Published: May 8th 2012May 4th 2012
Some things you may not know about Peru.
The Incas were originally Japonese monks.
The Inca civilisation invented ink.
Peru means share the love.
Peru is home to only 3 people.
I find it hard to remember the town I am heading towards and have to mentally cross Arica and Albequeque before saying Arequipa.
Arequipa means the brick factory behind the volcanos.
The Peruvian Andes are at the end of the Chilean wristies.
Madagascar has thousands of Limas. Peru has just one, and he is very lonely.
style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969);" />The potato is from Peru and there are 3500 varieties of potato here.
The tomato and avocado are originally from Peru.
Paddington in London is named after Paddington Bear who was born close to where I am now.
The national dish is a pet Guinea Pig.
The capital of Peru is P.
The currency of Peru is chewing gum and there are currently twelve sticks to the pound.So crossed the border to Peru. I had lost my immigration paperwork so some stern looks from the immigration man and lots of tutting. But
he stamped me out. Six hours later arrive in the most amazing and beautiful city, Arequipa. Check into a great hostel, Arequipay backpackers and explore the town. I am with Rich the lumberjack (still OK) his sister Stacey and Carmen, a 23yr old Dutch lawyer of Spanish decent. Olive skin and very pretty.And what a town this is. So different to Chile. Rough around the edges but still a great vibe. Plus it is a lot cheaper. Packet of smokes is £1.00.
The centrepiece of the city is the Plaza de Armas, the largest in South America. Dominated by a beautiful cathedral with two towers. Arriving as we did at dusk by the time we reached the square it is subtly lit in yellow. The plaza has a fountain and trees. A truely lovely place to sit and be. Our priority however was to find a bar and something to eat and we really struck gold. Surrounding the square are gorgeous Spanish style buildings in two levels with a terrace on the second
level. Wanting to sit and enjoy the view of the square we enter the Sonccolla Inca restaurant and meet the owner, Walter Bustumente. A really super guy, he invites us to look in his kitchen. All food cooked in traditional Inca style. Herbs and spices I had never tasted before from the Lake Titicaca region.I enquired about a good place to buy a new camera, my other one being broken. I did consider trying to have it mended but as it was under warranty though buying a cheap new one would be best. Not only did he accompany me to the shop he offered to pay for it as the shop only accepted visa. A quick dash to the ATM secured me a sturdy canon camera for £70. Result and all set for Maccu Pichu in a few days.
So we dined for over two hours on Alpaca, duck, river shellfish and guinea pig. A pet at home, it is a national dish of Peru. Tastes like chicken. All washed down with a
decent red. Afterwards Walter, who speaks several languages invited us to the roof top to enjoy the view of the square and to talk about the history of the Incas and Peru. Surrounded by volcanoes you could just make out the snow covered peaks. Fireworks were being set off in the distance. A great night and for £35 a head amazing value.
It's funny to think that initially I was going to bypass this place and head straight for Cuzco. I am so glad I didn'tSo a walk around the square to let dinner go down. Rich and Carmen needed some space so Stacey and myself walked around the town to check out the other amazing buildings. Needless to say we got lost.We came to a junction we thought we recognised but neither of us could remember the name of the street our hostel was on, or the area.
Walking around trying to find a landmark we saw Father
a village within the city. amazing place
Christmas stood by a set of traffic lights selling chocolate.A genuine Peruvian Papa Noel. Red suit, fat belly, white beard and Ho Ho Ho all the way. A most bizarre experience to buy chocolate from Santa on 4th May but he maybe a guy who knows his way around as taxi drivers we had asked were #ing useless as always."Papa Noel" I said munching on my chocolate bar " yo estoy perdido. Quiero Arequipay Backpackers"Scratching his red hat and pursing his lips so his facial hair took on the ' I am trying to swallow my beard' look, he then waved for us to follow him. Santas little helpers following Papa Noel through the streets of Arequipa. All we needed was a costume outselves and we would have been all set gor the North Pole. He took us to the Arequipa central hotel. Bless, he did try though. Chucked him some Soles ( the currency here) as a thank you for his time.<br style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255,
My 'little' helper
Carmen the guide around the monestry and the shortest woman yet
0.917969);" />The hotel had Internet and five minutes later we were back in business and walking to the hostel.Think I am going to like Peru .Disco out.
Saturday.Walked around the old city and checked out Santa Catalina Monastery. A small town within a city. Home to the Dominican order of nuns and over 400 years old. It is still a convent but has been opened to the public to assist in thr running of the order. Good hour well spent. Met the shortest woman in Peru. Carmen, out tour guide.Tomorrow we head for two days to the Colca Valley to see the condors and check out the canyon.
There are more photos below