We went away from the dryness and heat of the coast and found ourselves in Arequipa also called the White City. It’s the second biggest city of Peru after Lima and located in the south surrounded by lots of mountains and vulcanos. At the moment, in summer time, it has a nice climate not getting too hot during the day but also not too cold during the nights. It’s the rainy season however, so be prepared for rainy afternoons.
We came with the nightbus from Ica and had no idea where to go. We tried to get into town with one of the colectivos and thanks to a tourist office at the terrapuerto (bus terminal) we got a map of the city and could kind of orientate us around the main square which by the way is one of the most beautiful squares I know, because you see mountains in the back of the cathedral. Just a few blocks from the square we found a nice place to stay for a few nights.
At night we took a stroll around the inner city and were so surprised by the high standards of the buildings, streets and restaurants. We felt more like walking around in Spain or southern Italy and that was quite a good (and especially safe) feeling for a change and I found it extremely easy to relax after 3 weeks of constantly being super protective about my valuables.
The next morning we tried to take advantage of the sunny weather and explored the shops and buildings around the city. To the joy of Lars there was a street full of guitar shops and he could not resist but grab one and play (and later on buy one). Walking a little bit further outside we came to a little viewpoint called Yanahuara. The view was a little dissappointing but the artistic arches and the church made up for the walk.
We joined a little walking tour and found out that Arequipa was mainly created from the Spanish invaders that found the perfect climate there. You could definitely see this in the architecture of the buildings walking around those little streets. Of course like in every city the further you get out of the centre the worse the buildings and infrastructure. What I found was interesting is that the tour guide told us about how the indigenous people that slowly moved into the city over time lived in peace with the Spanish. That you could see in a lot of churches and buildings that display symbols from the Inkas but also the Spanish culture.
I liked Arequipa a lot, especially for its clean and beautiful streets, unlike Lima, the colonial flair and the fact that it wasn’t that hot all the time. The weather was perfect to acclimatize to the chillier weather on 2.300 meters above sea level but nonetheless warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt until it got cloudy. So we used these days to relax and enjoy the food.
There is definitely a lot of things to do and visit around the city like a huge monastery which could be its own city but we weren’t in for the touristy stuff and decided to take everything as it comes.
Here are some more pictures! :-)