Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Arequipa the lovely

Arequipa is the 2nd largest city in Peru, and the place you go if you want to go whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, hiking, stuff like that, that Marc and I don't do. It's also the most geologically interesting, with a ring of volcanoes around the city, and a huge canyon a couple of hours away. The canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The Arequipa landscape, from the air:

The city has such a nice feel to it, and the place we're staying is really amazing. Casa Arequipa may be my favorite place we've stayed, ever. The people are so sweet (see the previous post), the place is very comfortable, and the people who work here are just right, in terms of being helpful but not intrusive. Plus, it's pink:

The honeymoon suite, our room one night
with a really sweet terrace
The garden room, our room another night

After my birthday cake, we walked into town, to the Plaza de Armes. I think every town in Peru has a Plaza de Armes. Arequipa is called the white city because most of the buildings are built with volcanic rock, which is white. This is the big Cathedral on the square; it's the only Cathedral in Peru that takes up one whole side of the city square.

On the square after dinner:

Oh -- the vegetation in Arequipa and Lima is a mix of palm trees and deciduous trees. Really odd combo.

Here -- this video has footage of the square and our hotel:

This guy had an old typewriter on his lap. I never saw him type, but he was ready at any moment.

One of the major things to see in Arequipa is the Monestario de Santa Catalina. It was started by a rich old Spanish widow in the 1500s, and she picked only the upper-crust rich Spanish girls to be nuns. It was a monastery, but the nuns had several slaves each, and they had parties and live music. Finally, a big nun came over from Spain a couple hundred years later and whipped the place into shape. No more slaves, no more parties. Just nun stuff, 24/7.

But the place is absolutely gorgeous:

Lots of this kind of thing. Estoy llorando.
the kitchen
Apparently the colors are accurate -- they were this vivid when the place was new. Really amazing.

We walked around town for awhile, came back to our hotel for a snooze -- oh yeah, the altitude is getting to us a bit. Hard to breathe now and then, tired really easily, woozy here and there. Hence, the nap. The area around our hotel is particularly beautiful:

Misti Volcano in the background, and the Chili River in the foreground
Nothing boring about the houses!
or the flowers
Zig Zag Restaurant was our dinner spot, to celebrate my birthday. We ate ostrich carpaccio (Marc's dish, which I tried -- mine was Andean trout carpaccio), grilled alpaca (again, Marc's, which I tried -- I got grilled fish), and a bowl of corn quinoa cheese soup. The ostrich was interesting, the alpaca was just fine-grained meat, and dinner was great, mainly because of the company.

This was a perfectly wonderful day.

1 comment:

Alannah said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

It sounded really lovely.

Can't wait for the next updates and photos!