The Ice Princess, The Monastery & General Chilling
Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
138Trip End Dec 08, 2009
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After a day of chilling we decided to "do" some of the sights and therefore, our first port of call was to see "Juanita - The Ice Princess " in one of the museums. Juanita is about 500 or so years old and was sacrificed by the Incas on top of one of the local mountains. She would have been about 13 years old at the time and was an offering to the Gods to prevent drought and earthquakes. It's a pity they didn't offer her to protect them from the Spanish who landed not so long afterwards and ravaged the Inca civilisation.
Juanita was found in 1995, high on the mountain at about 5,500m and had become dislodged from her icy tomb following volcanic activity which had melted the ice
After a spot of lunch, we took a wander around the Convent of Santa Cantalina. I know that this might not sound like an intriguing day out but this place was gigantic and really showed just how times have changed over the last few hundred years.
The convent is a huge complex of streets and houses within gigantic stone walls which used to house the daughters of rich families. Normally, the second daughter would enter the convent and her family would keep her accustomed to the high life by building her a beautifull house, complete with several quarters for both of her servants! Eventually, in the mid 1800s, the Vatican pulled time on the high life within the convent and limited the nuns to one servant each!
Today, there are around 20 nuns which is a far cry from the halcyon days when there would have been over 250 praying for the souls of their rich brethren
Arequipa was a great place to stop and chill for a while. It's the second largest city in Peru and really friendly towards tourists which is today one of its main sources of income.
Each night in the centre of town we came across a bloke, standing in the middle of the road, dressed as Santa Claus selling cigarettes and chocaltes to Arequipa´s taxi drivers. Very strange!
The hostel we stayed in also offered Spanish lessons which we took advantage of. Jim was given the worldy advice by his teacher that women are not only normally far better at languages than men but they are usually also more intelligent. Needless to say, this was the last time he took a lesson with her!