Arequipa (part 1)

Well, we survived the bus ride without any real side effects.  However, it was not fun to arrive in a dark bus station after 1 am and not have a ride waiting for you from the hotel.  Then, the cab driver drove around in circles (and even had to do a 16 [not just 3] point turn after we went down a very narrow street that was blocked by construction at one end), trying to find the nearly invisible little side street that our hotel is on.

We wandered around the city center today, and I fell in love with this city, because of the weather (sunny, low 70's with cool breezes), safety, and cleanliness, not to mention the gorgeous 400-500 year old architecture.


Monasteria de Santa Catalina is a 5 acre walled complex that was founded in 1579 and was actually a convent.  We spent 2 hours here, wandering by ourselves, reading all the plaques we wanted to, and were mesmerized by the ancient architecture.   It was fascinating to see the various "cells" that the nuns lived in, most with room for a cot and an altar, but then connected to a room with a wood fired oven - for baking the breads they were known for.


The courtyards...


and streets between the buildings were beautiful.


The city is ringed by 3 mountains, which are still considered active volcanoes, although the last time one erupted was before the Spaniards.


We'll be seeing (and hopefully getting great shots of) many more mountains in the weeks to come, but because this was our first glimpse, we were excited and I wanted to share that.

Closing with an evening shot of Le Catedral on the town square, we'll bid you adieu for a couple of days, to go trekking with the condors.