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Published: January 29th 2012
Well, just like that Christmas eve had snuck up on us and Arequipa was the place we decided to spend the holidays. We had trawled Hostelworld.com to find us a cool place to stay for the festive period and were highly recommended a place near the centre of Arequipa…perfect.
We arrived at this Hostel early Christmas eve morning and were excited to see where we were to spend Christmas. We were shown to our room, and our cheery mood instantly changed to one of disappointment! The room we were due to spend Christmas in was literally in the entrance hall of the hostel and on top of this, it was dark, sparse, and had no windows what-so-ever! Certainly not the most Christmassy room we had ever seen! Straight away we knew we had to change Hostels. Christmas away from our family and friends was a tough enough experience to cope with anyway and staying in this dungeon would not improve our spirits! But could we get a room this close to Christmas without a booking?
So, after wandering around for a while looking for a room without any joy, we suddenly felt that luck wasn’t on our side. Worse
than this though, we started to feel that maybe we had somehow morphed into some form of reincarnation of Mary and Joseph with all Hostels repeating ‘’Sorry, there is no room at the Inn!’’
Finally we came across our ‘stables’ when a Hostel owner welcomed us with open arms and showed us round a plethora of rooms at this awesome holiday resort type hostel, we were delighted! On settling in, we noticed that the Hostel was doing a ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve (that’s when they do it over in Peru?), and so, without hesitation, we speedily signed up for it. We stupidly assumed that this would be a large gathering of people all on one huge united table, where the Christmas hijinks would bring everyone together and that we would eat, drink and be merry together as one. This was not the case! We received a call from reception telling us that the food was ready, and that we should make our way to the restaurant. We did this, and on arrival, they showed us to our table….. for 2! All over the restaurant there were groups of people dining together and having a drink and a
laugh, but Donna and I were ushered over to a nice little corner away from everyone in order to eat our Christmas dinner…alone. Luckily, even after 13 years together, we still enjoy each other’s company, however it would have been nice to have some people around us on Christmas Eve, even if it was just to use them as substitute family and friends for the day!
This day wasn’t all doom and gloom though, as earlier in the day, we had visited an awesome Convent in Arequipa, which was one of the most photogenic places we have seen since being away, and also Donna got herself a present that she had been after for months…..I finally shaved the ghastly beard off!!
So, after a slightly disappointing Christmas eve, we decided that the only way to celebrate Christmas day, was to try and do what we do at home, apart from the seeing friends and family part, and that was to watch movies, and get drunk. So, after Skyping our parents, and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, we got back into bed and watched movies and documentaries all day, only stopping to go out and buy beer and snacks,
our substitute Christmas dinner. This may sound really sad, but we had a whale of a time, and was the first time in years, we had stayed in bed and done nothing all day…. Merry Christmas!
The rest of our time in Arequipa was spent more productively. Boxing day, we decided to see more of the city by hopping on one of the City bus tours, which was a great way to spend a few hours and to see more of the town, and also toured the stunning Cathedral in the Central Plaza which again was well worth a visit. Having said that, our guide was probably the most unenthusiastic, boring, dreary person we had ever met. He did however helpfully point out the things we may easily have missed such as the giant organ, and huge bell within the tower by stating ‘’Organ’’, and equally as informatively ‘’Bell’’ whilst pointing in their vicinity!! We then booked our tickets for Colca Canyon for the following day in order to satisfy our trekking withdrawal symptoms and to walk off the beer and chocolate (or Christmas dinner) that we had consumed over the festive period!
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