We've just spent the past three days in the lovely city of Arequipa, Peru. Arequipa, founded in 1540, is the second largest city in Peru, however, it has somehow managed to retain the welcoming atmosphere usually only found in smaller cities.
Our hostel, La Casa de mi Abuela, is located six blocks north of the Plaza de Armas. The convenient location has allowed us to do a lot of exploring (aka just wandering around). I originally planned for us to visit the Monasterio de Santa Catalina (a beautiful convent built in 1579) and the Museo Santuarios Andinos (home of Juanita the Ice Maiden – a frozen, 13-year-old girl, sacrificed by Inca priests approximately 600 years ago). My plans were cast aside once Madeline and Maya discovered a small entryway, leading to a labyrinth of shopping stalls, just off the main plaza. Since this discovery, the girls have spent hours browsing stall after stall throughout the sillar (a porous, white volcanic stone) passageways. Needless to say, the girls' bargaining skills have drastically improved. Although Madeline's new found skills were squashed outright by an old woman selling pigeon food in the plaza. (Madeline tried to get a deal - three bags of corn for one Sole rather than two bags per Sole. Word of advice – don't try to haggle with an old woman. Madeline quickly walked away with two bags of corn and one less Sole.) Thus I use the word improved rather than perfected. We still have three more weeks though!
Another improvement we've all enjoyed has been the change in comida. The food in Arequipa is great. Even Maya has enjoyed eating here and anyone who knows Maya will understand just what an amazing statement that is! There are tons of little restaurants between our hostel and the main square, and we've enjoyed our fair share of them. Tops so far has been Istanbul – yes, great Turkish food can be had in southern Peru.
The city is getting a bit crowded as it's a long weekend – Peruvian Independence. So, we're taking off early tomorrow morning for the Colca Canyon.
Unrelated specifically to Arequipa, but interesting nonetheless...
Maya saw someone she thought Joel would like to meet in person.
Remember that episode of Leave it to Beaver when Puddin locked herself in the second floor bathroom?