Ohhh feet up for Christmas!
Trip Start Sep 22, 2011
36Trip End Mar 09, 2012
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Where I stayed
Our bus for Arequipa left that evening, another night ride but on the best bus company in Peru, Cruz del Sur
We arrived at a gated community of maybe a dozen houses with the local SWAT team based in the corner, we should be safe here. We got into the hostel and our room was ready in less than an hour, result. The hostel itself was only let down by not having a pool like the original, shame but then again we were much nearer town. Our room had a view of the local Volcano, Misti, which overlooked the town like some great overlord. The monster hasn't errupted for over 400 years though so hopefully our luck would be in and we would survive. Just to the left of the volcano was a huge mountain range to boot. The whole vista was really quite something, and as the days passed it only got better as the snows fell on the 6000m high range in front of us.
We had a few days of rest and some shopping, and to be honest Arequipa isn't the most amazing place on earth but it has a serious shopping district. The main square is quite a thing to behold as well. The whole place is generally called the 'White City' though this title should really be reserved for the very center, due to the colour of the stone used to construct everything. In the very centre in 'Plaza de Armes' is the 'Basilica Cathedral de Arequipa' a huge place of worship that carries the enigmatics title of being one of only 12 Cathedrals in the world allowed to display the flag of the Vatican (indoors of course).
The build up to Christmas was inevitably rife with Hannah trying to find something other than plastic cheese, and Neil the best whiskey, in the end it would turn out to be a great place to have our festive break. Our now travelling friend Vanessa was in a local party hostel, 'The Wild Rover' and as the name suggests it is a somewhat Irish themed place, full of young party people and late nights. We had arranged to Meet Vanessa for Christmas Eve drinks but before we did we headed to a local eatery where Neil decided to brave the Peruvian delacacy of Guinea Pig, deep fried! The only words that come to mind are 'Road Kill' and it tasted as bad to boot, mission accomplished big hamster eaten but never will rodent be eaten by Neil again
Our Christmas Eve was spent with Vanessa and several others we had met on our travels (from San Pedro, Chile & Mendoza, Argentina!) enjoying the lively atmosphere and consuming 'Cuba Libres' (a rum and coke for the uninitiated). After many many hours of fun we managed to leave at the respectable hour of 3.30am!
Christmas Day was spent in rest until our roast dinner, again at the 'Rover' where we would meet the same gang again for more high jinx and a good feed. The meal itself was nice, for us meat eaters, however unfortunately the poor veggies all suffered and, a small case of food poisoning, putting to rest the evening and for them to bed (Vanessa included). We managed to continue and carry the flag and hold our own with the insane Irish contingent, and the Aussies to boot until the early hours, 2.30am to be exact.
Our Boxing Day was spent in personal reflection, well for Neil at least, while the poor sense of self wellbeing was left unexplored. Many a video was watched and no beer consumed! The weather we were expecting was not as forthcoming, though the Christmas Eve was spectacular and delivered a crystal clear day for the most part, Neil had ordered a gift for Hannah from Amazon as a special prezzie but unfortunately fell foul of import laws in Peru, and was informed he had to get a special import licence, and had to register as an importer to get it
We had contemplated a trip to the Colca Canyon inbetween Christmas and New Year, however, Neil's legs and mind, still in recovery from Machu Picchu made us reconsider and we opted for the more sedate destination of Huacuchina. We had heard it was a desert oasis with sandboarding galore.... sounds a whole load more fun than more trekking to the second deepest canyon in the world (second not to the Grand Canyon, but a slightly bigger one just down the road) but after all this is supposed to be a holiday!
Our last couple of days were spent again not doing a great deal, other than a bit more shopping and the obligatory last meal, in a wonderful little Mexican restaurant we had found just before we left. Our evening bus to Ica and then onto the sand dune surrounded Huacuchina for a couple of days before new year in Lima and the promise of more fun.