Arequipa


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South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa
April 2nd 2014
Published: April 4th 2014
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Days 43 - 44 Nazca is a pretty soulless town with not much of interest due to being newer than the colonial towns we have been visiting so far. The town seems to be only geared for the tourist trade including sand boarding and buggies in the nearby desert hills. Wandered around much of the same areas as yesterday waiting for our afternoon local bus trip to Arequipa. While an 11 hr trip & a midnight arrival we were ready to move on from Nazca.

The trip was quite interesting. Initially out of Nazca it seemed to be endless flat desert landscape on both sides with a sand storm blowing & passing occasional shanty settlements. The road then moved closer to the coast with endless whitecap crashing into the mainly rocky shore for the next several hours. During the night we seemed to be climbing steadily with many switchbacks & occasional shrines with crosses attached indicating unfortunate lapses in concentration. We were also getting some reports of a big earthquake of Chile, hopefully any tsunami effects are minimal. It's astounding we were getting some wifi reception in the middle of nowhere!

The roads between the cities are good, fairly quiet & mainly trucks yet within the cities some of the roads are appalling, chaotic with impatient drivers constantly tooting horns. The intercity buses are all double decker, very comfortable and safe with actual speed constantly displayed at the front of the bus. The bus operators serve surprisingly good free hot meals on most legs we have travelled so far.

Next day we had a better chance to appreciate the attractiveness of the Arequipa compared to our bleary eyed arrival last night. The city stands at the foot of El Misti Volcano and oozes the best of Spanish colonial charm. The city is known as the 'White City' due to the pale volcanic rock used in buildings while some say it was the pale skin of the Spanish who dominated the early city population.

We briefly toured around the market & plaza area to orient ourselves with the city. We then took a fascinating guided tour of the 16th century Monasterio de Santa Catalina convent where it was traditional ( read compulsory) for the second son or daughter of a family to enter the religious service. The Santa Catalina accepted only women from high-class Spanish families, with each family paying a hefty dowry for her acceptance as well as buying her house within the convent. Life inside the convent was far from modest - each nun had between one and four servants (slaves from Africa), many brought rugs, fine china and silk curtains although in many other respects life was austere, where it was forbidden to smile or express emotion along with many other restrictions.

Not having any luck with volcanoes with El Misti clouded in so abandoned a walk to a park across town & instead continued to roam the city.


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4th April 2014

I remember this all so well :)
I was sitting on the balcony of my favourite restaurant in Arequipa this morning (in my dreams!!) ... I don't remember the name but if you face the mountain it is upstairs on the left hand corner on the square - they did some yummy vegi food and amazing Pisco Sours .... aaagghhhh It was such a haven of peace and tranquility after Lima.

Tot: 2.54s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 12; qc: 41; dbt: 0.0209s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb