Back in Peru after a speedy and efficient journey north through Chile, we headed to our last 'new' destination of the journey. Our sojourn in Chile felt like sheer comfort and the small taster of the country left me wanting to return - albeit with a slightly healthier bank balance! Even the overnight bus from San Pedro de Atacama to Arica was enjoyable. It was clean, comfortable and they had someone behaving like an air steward, getting everyone blankets and pillows on request. All very civilised.
So, onto this last 'new' destination, Arequipa. Well, this place certainly had much to live up to. We had missed out on a trip there the first time round, instead opting to stop by on our way back to Lima. In that time we had met many people who sang the praises of the city and everyone said what a lovely time they had had there.
There were two things in Arequipa that almost became an addiction - kebabs and cakes. One Turkish restaurant we tried served the best kebabs I've ever had. They could be classed as very fancy sandwiches rather than kebabs and perhaps you'd find something a bit different in Istanbul, but I couldn't eat enough of them. Any weight I'd lost over the previous seven months I think I put back on in two days!
Then there was the cakes. I fear that my healthy appetite for carrot cake, plus my being over thirty and not under, could spell danger up ahead. My metabolism could stall at any moment! One thing is for sure. If you like cake, you're in good company in Peru, and most of South America for that matter. As we sat in a particular cafe enjoying a slice there was a constant stream of people coming in to pick up huge, specially ordered cakes in boxes. And there must have been a dozen cake shops on the same street all doing a good trade.
Being a nun is obviously a tremendous commitment, and visiting a convent brings home just how big that commitment is. The entrance fee permits you to walk into most of the buildings within the grounds and see where the nuns cooked, ate, worked and slept. I won't delve into the merits and faults of religion, but I could not help feeling how much of life was missed by the women who lived there and, no matter how tranquil the surroundings, it seemed very sad.
Country Notes and Tales From Travellers
10 months ago