. And every now and then, they drag someone from the public to dance with them. Eventhough I try to escape that fate, using my camera as excuse, resistance is futile. At least I can share the misery: one of the youngest of our group is likewise abducted, and a little later, we are coupled to dance together. Now just keep in mind that our mutual dance qualities (both hers and mine) very well approach zero - so imagine how that must have looked like. But it was fun, and we laughed hartily about it (afterwards).

After completing our tour-de-square, we settle down at the terrace of the hotel (on balcony of the first floor, overlooking our podium of a few minutes ago) for a last drink of the day, talking about the memories we made today.
peeyushmalhotra says:
Very well written and presented... now that s an art
Posted on: Oct 22, 2009
davdstraat says:
It sure was!
Posted on: Oct 19, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
A tear in the desert
A tear in the desert
Fresh fruit!
Fresh fruit!
Me on the Pactific Coast
Me on the Pactific Coast
El Misti
El Misti
The Arequipa Cathedral by night
The Arequipa Cathedral by night
The Plaza Major by night
The Plaza Major by night
Desert, agriculture and ocean in o…
Desert, agriculture and ocean in …
Our tourguide and our driver
Our tourguide and our driver
And again: desert, agriculture and…
And again: desert, agriculture an…
Hard at work...
Hard at work...
The moon over the Andes
The moon over the Andes
Hot stuff: drying chili peppers.
Hot stuff: drying chili peppers.
Our tourbus in the middle of the d…
Our tourbus in the middle of the …
Music on the Plaza Major
Music on the Plaza Major
The Plaza Major by night
The Plaza Major by night
Arequipa Hotels & Accommodations review
Luxury with top service on a top location
A hotel with looks full of luxury, with very good service, good rooms on a top location. I found my room very comfortable, with a good view (straig… read entire review
Arequipa
photo by: halilee