Acquired tastes in Arequipa…

Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and is known as the ‘White City’ on account of it being built with ‘silla’ or white volcanic rock. It sits on the Peruvian altiplano at 3,500m above sea level and is truly beautiful. Its main square is a breathtaking sight, especially in the evening when complementary lighting shows it at its best. After a relatively relaxing drive, we checked into our hostel and headed out for dinner to a restaurant that had been recommended to one of the group. It had an amazing view overlooking the square and the ponchos we were handed upon entering soon had us feeling cosy. This feeling started to dissipate, however, when two of us decided to share a meal of guinea pig and alpaca. It probably didn’t help that we were sat next to a committed vegetarian.  Sorry, not sorry. The guinea pig was served whole and the appearance didn’t really help make it appealing and to be honest, I wouldn’t order it again. If you like eating the skin of a roasted chicken, then you’d like the skin of these rodents, but there was little else to get excited about. The alpaca steak on the other hand was delicious and much needed to be honest.

The following day was free so a few of us decided to go to a museum to see the ‘Ice Maiden’ Juanita, said to be one of the best preserved mummies in the world. The young teenage girl was sacrificed as an offering to the Inca gods sometime in the 1400s and discovered in 1995 on Mount Ampato. Imagine stumbling across that on a hike!!

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As has been common during my trip, it was a sunny day so a few of us decided to have a couple of afternoon drinks at a pub close to hostel. I don’t know if it  was the copious amounts of coca beer or the euphoria from besting everyone at darts, but I somehow found myself stumbling home at 0130. Definitely not part of the plan! Having forgotten about dinner completely, needless to say I woke up with my first South American hangover; it wasn’t pleasant. Thankfully, my roommate, Ian, is a diamond and when I eventually rolled out of bed at 1000, I saw that he’d collected my laundry from down the road. Like I said, he’s a diamond. Luckily our drive didn’t start until 1200 so I had time to down a Starbucks and some unsatisfying Turkish sandwiches. Arequipa was a bit of a blur but I’d love to come back, even just to correct all of my food choices!

 

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