We made it to Peru. It took 2 seven hour flights and 1 three hour flight to get to Lima. We’re now waiting for the connection to Arequipa enjoying our first Peruvian coffee for 6 soles. Bargain! It tastes good as well.
We’ve probably managed to get two hours of sleep in the last 30 hours. The second American Airline flights was even worse space and mod-con wise so that this time Brian’s knees formed nice wee dents in the seat in front. Food wasn’t particulary good either this time.
We’re not planning on doing much in Arequipa this afternoon but will definitely walk around the city, have dinner (and maybe a drink), followed by an early night.
From Arequipa airport we took a taxi straight to the Flying Dog Hostel (25 soles), our home for the next two nights. Our room is gorgeos, has a huge double bed, a high vaulted ceiling, character and antique furniture. The bathroom can only be sparated from the room with a curtain, which supposedly is fine for most travelling couples.
We arrived here at around 2 pm.and after a long and needed shower we ventured down to see the famous La Catedral which at the moment is entirely enclosed in scaffolding. So no beautiful pictures of th exterior from us I’m afraid. The cathedral was closed until 5pm, so we went down to Iglesia de la Compañia which is a two minute walk away. It’s a beautiful small Jesuit church and the gold leaf covered altar is as impressive as the front facade.
After we went to Museo Santuarios Andinos which holds the preserved body of the Inca Princess Juanita who has been sacrificed to the gods in the 1450s. Her sight is slightly macabre but she is so well preserved that visiting her is a must. Museum entrance costs 20 soles and includes a 20 minute long National Geographic video about the discovery and excavation of Juanita’s and further sacrificed children’s bodies. After the video you can either opt to discover the museum exhibits by yourself or take a guided tour. I’d definitely recommend the guided tour as you’ll learn so much more from your guide than the little paper descriptions. The guides don’t earn a salary so you pay them what you like at the end of the tour.
Before dinner we went around Plaza de Armas – just your typical town square where oldies and youngsters watch the world go buy. On the southside of the Plaza is a cheap local super market that sells everything from water to steak to toiletries. At this point La Catedral had opened again for the evening visiting hours. It is a big vathedral no doubt, but I wouldn’t agree with people and guide books saying it’s too big and too glamorous. The artwork, carvings and statues (which are admittedly a bit over the top for my taste) have been beautifully selected and crafted.
After a few Pisco Sours (two for 10 soles during Happy Hour in a small street behind La Catedral) we had dinner in the highly recommended Zingaro.
We got here at around 6.30pm, any later especially on a Friday or Saturday night, you should probably book a table. The food is amazing and so were the two craft beers we had by Cumbres brewery. I had Ceviche (raw fish of the day marinated in lime with fresh onion and chilli) for starters, followed by a traditional Arequipian Shrimp Chowder. Both were amazing! Brian went for Rocoto Relleno (Alpaca stuffed in peppers) for his starter and Lomo Soltado (stir fried beef with quinoa) for his main. Again they tasted great. All in we spent around 150 soles for an amazing dinner.
Tomorrow we’re off to visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina and we’re hoping to get a few great shots of the surrounding mountains.