Day 5 - Arequipa

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Jun 14, 2009

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Alan's blog: After a very long over night bus ride from Nazca, we arrived in Arequipa at about 9 am.. Not that the bus was uncomfortable, it's just that sleeping was difficult - trying to find a comfortable position long enough to doze for a while. We met Ellen & Leslie at the hotel - hugs all around; the group is now complete! A free day to explore. Everyone went off in different directions. Leslie and I went with Ron & Ellen to tour the Monasterio de Santa Catalina. It's an enormous complex - a small city within the city, filled with very bright colours, streets and squares - interesting to visit the nuns' cells, with their own kitchens, and sleeping niches under aches for protection against earthquakes. The chapel is filled with a collection of art found when parts of the convent were turned over for public viewing. Leslie and I collected the boys and went for lunch on a terrace restaurant overlooking the main square - Plaza del Armas - there's one in every town, even the smallest villages.

After meeting Ron & Ellen for drinks on another terrace, I went walkabout while the other went shopping or back to the hotel for a nap (to make up for the bus trip). The museum housing Juanita, the frozen mummy found on top of the Ampato volcano, by accident, when an adjacent volcano erupted and melted the snow cover on the summit where she was found. An Incan girl of about 15 sacrificed to appease the gods following an eruption; she was amazingly well preserved, along with all the artefacts found with her. The main cathedral on the square was also impressive, exceptionally large, a tribute to the importance of the Catholic faith in Peru.

After meeting our local guide for a briefing on the next stops on our trip, the adults went for an excellent meal (particularly Alison's baked asparagus...) in a more modern Peruvian fusion restaurant. The boys went with Julio to shoot pool and generally have a break from us.
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