Arequipa - Canyon Country
Trip Start Aug 06, 2010
136Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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I make a mad dash getting changed and packing my bags for the bus ride and literally run downstairs and into the waiting cab. Martin checked my out to save time and we end up arriving at the bus terminal dead on 6am. Its a bit of a mad rush but thankfully this is South America and things never leave on time so in the end we wait around for 20 minutes before the bus actually leaves.
I have the very front seat up the top which is great for the views of the scenery
Near the beginning of the trip I see a sign pointing to Arequipa but the driver takes a different direction which I think is strange, the lady assurend me the bus was direct. Later it becomes apparent that we have gone a really long route, almost back to Puno and then down to Arequipa when there is (as far as Iīm aware) a road that goes directly from Cusco to Arequipa. Stll the man next to me is a local and going to Arequipa so its weird he would chose a non-direct bus.
Finally we make it to Arequipa. The scenery along the way has changed from the greenery of Cusco, to yellow deserts, arid plains and finally dusty plains. Arequipa itself seems a dusty town and Iīm not too impressed. We catch a taxi into the city and when we get to the main square (another Plaza de Armas) its really quite beautiful with a big square, fountain in the middle and flanked by colonial buildings on each side and a big cathederal
Iīm quite impressed and after checking into our hotel we walk through the middle at night and its really nice. We book ourselves a 3 day tour of the Colca Canyon which is one of the worlds largest and over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US at 4,000 metres. I negotiate a discount on my bus ticket to Lima from the same agency and think Iīm doing pretty well until a couple sit down beside us an negotiate a price almost a third cheaper than what we paid for the tour. Will have to remember to negotiate more!
We head to a restaurant that is Lonely Planetīs top pick for Arequipa and the meal is absolutely top notch. I have a quinoa soup as a starter, apparently it is a really nutrious wheat (but not a wheat Iīm told). Havenīt heard of it myself but maybe it is found back home. The mains are served on hot plates and come out sizzling. I go for a trilogy of meat, beef, alpaca and ostrich! The food is really delicious and in London Iīm sure it would still be a really good restaurant. Its a really classy place and even the iron stairs were designed by Gustaf Eiffel (the guy that designed the Eiffel Tower). Thankfully the prices arenīt London prices!
Satisfied we all head back to our hostal, tomorrow we need to be ready for 3am! This time I triple check my alarm to make sure I donīt have a repeat of yesterday.