Arequipa is called the White City because it is built almost entirely in sillar, a kind of white volcanic stone. And we are surrounded by 3 volcanoes, which have entered different eruptions throughout the ages. In addition, it is the second largest city in the country.
The bus has arrived more than 1 hour late, it's almost 7:30, and the first thing we do is go to stay at the My grandmother's house (ARTICLE IN CHAVETAS WITH ALL THE DETAILS HERE), hotel that we have chosen for our rest in this city. The success we believe is total. It is located in front of the Casa Andina Classic, with all kinds of services, but especially stunned, they leave us their gardens, full of birds of all kinds (including hummingbirds) outdoors and around us while we prepare to have a quiet breakfast (26 PEN). A joy that we will repeat tomorrow before we leave.
As the trip of almost 10 hours has been hard, we will take the morning a little quieter, leaving the main visits for the afternoon. Thus, we go down Jerusalem Street and after 3 blocks we turn to one of the main streets. We have reached the Parade ground. Here we can also see the famous Chocolate shop "La Ibérica".
We spend the morning between souvenir shops, gifts (54.20 PEN), stamps for postcards (!!! WHAT THEFT! Each international is worth 5.50 PEN, total 55 PEN) and a pleasant walk.
If Lima was chaotic, the word that would define Arequipa's traffic is ... ANÁRQUICO. Everyone whistles and whistles and whistles, cars everywhere, taxis and taxis and taxis, vans backing down one-way streets, nobody respects pedestrian crossings, ... I said, anarchy in its purest state.
We ended up in a beautiful building of a University, from where you can see from the top the towers of the Cathedral.
We began to notice some headache, perhaps not sleeping too much, or perhaps because of the famous altitude sickness although today we are only 2,325 meters above sea level. It is time for our "usual recovery bath" and "nap" before the meal of the day.
The funny Arequipa is very famous within the Peruvian Gastronomy (of which we talk long and hard in THIS ARTICLE OF ENTRANTS, in THIS ARTICLE OF FIRST DISHES and in THIS ARTICLE OF DESSERTS AND DRINKS), so today we decided to go to a kind of typical local tasca and flee from the tourist restaurants (which we have barely stepped on, only on the day of Lima). We have decided on another ceviche session and try the stuffed hot pepper Typical here, in addition to another chicha purple. The preparation of ceviche does not just convince us but the rocoto is excellent, maybe something spicy. A great dish to try. And all for just 36 PEN.
By the way, we forgot to comment that the other day we tried the Inka Cola ("the national drink") and ... puagggggggg !! It tastes like medicine !!!
!! Time to set out to know the most interesting visits !!! And Arequipa has the Plaza de Armas considered by many as the most beautiful in the country, in addition to Historic Center declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in the year 2000.
But before we have moved away a little, to Carmen Alto Viewpoint, from where we have an excellent view of the three volcanoes whose top is currently snowy, that cover the city: Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu.
Legend has it that Pichu Pichu was in love with Chachani, but he was never reciprocated because Chachani loved Misti and Misti loved Chachani. His cries gave rise to the lagoon that is behind him today. Behind these desert volcanoes of Chachani and Misti is the Colca Valley, the Andes, our next destination.
The Misti, the most prominent and imposing, today rises more than 5000 meters.
In the Mirador Carmen Alto there are also all kinds of plants, leaves and condiments, but what most attracts our attention is a small coballa or guinea pig here called Cuy who eats "piglet" type at the plate. From today we have a new goal in the trip ... !! OBJECTIVE CUY !! Until we're at our table we don't come back haha (UPDATED: Objective Accomplished on DAY 13 in Cuzco). (There you have bug-replica Jus de Marrakek). Well, really at Isaac's table because Paula once he saw them is the only place where he will see them, he will no longer want him on his plate, hahaha
After the "emotion of the guinea pig" we approach Yanahuara, whose meaning is Calzón Negro, another district of the city of Arequipa really beautiful, with colonial architecture and a Church of San Juan de Yanahuara of the 1st order of the mestizo Baroque type Dominicans to take home, beautiful
Without winding up a lot, we headed towards the Historic District. It's time to see the true wealth of the city, starting with the Church of the Company of Jesus, from 1968, and founded by the Jesuits, also with a mestizo baroque style. The Jesuits, along with the aforementioned Dominicans, the Augustinians, the Mercedarians and the Franciscans, were the five orders that arrived in Arequipa, with the Jesuits being the first to be thrown out, it is said that because of jealousy and jealousy, since they became the most "powerful". The truth is that this Church is imposing, full of courtyards and architecture of great value.
But the great treasure that keeps inside is the San Ignacio Chapel, a small Sistine Chapel painted with European symbols combined with jungle animals found in expeditions. We also see again the three symbols of the Andean architecture: the serpent of the underworld, the earthly puma and the condor of the superworld.
The next step, in the Plaza de Armas, is the beautiful Cathedral, built entirely in sillar and with a very neoclassical style.
In 2001 a strong earthquake of 8.1 damaged a lot of the towers and caused numerous cracks that still some can be observed inside. By the way, here is the second largest organ in the world, after that of Colombia.
Although we have left for the end, to wait for the night, the visit that made us more excited in Arequipa, of which many will have heard: St. Catherine's Monastery.
The Monastery of Santa Catalina is a true city within Arequipa. It is a citadel of more than 29,426 m2. It was founded in 1579 by Doña María de Guzaman and represents one of the most important religious places in Peru. Its streets, many with names of Spanish cities (Burgos, Toledo, Seville ...) are absolutely picturesque and taken care of to the last detail (geraniums, fountains, lanterns ...)
The entry into the institution was a sacrilege. Then it was believed that the first daughter he had was to marry, the second for religious life and the third to care for parents, from there to election. When the second entered the order, upon payment of the parents of indigent amounts, the novice was transformed into a true exclave of devout life what did they take. He spent the whole day locked in his room just leaving an hour to Mass in the morning and an hour to walk in the afternoon.
In addition, every 85 days they had a fast, having to lead the Mass. On the other hand, inside the convent, the exclavitude was the order of the day until after many years, a Pope suppressed it and the privileges of those who enjoyed it were finished, having to sell desserts to be able to sustain itself.
The visit is a real joy. It is like moving back in time for many years and walking quietly through an Andalusian microcity in the middle of Peru, a city full of history. It also has a viewpoint, from which at sunset the Misti can be observed better than ever.
But if something is not to be missed, it is the Convent of Santa Catalina by night (Tuesday and Thursday only until 8'00 pm). The lanterns light up and the city takes on a very mystical air, that environment that we like so much to the keys.
The interiors, of which we have not commented anything, are also not wasted, with great detail as to how the novices lived at the time, with paintings of great artistic value, ceramics that the family of the novice donated to them to keep the category within of the Convent, as well as all kinds of pieces.
The time has come to leave Santa Catalina and to end the day. On the way back we took the opportunity to have a snack (22 PEN) and dine in a privileged place at the top of the arches that overlook the Cathedral and the Plaza de Armas
Of course, we follow our traditional "Peruvian diet" with two other "typical delicacies", the Shrimp soup and the Loin Anticucho. Despite not looking bad, the Shrimp Pacifier abuses the Coriander a lot and we begin to notice a certain rejection of this seasoning, while the Anticuchos are to suck your fingers. We pay for dinner and the privileged place 60 PEN that deserve them well
Another day ends in Peru and tomorrow we finally left the coast to enter the Peruvian Andes. Family and friends, we are still great. Very tired for the last days but eager to face the next stage of travel. Now to chew coca and drink tea to avoid altitude sickness. Tomorrow we will reach 4,900 m.
Paula and Isaac, from Arequipa (Peru)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 144 PEN (approx 39.56 EUROS) and GIFTS: 109.20 PEN -approx 30 EUROS