Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Arequipa - The White City

After our Colca adventure, we returned to Arequipa in the early evening, just in time for a nice stroll around the city. Arequipa is the second biggest city in Peru, after Lima, and the second most popular city in the country, after Cusco. The city is known as "white city" as it has many buildings that are built of sillar, a white stone.

We were very lucky to catch the city at sunset. The blend of orange, pink and blue in the sky made a beautiful backdrop for this city, and the three volcanoes, El Misti, Chachani and Picchu Pichhu stood majestically, overlooking Arequipa, which is 2,380 meters above sea level.

Our Casa Andina hotel was centrally located, and within a few minutes, we were at Plaza de Armas, the main city square. This square is surrounded by Spanish colonial buildings, a cathedral and shops and restaurants. In the square, the locals were relaxing, chit chatting and munching on snacks while watching the passers by. It was quite a lively scene. We had a light dinner and then headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

The following morning, we set off early to discover the city during the day time. We went to the Monaestario de Santa Catalina, which is a huge monastery that is very beautifully designed with its colorful walls, gardens and interior decoration. Upon reaching the top level, there was a magnificent view of El Misti. After the monastery, we headed off to the Museum of Juanita, the Ice Maiden, and learnt more about Inca traditions and rituals. It was interesting, although I found some practices, such as the human sacrifice, to be quite harsh.

I also saw lots of art galleries and decided to get a small painting for our apartment in Geneva. I got a beautiful drawing of Quechua ladies by a local painter, but I have yet to display it on my wall!

After spending time visiting Arequipa, we had a quick sandwich at a local eatery. We were to take a flight to Puno, in the Lake Titicaca region, in the late afternoon, and hence had to be back at the hotel in time for our transfer. All in all, I had a great time in Arequipa, and eagerly awaited to discover Lake Titicaca. That's coming up next!


Henry said...

Just found your blog online. Great articles and nice videos. Keep posting !!!


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