Wow.. I was going to start this in spanish again. I guess I’ve started to think more in Spanish, I’m glad I have :) I learn new expressions every day and I feel more fluent now the never… still not totally fluently though, and that after more than 100 days in spanish speaking countries… hm. When will it come?
So I arrived in Arequipa.. it didn’t start so well, the bus was 2 hours late, and then the taxi drivers would only go down to 12 soles for driving me to my hosts place, and my host had told me that it should be around 6 soles. Damn it. I’m to bad negotiating (I look to European…).
I arrived safe though at Kevins place. He showed me the room – and I have a whole own room! Totally luxurious. Then he told me that there were around 6 other people more there too upstairs in the kitchen, from couchsurfing… I was like whaat? Haha. I got up to the kitchen and there they were, 3 Argentinian girls, one Spanish, one american, one Brazilian, me and Kevin. We had a very good hang out, like 9 in the morning on a Saturday. :) We drank some mate and talked for a few hours, got to hungry and went out to town to grab something to eat.
We took the combi downtown, only like 10 minutes, then Kevin showed us around the city and let us try the typical food from Arequipa. First we ate empanadillas and salteños and after that we walked around the city – so beautiful and clean!
We went to the market San Camilo. On our way there was a lady selling something called Tuna, it’s a cactus fruit. And it’s delicious!!! Something between melon and kiwi. So funny. I also tried Jugo de Maca for the first time… good but really filling!
They have sooooooooo much (for me) exotic fruit and vegetables here… I was like drooling. We also had some frozen cheese which is typical arequipeñan, it’s like ice cream…yummyyyy! Haha.
We walked around the historical center, beautiful. It’s declared a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. It has touches of religious, colonial, and republican architecture, which mixes european and native characteristics into a unique style called ”Escuela arequipeña”.
We visited some plazas, and funny thing, we pass by the only place I had been in contact with to take some salsa classes! I think it was meant for me to know where it is so I can go there :)
At night we went around the neighbourhood and bought all the ingredients to make Pisco maracuya sour. Also typical from here, and delicious! We were supposed to go out but we were such a big gang here playing games, talking and dancing.. time flew by and then it was like 5 in the morning.. haha. Most important thing, I learnt the basic steps of bachata! In the beginning I was just laughing, because it feels so funny (youtube it!) but then I really enjoyed it. Kevin is a great great teacher!! He later said that I probably was the best European he has danced with too, woho!
Next day was just chilling. Some went to town but some of us stayed and had just a day off, went to the small shop around the corner to buy some sweets… then I sat by the computer and did all the stuff I needed to do haha. At night all the other surfers left, we were a little bit to many people here, and they were going either to Puno or to Lima.. to bad. We were a really nice group.. called ourselves “el grupo bacán”. :) (bacan is a Peruvian expression, meaning like ”excellent” or ”great”)
Monday I went to the salsa place and took my first salsa class, so much fun!!! It was a private class, cost 35 soles (around 13 USD) quite luxurious I know, but totally worth it. It was so much fun! I’m definitively taking one more later.
In the same plaza where the dance studio is, there’s a vegetarian restaurant too. So I had some lunch there, it’s a vegetarian buffet.. Mmm! And cheap, 7-9 soles depending if you have the soup too or only second course.. I bought take away too to have as dinner tonight :)
Then I walked around the town, had some really good chocolate cake, visited some handicraft markets, (they have BEAUTIFUL things here!!!), then Kevin met me up after his work and showed me around some more, took me to like a hundred (not really..but 10 at least) different small plazas and parts of this town that are a little bit hidden for us who does not know about them.. .
The town is sort of built up as squares, but if you go in through a door in the building, you get to a small plaza inside, or sometimes a whole other neighborhood with streets and houses within those walls.. it’s lovely.
It reminds me of Andalucia in Spain, everything is white. Almost all the houses are built of Sillar, which is a material subtracted from the volcanos around Arequipa. Oh yeah, maybe I haven’t told you yet, but the town is surrounded by volcanoes. From Kevins kitchen you see the Misti Volcano perfectly. It’s really impressive.
I really love this city. I feel so much at home here in Arequipa.. And in Kevins house.. haha. I don’t know if I would like Arequipa THAT much if it wasn’t for him. He is showing me and telling me so much about Arequipa.. you can tell he is proud of being arequipeñan and he loves his city :) By the way, it’s always sunshine here in Arequipa! Always!!!
Next day I went to the monastery of Santa Catalina.. it was quite expensive, 35 soles the entrance. But the Brazilian guy the first day said it was worth it.. so I went there. It’s one of the things “you should see” in this city. The monastery was built around 1570’s by the first spanish religious people.. it’s like a whole city within the monastery, around 20.000 squaremetres big. It’s really cozy and colonial with strong beautiful colours. The streets have Spanish names (Calle Cordoba;) and the houses where the nuns lived are open so you can see how they lived. Interesting, but to me, it reminded me to much about Spain… and I’m in Peru now… so it felt a little bit weird to see typical old Spanish houses… still beautiful though.
After the monastery I went to another vegetarian restaurant, deliciiiiious food… and cheap! The name of the restaurant is called Mandala..MmmmM! Love that there are so many vegetarian restaurants here in Arequipa.
Then Kevin met me up and he showed me some other parts of the city :) He is to sweet!
Oh.. I also met up with German Ramos! My friend Johan Nikula from my fencing group in Stockholm lived here in Arequipa a couple of years ago, and he put me in contact with German, who is from the Colca region and knows some families there. Apparently it costs at least 50 soles to live with a family there… I think it sounds way to expensive!! But since Johan has told me so much about it I will do it for a couple of days. I’m leaving with a tour to see the typical things first, then I’ll stay in Chivay and go to the small villages from there.
Will not miss this ;)
Well.. until next!!