Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Arequipa Arequipa, Arequipa, Peru, Monday, 21 March 2005 10:22pm

Arequipa has a very Spanish feel. The architecture dates from colonial times and makes extensive use of sillar, a white, porous volcanic stone. The sillar architecture has an odd misture of bulk and soaring curves. The porosity makes it very light, so there are a lot of magnificent arches and domes. Unfortunately, the same property means that the walls made of it have to be very thick to withstand the frequent earthquakes... the one this morning. A long tremor followed by a short one at about 7am. Maybe 3.5 on the Richter scale, if Arequipan buildings move like San Franciscan ones. I wonder if there's something akin to the USGS CA/NV shakemap for this region.

After breakfast, we checked out the Plaza de Armas. It's beautiful. It's reputed to be the prettiest in Peru, and I'd believe it. It has a two-story collonade around three sides and the cathedral on the other. In the middle are lawns and benches and a fountain.

Near the Plaza is a museum specializing in Andean ice mummies. The Incas sacrificed children on the tops of incredibly tall mountains and then buried them there with a variety of ceremonial artifacts. They're very well preserved because of mountaintop ice. It was a fascinating exhibit.

We managed to arrange a countryside tour, which is one of the "conventional" tour packages (as one adventure tour operator called it with a note of disdain). Apparently they're usually done in the morning, though. Happily, the tour agency at La Casa de la Abuela was able to find a guide and a driver on short notice, so we had the tour entirely to ourselves and were visiting the sites apart from the mobs.

Our tour guide, Gina, was full of information about Arequipan history, and we got to check out terraced farming, a restored waterwheel mill, and some alpacas and a vicuna (Dave turns out to be a real llama charmer).

We got back too late to check out the Santa Catalina monastery, but we did happen to see a holy week procession (twice!) as we walked around.

I had llama for dinner, but it had enough garlic on it that I couldn't really taste any difference from beef. Definitely stringy.


Here are the facts you requested Quincy (Anonymously) Wednesday, 23 March 2005 10:56am

It looks like you felt the 6.9 temblor and the 6.4 aftershock that hit Salta, in the north of Argentina. That's on the other side of the Andes.