Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
40Trip End Ongoing
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We stayed at a guesthouse called La Casa de los Pinguinos, which I'd recommend to anyone travelling through Arequipa except maybe those travelling alone as their isn’t really any opportunity to meet others staying there
We went back to bed for a short while after getting to Arequipa as there was little sleep had on the bus, and then spent the rest of the day at the two main tourist attractions within the city itself. The first was the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, an old convent established in the 16th century and opened up to the public for viewing in 1970. The convent takes up a whole block of the city and is like a city within a city, with streets and everything around the place. The nuns living there seem like a pretty strict order, all of them having taken vows of silence and depriving themselves of food and all sorts of stuff. The convent itself hasn’t changed in parts since its foundation, apart from where earthquakes meant that it had to be rebuilt in places. The most famous nun to have been there was Sister Ana who apparently made a load of predictions about stuff that ended up coming true – it wasn’t explained to us what these predictions were, or how she even made them given the vow of silence and the lack of communication with the outside world, but it was supposed to have been impressive anyway
That night, on the recommendation of our new Dutch friend, we went to a restaurant called Zig Zag in Arequipa. If anyonereading this is ever in Arequipa, go there – it was unreal, so good we went back the next night!
On the Thursday, we went to visit the Colca Canyon. Most people do a hike down here for a couple of days, but we were kind of in a rush to get to Bolivia at this stage and hadn’t heard the best things about the hike, so we decided to do a one day bus tour instead. The downside to this was that we were collected from our hostel before 2.30am for the tour. The tour itself wasn’t great to be honest – it was a five hour journey there and five hours back again, and many of the stops were pretty unimpressive - we saw alpacas, llamas, some decent views, but none of these were that great
We were up early again on the Friday morning and caught a bus from Arequipa to Puno.