Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Aqui estoy ... sabado y domingo

So, Saturday morning, after our late finish, we got up early to hike back up again. We left a bit before 8 and made it to the lookout at the top around 11, which is actually very good time. It was the hardest hike I've ever done for sure. (Think climbing stairs for three hours on end) The altitude did affect me toward the end as we got higher but overall, it was worth it. At the lookout we listened to the spiels of some other guides leading groups going down the canyon. (We nodded knowingly at the parts about going down and down and down)

We ate lunch in Cabanaconde while waiting for the bus. It was alpaca! It was pretty good. (It doesn't taste like chicken but we decided it is vaguely like pork)

This bus turned out to be the micro of the sierra. Every few minutes on our way through little towns we would stop to pick up or drop off some locals. Many of the women had intricately embroidered and very colorful hats. At the hostal that night we enjoyed showers and pizza and a few hours of sleep before the rest of the group came in. From 4:15 or so I stayed up to talk to them then to see the sunrise and to walk around Arequipa. It's a beautiful city and we got to see some really neat architecture in the main plaza and various churches. We went looking for the museum with the 500-year-old ice mummy but after wandering around several blocks, knocking on several doors, asking a police officer and some equally lost, only-french-speaking tourists, we found it ... closed for election day. (Fun fact: Arequipa must be where french-speaking tourists go because there were an awful lot of them) We did get to go to the Santa Catalina Monastery which was well worth the 35 sol entrance fee. It is known as the city within the city and indeed it was. (More fun facts: it was open despite signs outside given two different reasons why it was closed. And it's called both a monastery and a convent. I thought one was monks and one was nuns. This one apparently houses nuns so I don't know why it's a monastery. Strange.) After the convent we had a delicious lunch and then headed for the airport for home.

You can see all of my pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=348185&id=526235521&l=60642548ee (Fair warning, there's a lot of landscape. Gorgeous landscape, but still a lot of canyon. :) But you should definitely look at the Arequipa part)

Hasta la proxima

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