Sent: Wed, 13 April, 2011 9:16:57 PM
Subject: Hola de Arequipa
Hi there everyone
Well so far the trip has been great - 11 of us on the tour , 2 couples, 1 single Englishman, 2 Scots women, 2 English women, 1 Norwegian woman and me. Not a bad group and the guide is good.
The flight was long but not too bad. Lima a big city of about 8 million, the area we stayed 2 nights in is a bit upmarket, extremely clean. A strange fog covers the city in the mornings making it quite eerie. Went on an open bus tour of this area and then to a fabulous museum detailing the various civilisations in Peru and displaying incredible artifacts in very good condition. Helen, Peter and I had a really nice 3 course dinner for about $15. Couldn`t have alcohol because the elections were on Sunday and restaurants are forbidden to serve it for the preceeding 3 days! Imagine that happening at home!
First stop was Nazca where many centuries ago these amazing geometrical lines were placed high in the hills - no-one is sure what the purpose was. The outlines are of monkeys, hummingbirds and other animals. Unfortunately they can really only be seen to advatage from the air and our tour company doesn`t recommend going as 4 planes have crashed - they wont even give details of how to arrange a flight. So we climbed 10 metre stairs to get a fairly poor view of 3 outlines .
The coastline of Peru is mostly desert, lots of it rocky and some sandy a little reminiscent of the Sahara. Sunday night was spent at a "resort" called Punta Inka. It was only a hotel beside some Inca ruins and by a quite nice bay. Had a nice dinner outside by the ocean.
More desert ( strangely beautiful) and beautiful rugged Pacific coastline for much of our 8 hour bus ride to Arequipa, the 2nd largest city in Peru. We all like it very much - Spanish influence, an amazing convent, a couple of impressive buildings, a lovely busy piazza. 3 snow capped mountains in the background. The Peruvians in general are quite short.
Last night and again tonight I ate Alpaca. It is very good. Last night grilled and tonight in a red wine and mushroom sauce. Pat, I also had quinoa, but not nearly as good as yours.
Had a massage today to help with my aches and pains. Very good and only about $20.
Tomorrow we head off to Colca Canyon.
Love to all