Sunday, 1 May 2011

Arequipa - The White City

Arequipa is one of the prettiest cities I've ever seen - cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, historical sites, majestic mountains, stunning canyons, friendly locals and 'Zig Zag' the best cuisine in Peru (in my opinion).

We did the 2 day / 1 night Colca Trek. The Colca Canyon is the world's deepest canyon, after the Tsangpo in China. We saw a lot of massive condors - which has the largest wingspan (at 3.2 m or 10.5 ft) of any land bird, according to Wikipedia. They were just magnificent to watch.

As for the trek itself, the scenery was beautiful but the trek was average. We spent the first day walking on a really dusty trail and your face, nostrils, clothes are just covered in shit.

The second day was more fun. We started walking at 5am for 2 and a half hours, it was just a constant uphill of 1,200m. It was a bitch but like our previous tracks, it's very rewarding.

On our way back to Arequipa, we went to the hot springs which was much nicer than the ones in Aguas Calientes, as it's bigger, cleaner and quieter.

The next day, we just strolled around the beautiful city center of Arequipa. The gorgeous white Cathedral was worth a visit and you definitely don't want to miss the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, which is like a city within the city with houses, alleys and gardens inside the stoned walls.

We were going to do the Chachani trek, which is the world's easiest 6,000m trek and we were all psyched up for it all day and night. But in the end, the agency (most expensive in town) wasn't able to provide us with proper equipments (there were holes in the boots, paper thin jacket for the snow, 'ski pants' as thick as my hiking pants etc), so we cancelled and got a refund.

It sucks because we were so ready for it but shit happens. In the end, we treated ourselves to Zig Zag, the best restaurant in Peru! Ostrich carpaccio, excellent trilogy of meat (alpaca, beef and pork) and delicious passion fruit dessert.

Well, we have done everything we wanted to do in Peru, so we are heading off to Bolivia tonight, I have been snooping around peoples facebook photos of Bolivia and they look awesome!!! So I can't wait, although the night bus journey and getting through the Bolivian border will not be fun ;)

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