Arequipa - Mummys and Monasteries

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October 11th 2008
Published: January 18th 2009
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1: Arequipa 135 secs
I managed to sleep until 4am when we stopped in the middle of nowhere. At the front of the bus was a table and chairs so I decided to sit up front for a while, looking out the front of the second level as we climbed and descended some of the mountain ranges. I have never been so scared in my life!

On a very straight piece of road there may just have been room to have two buses wide but somehow, on the twistiest parts our driver managed to overtake trucks on blind corners - all on roads with no side barriers and 1000 foot + drops.

We pulled into Arequipa at 0830 and caught a cab to Hostel Regis about 15 minutes away. The hostel seemed reasonable and at S40 (NZ$20) it fell within budget.

A block south of Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas is Museo Santuarios Andinos where “the ice princess” Juanita is exhibited (S15 NZ$7.50). The frozen body of a 12 year old Incan girl was found on the summit of Nevada Ampato in 1995 and it has since been discovered that she was a sacrifice to the gods some 500 years ago. One of the pleasing observations from this visit was the way that the exhibits of offerings buried with Juanita were presented and the way the mummy herself was exhibited in a clear temperature and humidity controlled environment. Having seen people walking on the Nazca Lines the previous day it was nice to see every effort being made to preserve the history for future generations.

The overnighter had started to catch up with us so around 1300 we retired back to Hostel Regis for a nana nap until 1500.

Just a block away from the hostel is Monasterio de Santa Catalina S30 (NZ$15) each, a 16th century monastery for nuns that covers an amazing 20 thousand square metres. Behind the high walls surrounding the monastery are streets, chapels and living quarters that still house over 30 nuns. We stayed until closing at 1700.

One of the day trips out of Arequipa is to Colca Canyon about three hours from town. We were both keen to find a tour and ended up booking Colca Trek for S90 (NZ$45) each.

After updating the blog we had dinner at Ary Quepay, a hideous tourist restaurant complete with Peruvian pipe band that served
Arequipa by nightArequipa by nightArequipa by night

Taken from the balcony at Hostel Regis
“local foods” such as Alpaca and Cuy (Guinea Pig). I had the Alpaca fillet which was very lean but didn’t taste too different from beef and Jo ordered the Cuy which was mainly fat, skin and bone and tasted like chicken.

We got back to the hostel at 2100 and went to bed - we had to be up at 0230 the next morning.

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