Sunday, November 11, 2012

Arequipa - la ciudad blanca (The White City)

On a recent long weekend here, my two friends Christine and Sarah and I all traveled Arequipa, Peru in southern Peru.  Arequipa is nestled in a valley between two volcanoes.  At only 7,000 feet elevation, it was warmer and easier to breathe at such a "low elevation" as compared to Cusco at about 11,000 feet!
First views of Arequipa

As most of you know, can't start my day without a good cup of coffee.  We found this place and it made us laugh, because there are no such coffee shops in Cusco!  However, it was good!
Our first stop was a museum where we learned about the Incan mummies that were discovered on one volcano near Arequipa.  One mummy - Juanita - was on display and quite interesting to see (no photos allowed).
An image of Juanita's hand - over 500 years old and frozen in tact (from Wikipedia)

Cool plant leaf and shadow

Sarah enjoying the courtyard

Courtyard at the museum  - Arequipa is full of amazing courtyards like this - I instantly fell in love!

Also a lot of cool staircases - many leading nowhere!  :D

Interesting architecture - loved the window detail in this building

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa
Christine, Sarah, and I hanging out in Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

Plaza de Armas - Arequipa

The fountain was off and the pigeons were enjoying their perch

An interesting building - reminded me of my time in Croatia a bit...

A lovely pedestrian street

More hidden courtyards

The entrance to Santa Catalina Convent- a beautiful city within the city of Arequipa

The entrance to the 500+ year old convent - it was simply serene and peaceful throughout - even with many other visitors wandering around

The Locutorio, where the nuns were able to communicate and receive things from the outside world.

Love the very worn step entering this area - clearly it was very well used

Beautiful flowers throughout - mostly in the courtyards that were simply breathtaking

An old desk

My idea of the perfect view from my room

Cool drainage system - always a city planner  ;)

One of many courtyards - they got more and more beautiful with each turn!

Part of an old door

Traditional dress - note the Converse - an official part of current traditional costumes

A pumice rock basin used to filter water

Another view - pumic rock basin

Another beautiful door

Oh how I love columns and arches...

Contemplating Christine

Sarah showing off the interesting fruit - Arequpa papaya

Cool shadows in the stone courtyard

Intricate drainage systems - make for fun views

Well-worn, old steps

More drainage

Orange trees - yum!

Textured walls - I often thought to myself "if these walls could talk..."

One of many large oven rooms

A calm bench to take it all in

Another large oven - note the air hole up top (shadow on ground)

Very cool old door

Another oven - this place was a huge maze with every twist and turn bringing new sights

Probably my dream courtyard

Sarah showing how the laundry basins worked - just stop the stream of water and it fills up your tub.  handy!

Very, very large oven - three chimney holes!

Inside the large oven

At a look out point overlooking the city

Another cool plaza - felt like I was in 1960s California with that car!

View of one of the big volcanoes covered in clouds

Beautiful Arequipa

Expressing my love of palm trees - have said that I only want to live where palm trees grow, and yet still not quite there - they don't grow at high elevations!  ;)  But I'm getting closer!

Queso helado - literal translation - cheese ice cream, but i swear it's better than it sounds!  It's quite tasty and a unique treat from Arequipa.
We went to the mall (there isn't one in Cusco) to do some shopping - everything I wanted and tried on fit in the first try - that never happens!

The view from our hostel

Potatoes and rocoto rellena - which is a stuffed pepper - another Arequipa treat - delcious!

Enjoying some down time at a rooftop cafe

The view from our cafe

More amazing flowers

Mmmm apple pie!

Enjoying a sundae

Great trip with great friends - thanks ladies!

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