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South America » Peru » Arequipa
February 19th 2013
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -16.39, -71.53

Our trip out of the jungle involved the walk in the pouring rain, the boat ride, the minibus trip, 3 take offs and landings (Puerto Moldanado to Cuzco to Juliaca to Arequipa) and another minibus to deliver us to our hotel only a few metres from the central square - the most beautiful in Peru, surrounded by arcades, lots of palm trees, a lovely fountain, a cathedral, all reeking of spanish colonial.
We ate on the upper level of one of the arcades and watched the coming and going in the square below, at one point we became aware of some very loud tinny music and when we looked over the edge we saw it was coming from a rubbish truck advertising its presence in much the same way as ice cream vans do at home. The music was Hank Marvin, by the way, for those old enough to remember. And we retreated to the hotel to sort out piles of laundry!
We organised a guy to take us on a walking tour next morning and he covered the central square, the Jesuit church and cloisters, the oldest house in town - now offices for a bank - the central market which was terrific, mountains of fruit, dozens of varieties of potato, cures for all your ills that included drinking a liquidised frog (I tell no lies!), hats - Peter replaced the r ather frayed one he bought last summer at a market in the Dordogne, a cheap one to last him to Ecuador (where proper Panama hats come from), and more and more.He showed us a restaurant to try in the evening, and helped us make a reservation, showed us the best shops, the way to the convent we had decided to visit alone later.
The Monasterio de SAnta Catalina had been a closed convent for nearly 400 years before it was turned into a tourist site/museum in the 197os. Though there is still a closed part where a few nuns still live.
Sitting at breakfast next morning we realised that wehad a great view of one of the three volcanoes that loom over Arequipa - Pichu Pichu, Misti and Chachani - highest of the three at almost 20,000 feet.
Arequipa has a pleasant city centre, lots of colonial churches, a few colonial houses - mostly taken over by banks - one or two interesting museums. Enough to keep one occupied for a few days.

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