The white city!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
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Trip End Jun 19, 2013


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Flag of Peru  , Arequipa Region,
Monday, April 22, 2013

Highlights

Arequipa.
We arrived after a decent night bus, or as decent as a night bus can be, and checked into our hostel around 6am. After a nap we explored the beautiful city of Arequipa. One thing we noticed were people selling odd things, like a man carrying thousands of shoe laces or a woman offering a blood pressure service on the street. We declined these but did accept a buy one get one free on mcdonalds ice-cream! This was so we could test out the nearby plaza of course, and here we found another ambitious sales man flogging bird seed. However with millions of pigeons around this guy had potential as lots of Peruvians love pigeons. Arequipa is known as the white city due to the buildings being created out of white volcanic stone, all around the plaza, and several blocks around we could see this stone used. After our ice creams we checked out the san camilo market, where i spent most of my time stopping Jade from buying things and also checking out some of Perus unique fruits. After that we passed a stall selling loads of different potato varieties...over 4000 in Peru apparently, and yet we always get served the same 2 with every meal. Then we reached the stall we had come for: jugo de rana or frog juice to you and me. Sadly they had ran out of the key ingredient! How can this happen. Apparently they add lots of other stuff to the frog juice so it tastes ok, will have to find out another time! Instead we chose one out of a line of fruit juice stalls and I had charriylo with milk, kind of an apple flavored fruit while Jade stuck with what she knows and had strawberry juice. Both were really good. On the way out we sampled some 25p empanadas, also good and then checked out our dinner options. After being disappointed with Peruvian cuisine recently we decided on a chifa (chinese) and what a great decision it was. Tipakay or sweet n sour just like home...or China and a free pisco sour ummmmm.

Santa Catalina Monastery
Founded in the late 16th century by a very rich widow, Santa Catalina was monastery for wealthy spaniards who paid large sums of money to live as nuns. To be honest thats all the history we remember! It was like stepping into a mini town behind the high walls that shut this monastery off to the whole world. Inside are streets named after spanish towns where the nuns owned their private living quarters. Such a photogenic place we managed to get some awesome photos and we enjoyed exploring the maze-like streets complete with plazas and fountains. At a tenna each, it was a little expensive to get in but it was well worth the money. We haven't been to anywhere like it before, it felt like we had been dropped in a tiny village in Spain.

The Cathedral.
We woke up reasonably early thinking we got a decent breakfast included, we didn't, it was the usual hard as a rock bread bun with jam and tea. We were truly gutted! We ventured out to a preserved spanish mansion now owned by the government. To be honest there wasn't anything grand or special about this house and the visit was over in about 5 minutes. Twiddling our thumbs and it only being about 10.30am we struggled to find anything to do. We noticed the church on the main plaza was open so we thought we check it out, take some photos. What we didn't realise is that it is a museum aswell, we got taken round by a nice girl and she gave us the history on the church, about the different bishops and how it owns one of the largest organs in South America, over 1000 pipes! In the musuem there were huge ornaments made from gold, silver and precious stones, one had more than a thousand diamonds on! Many people during the colonial times donated jewelry so they hoped God would send them to heaven. We got to see the bishops, well cloak (cant remember what its called) that he wears during holy week and at christmas. It is covered in gold threads and weighs a hefty 25 kg! At the end of the tour the girl took us on the roof of the church to see the stunning views of the surrounding volcanoes and Arequipa town.

Lowlights
Disgusting dinner
Sometimes having the cheaper set menu pays off and you get delicious soup, maybe a salad, a main course and a drink but we ate at this quite nice looking restaurant and were served the most disgusting meal in SA. I ordered a pumpkin soup which tasted like gone off milk and a chicken dish, the meat had a horrible taste to it so we both decided not to carry on incase we got ill. So a pretty bad meal cost us 4 quid each and we then had to find another restaurant for our second dinner!
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