This morning we were up early again! The sun rises so early here (5 a.m.), and it gets so bright, it is hard not to be up early. Our room also feels like a sauna, even with the windows open for some breeze. We started out the day taking care of some errands. I found a 24 hour laundry place down the street that would do our bags of laundry for only 15 soles and they could be ready by 7 p.m. Our hotel charges almost the same amount for a single shirt!
Liz was going to be meeting us at the hotel at 11 a.m. to give us a city tour but we had a few hours to kill so we walked down toward the main plaza, looking for a place to book our Colca Canyon trek for Monday. The second place we tried was Colonial Tours, which was recommended by one of my guidebooks. They had a 3 day trekking option available to leave on Monday, which was what we wanted. We had a couple different choices – we could do the easier, more visited side of the canyon or the harder, less visited side, but allegedly more beautiful side. The harder side sounded more scenic and more interesting, so we went with that. Only $8 more than the other option and still only $63 per person! I don’t recall our entire route, but they said we’d be hiking 305 hours each day, all the way down into the canyon and then back out again. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up! It sounds like it will likely be just the two of us.
From there, we walked to the main plaza and saw some parade going on with a lot of military type folks marching around, as well as some schoolkids. I think they use any excuse to have a parade here in Peru! Anyway, we came back to the hotel just before 11 only to find out that Liz wouldn’t be able to meet us after all. Bummer. So we headed out on our own to the Santa Catalina Monastery, one of the major sights to see in Arequipa. It was quite beautiful and very colorful – all the walls were either bright blue or bright orange (one signified private areas and the other public areas, I don’t recall which was which). We spent nearly 2 hours there, plus we stopped in the monastery cafe for some cake and lemonade. Although my guidebook pumped the nuns’ orange cake, it was nowhere to be found on the menu so we settled for chocolate cake and apple pie instead.
After the monastery, we went to the Andean Museum to see the “ice maiden” Juanita – the body of a young Inca girl found completely preserved (frozen) at the top of a nearby volcano. To go in, you have to do a guided tour, which includes a 20 minute video about the discovery of the body. It was pretty interesting but I still started dozing off a little. 🙂 The guide then told us about the sacrificial rituals and the other artifacts found with Juanita’s body.
Most other things in our guidebooks were closed on Sundays, so that was kind of it for the sightseeing. But we did at least see the two major things to see in town. So then we went to this crepe place that was highly recommend (although it seemed to have a different name than either of our books or what Persis and Allan said). We each got an entire “entree” crepe and then we split a dessert crepe of butter, sugar and cinnamon. Yummy!
After that, we walked up to the neighborhood of Yanahuara and its plaza for views over the city and of the El Misti volcano. It was an ok walk, very urban feeling. Not super scenic but interesting to walk through a more residential, gritty part of the city. Back at the hotel, we picked up our laundry, got organized and packed for the Colca Canyon trek. We also ordered room service for dinner. I ordered a “rumbled” chicken sandwich with mayonnaise, which turned out to be a chicken salad sandwich on white bread that appeared to have the crusts cut off. Not exactly what I expected, but it didn’t taste too bad.