Arequipa (March 21,2008)

Today we woke up fairly early.  The thing with Peru is that the sun is up from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm. So, you wake up in the morning earlier than you would probably normally.  However, the mornings are beautiful.  We met Kevin and Melissa for breakfast at 8:00 am.  We ended up having breakfast on the roof top terrace.  It was really a perfect way to start the day – not a cloud in the sky and surrounded by a perfect cone shapped volcano (El Misti – 5822 m) as well as beautiful mountains (Chachani at 6057 m and Pichu-Pichu at 5669 m). 

After breakfast we went for a walk to the Yanahuara district.  It was a nice walk to get to see a bit of the city.  In this district, there is also a lookout point that allowed us to see an overview of some of the city and the volcanoes and mountains.

For lunch, we stopped at a wonderful restaurant called Sol de Mayo.  It is situated in the Yanahuara district and has an amazing outdoor courtyard where tables were set up.  We arrived at 11:30 and therefore we able to pick any table we wanted.  It was beautiful with flowers, fountain, etc. (coming from so much snow, seeing flowers is very exciting!). We ordered our first Ceviche (raw marinated fish) in Peru as well as a rocoto relleno (hot stuffed pepper).  Both were incredible, especially the Ceviche.  When we were just finishing our meal, a Peruvian band started playing on a stage that was set up in the courtyard.  It was a 3 person band where one person played a guitar, one the drums, and of course, one the pan flute.  It was great music but interesting enough, many different covers of 70´s and 80´s music.  We ended up buying one of their CDs to remember the wonderful meal that we had.

After lunch Kevin went back to the hotel to work on his conference presentation and the other three of us went to visit the Museo Santuarios Andinos (aka the “Frozen Girl” museum).  This museum contains the mummies that were recently discovered on the Ampato volcano.  One of the most famous is Juanita who died between 1440 and 1450 and was found in 1995.  What was amazing about this find is that she was very well preserved with almost all her organs perfectly intact.  It is believe that the Incas would select the girls at birth to be chosen to eventually be sacrificed to the Inca mountain gods.  When the time came, the “chosen one” would embark on a trek from Cusco to Arequipa and up Mount Ampato (6309 m).  At the top, she would be killed and burried in a hole along with other artifacts.  Being chosen was considered a honor bestowed up the girls.  In all 8 mummies have been found. 

After the museum, we went to pick up Kevin and went for a walk around town.  We had a drink on a 3rd floor terrace overlooking the main square.  It was great view where we witnessed a beautiful sunset.  The restaurant even gave us ponchos to wear to keep warm. 

Afterwards, we went out for supper at a restaurant that served chicken cooked in a wood burning oven.  Man, is food ever cheap in this country.  It cost us each $2.25 for the meal.  And it was good to boot!

After supper, we went back to the hotel and played cards.  We went to bed fairly early as we had a early start the next day.

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