Published: November 8th 2011November 6th 2011
This is a short one because for the past 6 days we have done virtually nothing. We arrived in Arequipa on Halloween and quickly found a hostel for 65 Soles per night (£15). The hostel was still being built and looked like it would be nice when finished. When I was shown the room, the guy quickly offered a room away from the road if we preferred it quiet. This made me happy, finally a hostel that understood their guests might want to sleep. So we took the room at the back of the hostel. Once settled we took a wonder to the Plaza de Armas, I think all Peruvian cities have one of these. It seemed a lovely city with most of the cathedrals and churches made out of sillar (white volcanic rock). There was a good fountain in the middle as usual and the square was vibrant with people. It was also very warm so we took shade in one of the many restaurants surrounding the square in the balconies looking over the square. That evening the city was buzzing with people out for Halloween. The square was mobbed, like George Square is at Hogmanay. We,
of course, had no costumes and couldn’t really join in as we don’t speak much Spanish so we headed to TGI Fridays, tut tut. The streets were still buzzing when we got back. We headed to bed and as soon as we did a Halloween party started in the courtyard of the hostel, which was currently a building site. This party went on until 4am, full blast. There was no way we could sleep through the noise. It was a nightmare and at 8am the drilling started! I had a word with the reception guy the next day and tried to explain that when I asked for a quiet room I expected him to mention a mental party. The worst part is we weren’t invited!
Next day we went to the Museo Santuarios Andinos. This museum houses Juanita the frozen ice maiden. A 13 year old girl sacrificed to the gods 500 years ago. Juanita was found at the top of Mount Ampato, one of the volcanoes surrounding Arequipa in 1995. No photography was allowed so here is a link
. It was good but cost £8 for the both of us including a ‘tip’ for the guide at
the end. Apparently they work for free and are students of the university but our guide clearly was not a student and worked in reception but still ‘demanded’ a tip. I thought the mummy in Salta was much better preserved and therefore more interesting. As much as I enjoy seeing mummies, we both came out of there slightly annoyed at the wonder and respect they seem to hold for people that sacrificed 13 year old girls. As much as its interesting and all, a bit of perspective makes me think they were just idiots sometimes.
We had thought about doing the Colca Canon, this is what everyone comes to Arequipa to do but it involved 2 days of trekking through the worlds 3rd deepest canon and I wasn’t up for that after the disastrous Inca trail. So we spent the rest of the week doing pretty much nothing. We also decided that the bus journeys to Chile were too long and not worth it, so we decided to fly straight to Santiago. We had planned on spending 4 days in Santiago before our flight to NZ but we even decided to change this and fly directly to NZ as
soon as we arrived in Santiago airport. So feeling a bit guilty that is what we did. It was a very long day(s).
There are more photos below