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Published: October 3rd 2011
Saturday (Sep. 24th)
We made it to Arequipa! Our bus got in at about 6:30 am so we went to find our hostel (Bothy Hostel), thinking we would sleep a few hours before exploring. Our taxi ended up taking us accross to the wrong side of the bridge from where out hostel was, but we didnt know that, so we just got out and wandered around until we fingured out we were on the wrong side of the street. But it was a gorgeous morning and we got to see a little more of the city than we would have otherwise, so it was a nice walk. By the time we found our hostel and got checked in we were starving. So we said screw the sleep and went to find any restaurant that was open at 7:30 am. We actually did quite nicely and found one on a terrace overlooking the main plaza, which was gorgeous. We were basically the only ones up at that ridiculous hour, so it was fairly empty and very peaceful. After a full breakfast we began our full day of tourist activities, starting with the Catalina Monastary. We got there right after it opened so we had the whole place to ourselves and could take pictures without other tourists in them, a rare thing here in Peru. The monastary was gorgeous, each section had different colored walls and the structures were very picturesque, and our guide was very informative. Part of the monastary is still running with nuns living there, but most of it is a museum. We went then back to the main Plaza and found a walking street which was very cute and full of people by then. At the end there was a small market with some cheese ice cream that I introduced Brittany to and we stopped to buy some supposedly delicious chocolate from La Iberica (the brand). Our next museum was about Juanita ¨The Ice Princess.¨ She is a frozen body of an Incan girl who was found on the top of one of the mountains surrounding Arequipa, an Incan child sacrifice to the gods. Her actual body was in the museum as well as a bunch of the artifacts that were found with her in her tomb.
We went on a little adventure then to find a restaurant reccomended by our hostel for lunch. It was in a cute little backstreet, was filled with locals, and the food was delicious. We ordered Cuy (guinea pig) again so Brittany could try it as well as another small dish (I cant remember the name) that was very very good. Our last tourist stop for the day was a small monastary that is known for its library full of old books. The books were collected from all over the world and were obviously incredibly old. We just walked quickly through the rest of the monastary, but the library was worth the visit. We still had a lot of time before dinner so we went back towards the main square and found another small walking street full of cafes. The one we chose had a terrace on top where we ordered coffees and hung out to watch the sunset. It was very nice. Dinner was quite the experience. We went to a restaurant recommended by our host mom called Tradicion Arequipeña. When we got there it turns out there was a huge celebration going on for somebodys birthday. So we were the only white people there and the only people not part of the party. But everyone was dancing and it was a lot of fun to watch and then eventually this group of people asked us to join them dancing and then sitting at their table. It was a lot of fun, but we went back to our hostel before too late because our Colca Canyon trek starts tomorrow morning at 3 am!
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