Cusco & Arequipa

Trip Start Feb 11, 2010
Trip End Jul 15, 2010

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Flag of Peru  , Cusco,
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

After the tranquil setting of The Island of the Sun we moved onto Cusco, where we should have been seeing Machu Picchu had it not been for the flooding and subsequent mud slides. All the same we were still extremely excited to be getting out of Bolivia and into Peru!!!!!!

Although not as high as La Paz, Cusco still sits 3,400metres above sea level. We arrived via overnight bus from Copacabana/Puno. It was the capital of the Inca Empire and even though the mudslides had shut Machu Picchu there are still lots of other ruins to go and see - we chose not to and spent most of our time in the Plaza de Armas, a really beautiful square in the centre. After the disappointment of the "Ruins" on the Isla del Sol decided it wasn´t worth the 40quid they were going to charge us. Cusco has a bit of a Spanish feel about it, there are many Spanish colonial buildings off the Plaza de Armas most notably the Cathedral of Santo Domingo.  

The market in Cusco is AMAZING!!!! Packed full of Inca souvenirs, we spent almost half a day wondering round the stalls getting lost and confused about what it was we actually wanted to buy (think that might be the plan - make all the tourists wander round see so much of the same stuff, confuse them so much they end up spending most their travel budget on tat - good tat though!!!!) 

With our time in Cusco nearly over, we went off in search of some traditional (cheap) Peruvian food to fill our stomach before our overnight bus to Arequipa. We found a set menu for 2.50soles (about 50p) with a starter, main and drink...BRILLIANT!!!! The main dish has grown to be one of my favourite foods we´ve had...Lomo Saltado, basically beef, onions, tomatoes plonked over chips and rice - they absolutely love their carbs out here.

The bus to Arequipa was a bit posh, leather seats and all. We arrived at 7am, got a taxi to the Plaza de Armas (another one) and went to find breakfast. Arequipa is a really pretty city, it is nicknamed La Ciudad Blanca ("The White City") the buildings are built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock. The city itself is located between two small volcanoes, Chachani and Picchu Picchu. We only had the day here, we managed to leave our big bags at a tour agency and start our tour of the city. There are soooo many churches, four in total, a cathedral and a monastery all built in the same white rock. The city is relatively small so sightseeing is easily done on foot. Halfway round, Egg managed to lock herself out of her "important" bag so the next few hours were spent trying to work out the new code sat on the steps of the Cathedral. We became a tourist attraction ourselves, a Peruvian woman asking to have her photo taken with the two of us with the cathedral in the background, random to say the least.

Back in the bag, it was lunch time and time to try Llama steak for the first time.

With night falling it was time to leave Arequipa and travel onwards to Ica/Huacachina for some relaxation and SANDBOARDING!!!!!! 
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