Arequipa was our base camp for our trek to the Colca Canyon. While it is a beautiful city, we felt the five days was a bit too long. However, it gave us time to catch up on a few chores and luckily the hotel we stayed in had a huge sunny garden, perfect for enjoying drinks and playing cards every afternoon. When I say playing cards I mean dealing them out, letting Bret think he`s playing, then smoking him on almost every hand.
Some of our highlights were:
Monasterio de Santa Catalina
Pretty much a city within the city, it is a convent famous for the poor behaviour of the nuns that occupied it. For years it was completely closed off from the public until it was forced to open it`s doors in 1970. A small number of nuns still reside there today.
Juanita the Inca Ice Maiden
We visited the museum that tells the history of Inca sacrifices. They would sacrifice anything from llamas to fine pottery to silver and gold. When something major occurred like a volcanic eruption or earthquake, they would sacrifice children as offerings to the Inca gods. About six have been found in the mountains surrounding Arequipa, including the most well-known, Juanita. Because Juanita was found at the summit of Mount Ampato (the highest altitude than any other of the sacrifices), her body is the most well-preserved and therefore, the most famous. She was sacrificed some time between 1450 and 1480 and found 1995. Although seeing her was a little creepy, the visit to the museum was very interesting.
Walking distance from downtown Arequipa and the perfect spot for views over the city and of the surrounding volcanoes.
Papa Rellenas – mashed potatoes moulded around seasoned beef or veggies and deep-fried. (Hell, yeah!)
Cancha – large corn kernels dried and toasted with salt (could not get enough of these!!)
Chifa – Peruvian`s version of Chinese food. Super cheap, quite tasty and less greasy than other versions.
Empanada – Not deep fried like its Colombian cousin, a wonderful baked treat with a variety of savoury fillings.
There you have it! Not a lot to tell from our time in Arequipa. The Colca Canyon trip was definitely the highlight for that area.
We have spent the last few days in Cusco getting used to the altitude and are now heading to Aguas Calients, our base for Machu Picchu!