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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
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Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

23 June 2011

Arequipa day

21st June 2011

We phoned up the local agent Joel who handled our Peru itinerary and twisted his arm to get us an additional night in Arequipa and to defer our bus back to Chile for another day. Good man, he came through for us and so we had today at leisure instead of jumping on another bus, and tonight’s accommodation for free.

It was a good decision, not just because we were knackered and needed the break, but because Arequipa has one really magical place to visit – the Convent of Santa Catalina. We wandered around here for more than three hours, loving the sharp lines of light and shade on the brightly painted masonry and revelling in the ability to meander at our own pace, to look into the nooks and crannies we wanted to, to stop at the cafe when we felt like it, bliss. Ah, if I could do Peru again…

Anyway, the Convent was so photogenic I think there might be a little gallery in order.

We also had a couple of good eats in Arequipa. For lunch we took the Rough Guide’s strongest recommendation and went to Tradicion Arequipena, a contradiction of a place. It calls itself a “tourist restaurant” and it has all the trappings too; huge and soulless with with menus available in English, loads of traditional Peruvian dishes and waiters that offer unbidden to take your photograph at the table. He even cajoled me into hoisting my roasted guinea pig off the platter as though it were a hunting trophy. And yet we could only see one other couple of gringos in amongst dozens of tables full of Peruvians enjoying their lunch.

This guinea pig was much cheaper and much better than the specimen at the wannabe fine dining Tree House in Aguas Calientes.

For dinner we picked at random a place near the hotel called Crepisimo which… you’ll never guess… specialised in French crepes. Complete contrast to lunch, the food was also delicious but entirely un-Peruvian and the restaurant was small but cosy and contemporary. Maureen had some very French steak tartare and I had a Cafe de Paris crepe which turned out to be filled with bites of steak in a rich cognac sauce. As usual, we helped them down with pisco sours. And again there were only locals dining here.

So, nice day in Arequipa and tomorrow we’re heading back to Chile.

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