04/10/2008 - 04/12/2008
We spent a few days back in Lima, then we had to say our sad goodbyes as Joanna flew back to San Francisco on the 9th. I flew out the next day to Arequipa, called the "Ciudad Blanca" or "white city" because most of the buildings are made out of a soft, white stone called sillar. Arequipa is in southern Peru and is at 2,335 meters, or 7,660 feet.
It´s really beautiful here - in fact it´s one of my favorite cities on this trip. There are three ginormous volcanoes nearby, and the town has a lovely colonial feeling about it. It´s actually a really big city (the second largest in Peru!), but doesn´t feel like it at all.
The Plaza de Armas in Arequipa is, as they say, probably one of the nicest in all of Peru. It is however packed day and night with locals and tourists alike.
The hotel I stayed in, Casa de Avila, was a gorgeous place. If I could have I would have stayed here longer!
I visited several museums (and was all museum´ed out by the end of the first day), including the Museo "Santuarios Andinos" where they have on display Juanita, the "ice-princess" whose frozen body of a 15-year old Inca maiden was sacrificed on the summit of Ampato - at 6310m (20,700ft) high - over 500 years ago and which was discovered in 1995.
I also visited the Santa Catalina Convent, which was enormous, almost a city in and of itself! It´s still in use and there are today about 27 nuns who live there, though they are in a separate part of the complex from the tourist area. The buildings and courtyards were very vibrant; they used three colors to decorate the buildings - blue, red and white.
One night I ate at Ary Quepay, which specializes in traditional Peruvian cuisine. There was a live performance by a local Andean music group.