Let’s revisit some places we (Sarah and I) visited during those Peru Adventures I keep talking about.
Let’s head back to the end of December back in 2013…
Arequipa is 2380m above sea level. Coming from Wellington, where almost the whole city is sea level, this was a big difference. It’s also surrounded by three volcanoes, which were easy to spot from the roof of the hostel. I really liked the style of the buildings in this city. In this city, we visited the Monastery of Saint Catherine and Colca Canyon. Prepare for a lot of pictures.
We stayed at El Albergue Espanol, a hostel very close to the centre of town. The owners were very lovely, we were able to communicate through our limited Spanish, and their limited English, together we figured out that we wanted a local map. The hostel was very cute, and also has a roof that you can go up to and hang out.
The Plaza de Armas (Town Square) was beautiful, it’s like a park, surrounded by local shops and a beautiful Cathedral. Since our hostel was centrally located, we were able to walk a few minutes to get to it.
After exploring the shops (and me buying a stuffed alpaca who is name Pedro), we decided to check out the Monastery. Also, our high school was named after Saint Catherine funnily enough.
Entry to the Monastery was 35 soles ($15 NZD). I loved the colours in the Monastery. It was beautiful and huge.
We also had a little fun at the fact that Sarah had to keep ducking to get through the doorways, and I just kept on walking. In fact, with my short stature and skin colour, people kept thinking I was a local and speaking rapid Spanish to me, then backing away at my look of confusion and panic. Sarah, with her blue eyes, and very tall build got lots of stares. We also got accosted a lot by vendors everywhere we go. We knew this would happen, and were pretty good with avoiding them and shaking them off. We did stop by two ladies who were dressed up in traditional attire to pet the baby alpacas they had.
We booked with a local tour agency to go see Colca Canyon the next morning. I don’t remember how much it was, but it wasn’t too bad. We had to get picked up at 3am though, so we had little sleep. I also felt very sick, nauseous and realized I had barely eaten the past two days because I didn’t feel hungry. Turns out, I should be taking my altitude sickness pills. Once those kicked in, I felt good again. I did feel tingles in my arms and legs, but apparently that’s a normal side effect.
Colca Canyon is beautiful. The trip to get there was fun, our guide was fluent in both Spanish and English and was a wealth of information. It was a long van ride, but worth it. The Canyon is one of the deepest in the world. It looked like it never ended. I couldn’t stop looking around, and trying to squint and see everything. We saw a few condors, but I wasn’t quick enough to take a decent photo of one.
It was nice to get back and crash at our hostel that night considering the early wake up call. Then we had to get up at 5 to catch our next flight out to Cusco at 7. Booking earlier flights is cheaper, but man does it wear on you after a while. Jet lag is reeeal.
Arequipa was such a diverse city. It was also very high up. Remember your altitude sickness pills guys, cause it sucks if you don’t.