The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 20 - The White City

The following takes place on December 17, 2010

Arequipa, called “The White City” because of the major use of a rock called sillar to build many of it’s buildings, is a gem of a city. Nestled next to the stratovolcano El Misti, the city is full of spectacular scenery, friendly people, and architecture that reminds one of colonial Spain.

And I’m starting to sound like a broken record when I say that I love this city.

After a 9 hour overnight bus ride from Nazca, I arrived in Arequipa somewhat refreshed. The night before, Marie and her brother, as well as her friend Juan, took me out for some fresh juice blended drinks before I caught the bus. It was a good sendoff and I will definitely miss the family at the Nasca Trails Hostel. They were an absolute dream.

Now, no matter how comfortable the seats are on Cruz del Sur, it’s still a bit difficult to get a good nights sleep while the bus careens through turns as it goes up and down mountain valleys. Now mind you, I got way more sleep that I would ever get on a Greyhound, so Cruz del Sur is still tops in my books.

Arriving in Arequipa, it was not hard to find a taxi. Shockingly, he charged me exactly what the hostel had said it should cost. This was turning into a good start. It was still only 8:30am, but the reception at the hostel was more than willing to check me in already. Immediately upon setting my stuff down beside my bed I met Vanessa, a girl from Australia who really gave me no choice when she said “Come up to the roof and have some tea with me!”

So we did. It was around this time, climbing the stairs up to the roof, that I started to notice my breathing. I was short of breath, and the stairs weren’t that hard. A quick glance around, seeing the mountains and volcano’s surrounding the city, told me why. We were high. It was my first brush with high altitude.

Plaza de Armas ArequipaAfter some tea, I stole myself away and went down to the Plaza de Armas(most cities in Peru appear to have this). This was an absolute joy to walk through. There were pigeons everywhere, completely tame as I was walking through them and they would just hobble around my feet without flying away. Plaza de Armas Arequipa

Just across the street from the Plaza was what is simply called the Cathedral. A massive sillar building that takes up one entire side of the street. As a side note, sillar is the name for the white volcanic rock that is found in abundance around El Misti. I am not a religious person, but there is always Inside the catedralsomething about these churches and cathedrals that can completely draw your breath away. You walk in and there’s this strange sense

With my breath still a bit laboured, I made my way back in the direction of the hostel, stopping briefly at a tiny little restaurant for a quick lunch. A quick lunch that consisted of a huge bowl of soup, fresh blended pineapple juice, fried chicken with rice and salad. And all for a total of S/.3.50 or about C$1.34.

Yeah, I’m certainly not going to lose weight with food being this cheap in such huge portions.

I spent the rest of the afternoon on the roof of the hostel with Vanessa and her travel partner Becks, from England. We marvelled at the view of El Misti from our roof, and watched the sunset over the mountains to the west. The sunset was one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen, taking only a few minutes. We could literally see the sun moving down behind the mountains. El MistiSunset Arequipa





With dark finally setting in, Vanessa, Becks, myself, and a guy from Poland named Mikese(I think that’s how you spell it), went down to the Plaza for supper overlooking the square before heading out to a Salsa club. Sadly, being Friday, the club was dead as everyone starts partying at 4pm and are gone home drunk by 11. Better luck next time!

Plaza de Armas at night

Oh, and for those interested: The last time El Misti erupted was 1985. The year I was born coincidentally.


  1. Sounds like another wonderful place, Corey. I am loving that Cathedral! I love looking at beautiful architecture! Too bad about the Salsa Club. You could have really gotten your groove on. Talk to you soon.

  2. Oh, this looks amazing! You took some beautiful pictures. You've sold me on Arequipa... they should hire you for publicity or something. Sorry about the salsa club, though! That must have been disappointing. :(