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Sep 16 Lima to Arequipa

sunny 23 °C
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5:30 AM wake up call but was awake at 4:30 anyway. Another gray day in Lima but it will be sunny in Arequipa, away from the ocean.

Gladys from Condor Tours was back to pick us up at 7:00 for our 10:00 flight. The traffic in Lima is crazy so we had to allow a lot of time. And the airport was CRAZY. Thank heavens for Gladys. She had gone to the airport before picking us up to get our boarding passes and luggage tags...amazing! The airport was packed. She took us to the group desk for check in, avoiding the hordes at the other check-in desks. Then led us up to the security gate. The line was so long we couldn’t see the end! I would have been panicked if I was on my own. But the line went quickly and she gave us all a hug goodbye as we went through the gate. Then on to another huge line to scan our luggage. All that rushing to find out our flight was one hour delayed!! The gates were so full there was hardly a place to sit down. Christine and Dan and I managed to snag a seat in a cafe to escape the madding crowd. And to think we could have slept another hour!

The flight to Arequipa was beautiful, flying over the mountains and seeing the snow-capped Andes in the distance. Arequipa is in a desert, only 4 inches a year. It was warm and sunny when we landed, so different than Lima.

Our guide for the next 3 days is Alvaro. Great English, very personable. The city has a population of 1 million and is in a volcanic crater, surrounded by three volcanic mountains, Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. They have mild tremors every day according to Alvaro. The city is built of white volcanic rock called sillar and so is known as the White City.

With the flight delay, we didn’t get to the hotel until about 2:00 and since the rooms wouldn’t be ready until 3:00, we sat out by the pool and had a drink and a sandwich. Then we got our rooms and Paul and I headed to the centre of town, about a 20 minute walk.

The Plaza de Armas is the square which is flanked by the Cathedral, an amazing sight made of the white sillar. It wasn’t open for an inside view so we headed to the Monasterio de Santa Catalina, which is a town unto it’s own. There are 6 streets, 3 cloisters, a church and 110 rooms which housed 450 people. A third of them were nuns and the rest servants. 20 nuns still live here in an area not open to tourists. The buildings are either a lovely red colour, or Mediterranean blue. Stunning. Each nun’s cell has a small garden. The entire complex was really beautiful.

We walked back to the Cathedral in time to see the lights shining on it. Ran in to Maija, Bonnie, Mary and Dorothy and decided to head back to the hotel for our free Pisco Sour at the bar. Paul had picked up a chicken pastry to have since I wasn’t hungry, and we had an early evening.

Flying to Arequipa:
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Arequipa:
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Monasterio de Santa Catalina:
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Posted by barb3389 16:11 Archived in Peru

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