Churches and Plazas and Museum´s Oh My

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We headed to Arequipa which is Peru´s second largest city and home to the world´s deepest canyon.  Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.  We thought about doing a hike to the bottom but I had a sinus infection and couldn´t picture huffing and puffing down and up without being able to breath through my nose.  So, we toured the city instead. 

All towns in Peru have a central area called the Plaza de Armas which is a square in town for gathering and resting and is always sided with a grand cathedral.  Most all the cathedrals are open to the public and are always grandiose and most flashy with amazing paintings and altars.  Arequipa´s La Lateral is honored to be one of 100 basilicas in the world that is allowed to display the Vatican flag. 

We also hit two other interesting sites in town. Museo Santury is home to Juanita the ice princess who was an Incan maiden sacrificed on a nearby mountain 500 years ago and whose body was found with her organs still intact.  She continues to be preserved in a freezer and on display.  They believed the mountains were the gods and young children to appease the gods.  Another interesting site was Monasterio de Santa Catalina.  This convent was founded by a rich widow and prospective nuns had to pay substantial dowry to be accepted.  Each nun would have one to four servants or slaves and they would throw parties and live a lifestyle they were accustomed to.  This continued for three centuries until the Pope put an end to this lifestyle and turned it into a traditional convent.  It continues to be a convent with about 30 nuns living in a corner of the 5 acre complex with the rest open to tourism.  Very fascinating and beautiful artwork.

Peru uses the Nuevo Sole for its currency.  We get about 3.30 soles to $1.  Most accommodation is costing us between 35 and 60 soles per night.  Meals range depending on if we eat like locals or at tourist restaurants.  You can order from a set menu if we can figure it out and make sure there is no meat in it for about 6 soles which comes with soup, drink and main course.  Otherwise you can eat like a tourist for about 20 soles per al la carte menu.  Very popular dishes are the cuy (guinea pig) and alpaca (llama).  Obviously we haven´t tried these.  The well known drink is Pisco Sour which is sort of like a margarita and is made with pisco (brandy), lime and egg white for frothiness.  It is quite yummy and costs between 8 to 15 soles depending on where you are.  There a desert stands in the street and some towns have women who walk around with a tray of sliced cakes.  Jeremy is loving that!   
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