A very long bus journey to the ‘White City’

Dry and arid mountains
Dry and arid mountains

Friday was a nightmare of a day. I had booked a bus to Arequipa that was supposed to leave at 11am and was going to take 12 hours. I wasn’t looking forward to it. Luis’s brother dropped me off at the Cruz del Sur terminal in plenty of time, where I waited and waited and waited. The bus from Lima finally appeared and we left at about 12.30pm.

Green valley floors and arid mountains
Green valley floors and arid mountains

It was relatively empty as far as Nazca where it filled up completely. There was a very grizzly baby in front of me and I felt sorry for the mother, who tried to keep it as quiet as possible. The journey took us through yet more arid land although we did have a view of some very dry mountains and fertile valleys for a while. The day dragged on. We were served lunch offerings and later a snack, neither of which were highly desirable. I had requested a vegetarian meal in the hope that I might get something green. I should have known better, for what I was presented with was, suprise, surprise, beans and rice!

I dozed for a while once it got dark. When we eventually arrived, it was 1.15am. I might as well have caught a night bus. Luckily, a lady at the terminal advised me on which taxi to take as I had been quite nervous about this part of the trip. The taxi driver was very helpful and waited until the night receptionist opened the door of the hotel. After that, it was check in and straight to bed, with many feelings of relief at arriving.

Tradition mixed with the 21st Century
Tradition mixed with the 21st Century
Local dress resembling a lamp shade!
Local dress resembling a lamp shade!

The next morning, I had breakfast and wandered into town. Arequipa is built from silla rock, which is derived from volcanic eruptions and is quite white and pale. It is a very attractive city and is dominated by the 3 volcanoes surrounding it. The weather was beautiful with lovely clear blue skies. As I was walking towards the Plaza de Armas, a lot of local people, dressed in their costumes, were heading towards me. This seemed to be some sort of occasion so I followed them back down the street. However, whatever it was had already happened and they just seemed to be going home.

Local dress
Local dress
Plaza de Armas in Arequipa
Plaza de Armas in Arequipa
View from my lunch time cafe
View from my lunch time cafe

The traffic was almost gridlocked, which the police traffic directors did little to alleviate. It was completely the opposite to when I arrived last night when the streets were totally deserted.

I walked around the Plaza de Armas and then went to find a trekking company I had read about to ask about Colca Canyon trips. I ended up booking one beginning on Tuesday and then walked back towards the Plaza looking for somewhere for lunch. This I found in a cafe, overlooking the square and, surprisingly, at a very cheap price. There were many places selling tourist menus at tourist prices, which I didn’t want to pay.

Afterwards, I had intended to go on a walking tour. However, my stomach decided otherwise and staged a rebellion, so I spent the rest of the day in my room, next to the bathroom, apart from a sortie to Plaza Vea for some supplies.

Volcanoes next to Arequipa
Volcanoes next to Arequipa

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