After a 10 hour overnight bus trip from Cusco we arrived in Arequipa at 6 am in the morning. Luckily we had chosen a comfortable bus equipped with seats which can recline by 160°, so we managed to sleep most of the time. After storing our luggage in our hostel we walked to the Plaza de Armas and enjoyed the warm sun and witnessed the awaking of the city.
By the way: Arequipa is called “The White City” for its volcanic stonework that many churches, convents and mansions are built of. Some people also say that Arequipa is called “The White City” because the majority of the inhabitants were/are “white” Spanish people.
We looked for a nice place to have breakfast and found a local place nearby. Andy had a solid Peruvian breakfast consisting of two eggs, fried potatoes and meat with peppers and a lot of onions:
His breakfast even included a sweet pancake:
Tini only had a healthy fruit yogurt granola:
After breakfast we explored the city and visited the enormous cathedral at the Plaza de Armas:
Inside there’s also a “Saint Andreas”:
There are many beautiful houses in the city center of Arequipa, but unfortunately a lot of them are run down:
Having had just that small granola breakfast, Tini had a chocolate pancake later on 🙂
After gathering these first impressions of Arequipa we went back to our hostel and moved into our room. While unpacking things and relaxing, we experienced our first earthquake! Everything was shaking in the room and Tini first thought that a big truck was passing by the house… The shaking continued for some seconds and then stopped as suddenly as it had begun. We heard later on that this was quite a strong earthquake (7.0 on the Richter scale with the center about 40 km from Arequipa). Due to the fact that Arequipa lies in an active volcano zone smaller earthquakes occur nearly every day, many without being noticeable. We felt a bit more secure after seeing this sign in our room:
During the next days in Arequipa we visited the Museo Sanctuarios Andinos, which exhibits “Juanita, the Ice Princess”. She is the mummy of an Inca maiden sacrificed on the summit of mount Ampato (6’288m) more than 500 years ago and found in 1995. Besides the mummy one can see the Inca clothes, equipment and tools used during that time. Our guide had a lot of interesting information about the background of the sacrifice. We learned how the girl was chosen, what she was wearing, how the whole procession took place and finally how the girl was sacrificed. One interesting detail was that the umbilical cord of each new born was preserved and used as medication for illnesses occurring later on in this persons life. Since Juanita’s umbilical cord was found entirely intact, the scientists could conclude that she had been very healthy her entire life. This was one of the reasons she was selected as a sacrifice.
Unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside the museum and the entire exhibition as well as the mummy were kept in a very dark lighting in order to avoid destruction of the invaluable findings.
With a great view over the Plaza de Armas…
we had some fried prawns, …
and different empanadas:
Visiting the Monasterio Santa Catalina was like entering a different world. It was so quiet in here and the busy life from the outside seemed far away…
The complex occupies a whole block in the city center and is surrounded by imposingly thick and high walls. A wealthy widow who chose her nuns from the richest Spanish families founded the Monasterio in 1580. It remained closed to the public until 1970.
We spent nearly an afternoon walking around in the narrow and winding alleys, over tiny plazas and beautiful courtyards and imagining how the nuns lived here hundreds of years ago.
On one of the blooming bushes we saw our first hummingbird ever! We were surprised how small it was and how unbelievably fast its wings were moving. It also flew around so fast which made it challenging to catch it on the pictures:
This is a water filter: water running through a porous stone gets cleaned within several hours. Due to the time and the weight this is no alternative to our Katadyn water filter 🙂
And this was the “washing-machine” of the Monasterio:
Normally the second daughter of wealthy Spanish families was sent to a Monasterio to become a nun. The families had to pay unbelievable 50 kg of gold from which their daughter lived a very hedonistic lifestyle. Inside the Monasterio the nuns had servants and cooks and thus could focus on praying and leading an isolated live. They lived in private cells in which the beds were placed under arches to protect the sleeping nuns in case of an earthquake.
From the roof of a little chapel we had a beautiful view over the city with the mountains in the background. Here you can see the snow capped peak of Chachani (6’057m):
And here the volcano Misti (5’822m):
In the evenings we often passed by the illuminated cathedral:
For dinner we often started with the local Arequipena beer:
In this pizzeria we had some garlic bread:
Before we got our delicious Pizza:
We usually started our days in Arequipa with a breakfast in our hostel. In the shade of an umbrella we enjoyed fresh juice, yogurt, tea and bread:
And from the roof top we had a great view over the city and the mountains rising in the background:
We also visited one of Arequipas oldest churches, the Jesuit Iglesia de La Compania, which is famous for its ornate main facade:
The San Ignacio chapel inside has a polychrome cupola with lush murals of tropical flowers, fruits and birds and was inspired by monks returning from the jungle:
Outside the church were some nice little shops:
In one of them Tini bought her Arequipean hat, handmade from sheep wool and rabbit hair. When she first tried it on it was too small, but the hat maker said he could easily adjust it to fit her head and even change the inner lining. After several hours we returned and the hat fit just perfectly:
For lunch we chose a local place offering the “menu del dia”:
We got to choose from two different starters and main dishes and the menue included a glass of chicha (fermented corn drink) and a small dessert. All for unbelievable 6 soles (2 USD).
We decided for the fish soup:
And had the chicken with rice and mashed potatoes as the main dish:
Another evening in Arequipa:
For a change we decided to go to a vegetarian restaurant, but the food was very disappointing. The soup was edible,…
but the main dishes, were drenched in oil and without taste… The hot sauce only managed to improve it slightly.
The highlight was a simple avocado/tomato sandwich we shared:
And here a picture of the closed restaurant, we passed by again the next day 🙂
On a Sunday morning we saw a Peruvian military parade:
These women were also waiting for their part in the parade. However we don’t know what they were representing, but they reminded us of flight attendants 🙂
Here some pictures of our last lunch in Arequipa. We chose the restaurant Zig-Zag because of its great reviews:
We started with fresh bread served with olive and garlic butter…
and had pisco sours as an aperitif:
Andy had a very tasty tabulé with quinua, prawns and some vegetables as an entry:
Tini had a not very surprising salad with Peruvian cheese:
Before we got our main dish we both were equipped with paper bibs 🙂
Andy’s choice the “trilogy of tuna, salmon and trout fillet” was flambeed with pisco before serving:
Andy’s choice in a close-up:
Tini had the “trilogy of alpaca, beef and porc fillet”. Both dishes were prepared and served on a volcanic stone. Because the meat was still sizzling on those hot stones, the bibs served as a fat splash protection:
And of course we had dessert 🙂 Andy went with a chocolate-mousse made from Peruvian cacao:
And Tini had a delicious passion-fruit vacherin with crisp meringues. Yummie, yummie! 🙂
After lunch, Andy found the perfect words: “Too bad, we didn’t come here earlier. Otherwise we could have enjoyed lunch or diner more often at this wonderful place.”
Before we headed back to our hostel to pack our backpacks, we had a short walk through the park of the Iglesia de San Francisco, which had a fountain surrounded by frogs:
All in all we really enjoyed our stay and especially the mild climate in Arequipa. Heading to our next destination, Puno (3830 m), we are prepared to get out our down jackets again 🙂This entry was posted in South-America, WorldMap and tagged Beer, Food, Museum