|We arrive into Arequipa at 5.15am. The bus was very comfortable and we managed to get quite a lot of sleep. The whole busload is being dropped at their Hostels or Hotels and we are the last, so we arrive at Casa Consuelo Hotel at 6.15. Unfortunately our room is not available so we sit in the foyer until 7am and then we wander up to the main square to hunt for a place to have breakfast.
As usual there is a man on the footpath trying to get passers by into an upstairs restaurant but we are happy to go as it overlooks the square. An American breakfast with a lovely view PEN25 or A$10. Perfecto!
We have a wander around Arequipa which is known as the 'white city' for two reasons, one is most of the buildings are built of a local white stone and the other is the lighter colour of skin of the Arequipans because of the Spanish influence. The place is just staring to wake up so not much is open. We wander back to our Hotel and after waiting another 3/4 hour our room is ready. Now its shower time and washing time as we have a large bathroom to string up the washing lines. Bentley's laundry is back in business!
We decide to book a free walking tour at 3pm over the internet, but until then we wander up to the square again and have a look around the shops, enjoy lunch at an outdoor cafe with some Peruvian buskers nearby to entertain us. Afterwards we sit in the square and people watch. There are photographers taking photos of family groups and they have a little printer in a carry bag over their shoulder so they can take a shot and print them straight away. No foreigners are having this done only the locals.
At 3pm we meet a quite large group for the tour. Our guide explains the importance of Arequipa as the second largest city in Peru and it is strategically placed between the coast and the jungle at the foot of the mountains. In fact Arequipa is only 15 kms from El Misti volcano and has two others very close by, Pichu Pichu and Chachani. Our guide is very entertaining and we learn about the llamas, vicunas, guanacos and alpaca. He talks of the important festivals and we end up in the old part of Arequipa where the streets are only one lane wide and curve around rather than the grid pattern of the rest of the city.
The tour ends at 5.45 and we head back to our Hotel to get into some warmer clothes as when the sun goes down it does get chilly. We decide to try Zingaro Restaurant and I have alpaca steak with rosemary sauce, vegetables and potatoes. Phil has chicken. Both delicious and a nice restaurant. PEN125 =A$57