Monday, December 19, 2011

Puno/Arequipa (Día 4)

Okay, here's Day 4 of the Puno and Arequipa trip!  On this day, we slept in a little bit and when I woke up, I took a much needed long and warm shower.  As we were getting ready to leave the hostel for the day we were asking the owner of the hostel what to do and for any suggestions of his.  We'll we got to talking about our Colca Canyon tour that we had scheduled for the next day and it turns out that we (I) picked a ricidulously priced tour company.  We were going to pay $35 dollars for the tour when in reality we should only be paying around S/.50 ($18.54).  Thank you owner of the hostel!  You saved us $16.46!!  We didn't end up leaving the hostel until around 11:45 a.m., but don't worry we still got a lot done during the day, starting with going to Colonial Tours to get a better Colca Canyon tour scheduled.  After we got that scheduled we went to this place called Mamut for lunch.  It was delicious!  It was a nice little sandwich place and they had really good juices as well.  I had a turkey sandwich and a delicious chicha morada con maracuya (the purple corn drink mixed with passion fruit) to drink.  After that, we took a short trip to the ATM and the supermarket (they had soft serve ice cream for sale that Tonisha and I got).  It was so creamy!  Sorry Tonisha for being a bad ice cream influence.

We then went to the Museo Santuarios Andinos, which is famous for having the ice princess, Juanita.  When we got to the museum, we saved money for the second time that day because there was an awesome student discount.  Advice for future study abroad students:  Bring your student ID everywhere!  You never know when you'll get a discount!  Anyway, we started the tour with a 20-minute video on the finding of Juanita, as well as other mummies that have been found on the mountains/volcanoes of Arequipa.  Juanita was found on Mount Ampato by Johan Reinhard and Miguel Zárate.  She is thought to be in the lower teen years and she was killed as a sacrifice for the Incan gods.  Anyway, the tour was pretty good, but it was cold!  They keep Juanita at a cold temperature to perserve her because that's the climate she was found in.  It's also very dark in the room where she is.  It seems that they keep her very well perserved, but Sheila told me that actually she's already starting to deteriorate, but who knows.  We weren't allowed to take pictures obviously, but here's an internet photo.
Anyway, after the museum, we headed on over to the infamous Monsterio de Santa Catalina.  It's a monastery that was closed to the public for 390 years and then it was open to the public in the year 1970, so now there are many tours that go through there daily.  There are still people living there in solitude and silence, however they are in a new part of the monastery that is obviously not open to the public.  First of all, the place is ginormous!!!  It's literally huge.  I wish I could explain it to you.  There are so many nooks and crannies everywhere and if the workers at the monastery hadn't told us to stay to the left while walking through it, we would've honestly gotten lost in there.
A map of the monastery.  See, it's big!
We saw so many cells and kitchens and the "streets" of the monastery are really pretty.
A cell
Calle Toledo (one of the streets)
At one point on the tour we were allowed to go to the roof and it was an amazing view of Arequipa.  It was probably my favorite part of the tour.  You could see the mountains and Volcán Misti that surround Arequipa.
View from the roof
Next, we started our hunt to look at the local churches since there are hundreds of them (not really hundreds-I don't think).  We started at the Iglesia de la Compañía.  It was pretty just llike all the other ones. :)  The work inside the churches are always so intricate.  There's always a ton of gold work.  I tihnk that the gold work is pretty, but personally I prefer stained glassed window, but I didn't see a lot of those in Arequipa.
The front of the Iglesia de la Compañía
We tried going into the Catedral in the Plaza de Armas, but it's closed on Sundays, which doesn't make any sense to me, but no worries we moved onto the next church, Iglesia San Agustín, but they were in mass, however, we did get to peek in at the inside and then we saw the flood of people leaving because mass ended soon after we arrived.
The people getting out of mass
After all the walking and touring, we were hungry and we wanted to try some Arequipeña food, so we found a restaurant that appeared to be local and indeed it was.  All four of us got a different dish so we could try everything.  I got cauche de queso and the other dishes were rocoto relleno, pastel de papa, and soltero de queso.  To be honest I didliked every dish except for Sheila's pastel de papa.  It pretty much tasted like scalloped potatoes.  Yum!  I also decided that Arequipeñas really like their cheese because every single dish had cheese with it and the cheese ice cream that I tried at Mistura (the food festival) is Arequipeño.  Speaking of ice cream, since we're (I'm) ice cream addicts, we went for ice cream after dinner.  It wasn't the best ice cream however it was still good because I tried a flavor called Selva Negra.  I'm still not sure what it was, but it tasted familiar and it was good.
Pastel de papa
Soltero de queso
Rocoto relleno
Cauche de queso
We then took a trip to the supermarket to get snack/water for the next day on our Colca Canyon tour.  We went back to the hostel and watched the movie Hitch in Spanish and we were in bed by 9:15 p.m. because our tour for Colca was starting the next day at 3 a.m.  Well, that's the end of Day 4.  Stay tuned for Day 5 in Colca Canyon, arguably the world's deepest canyon.

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