The Colonial Paradise on the Moon

Trip Start Feb 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 12, 2010

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Flag of Peru  ,
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So here I am again writing my humble blog from an exotic corner of the world. This adventure truly starts in Arequipa (Peru“s second largest City) and a beautiful colonial city that seems to be positioned on the lunar surface. I have been to many places which do seem to resemble the moon. Just last week I flew over Arizona which looked bleak, Broken Hill in remote New South Wales 12 hours from Sydney would be another contender along with Lanzarote and Iceland however this place is just incredible. There is something in the soil that makes it sparkle in the intense sunlight. I saw literally about 5 shrubs on the journey from Lima and these were pathetically weak. However, through irrigation techniques practiced since pre-colombian times one arrives into a verdant valley with a strong agricultural feel. It was see that there is some life after travelling all the way through Peru without seeing much at all. It amazes me why the Spaniards chose this place in the early 16th Century as one of their major colonial centres.

On another note on the journey from Lima. It was actually surprisingly pleasant. I was quite shocked after landing in the capital that it was more prosperous than I had imagined. There were traffic lights, pavements,the roads were free of dirt, there were many private vehicles and on a 3 lane highway 3 lines of traffic travelled at the same speed without problems. This is extremely pleasant compared to Vietnam or even worse India which are just complete free-for-alls. We arrived at the bus station and got on an earlier bus which turned out to be a bit of an upgrade. We checked in our luggage and then got frisked by security before getting onto the bus. After hearing stories from an untactful American at Miami about out of control rides involving chickens sitting in one“s seat it was the complete paradox. The double decker coach (not bus) was air conditioned, had tvs throughout, we had 2 crew members for about 20 of us, we were provided with blankets and calm music was playing in the background as we found our seats. These were wide, comfortable and reclined about 45 degrees. After the departure announcement the hostess told me that I could move to a free couple of seats next to Tito so we could both have room for the night. After leaving Lima and heading south on the Pan-American highway hugging the rugged Pacific coast we had our complementary meals and drinks brought to our seats which included a spicy chicken and rice dish and apple pie thing and my new favourite drink- Inka Cola!
After watching a few films badly dubbed into Spanish we were given a bingo card each and our hostess started shouting down the microphone. "NUMERO UNO, REPITO, NUMERO UNO". This went on for about ten minutes before a large Peruvian Lady shouted "LO TENGO, LO TENGO, BIIIINGO" after which the whole bus errupted with a loud sigh, no one“s as loud as Tito“s who was one number away from winning a free bus ride!

After all this excitement we turned in for the night, the lights were dimmed, the curtains drawn and the blankets, eye shades and pillows donned. After a surprisingly good night of sleep I woke up to find us ascending into the Andes and had my breakfast thrust upon me. We disembarked at about 10am after a pleasant but long 17 hour journey. We collected our luggage and started chatting to a guy from our bus. His name was Wellington and from Rio, he wanted to know where to stay and we told him where we were heading so he paid our taxi fare to the hotel and followed us into reception. We found a very pleasant hotel with a tiled outdoor patio with rooms leading off it. "Not bad for $12" I said to Tito who was already checking out the bathroom.

We got ourselves organised, applied the suncream and headed out for lunch at 12 to a cafe around the corner. We had a nice chat to Wellington who we invited along and it gave us a good opportunity to practice our Spanish as he only spoke Portuguese and Spanish and no English. We chatted away in a pleasant courtyard then headed through the streets of colonial limestone and sandstone houses to a lookout point over the city where we took some photos, looked at some churches and then had a further explore around the city buying souvenirs, postcards and in Wellington“s case some fake DVDs for 70p!!! After popping into another church to see a gospel choir peforming we went back to the hotel for a bit, got showered and recovered and we“re about to go inside the mighty cathedral which had the backdrop of the 20,000ft high Mt Misti. This is a surprisingly pleasant city with clear blue skies, a relaxed and unintimidating feel but also heaps of character. Day 1- A total success (apart from our dirty feet!)
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daypeedee on

Hi Harry Third time I've attempted to post comment but it keeps saying"error on page" So, thanks for great ,informative blog We want to learn about S. America Enjoy and take care! love P&B XX

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