One of the suggestions on my list – by someone who is clearly trying to prolong my fun – is to visit places which begin with letters of the alphabet (in order). I guess it will be quite a while before I can officially tick this one off, but I’m kicking it off with Arequipa.
As soon as I arrived in Peru’s second largest city I loved it. I love Plaza de Armas, the main square in front of the cathedral, which is always filled with people no matter what time of day it is. I love the fact that wherever you are you can catch a glimpse of one of the three volcanoes, El Misti (5,822m), Chachani (6,075m) and Pichu Pichu (5,571m), which dominate the skyline (for comparison the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis stands at 1,344m.) I love the friendliness of the people. I love the men who polish shoes in the square and the others who sit with their typewriters, writing letters for people. I could sit and watch them all day.
|My favourite place in Arequipa, Plaza de Armas.|
|Pretty hard to miss Misti.|
|Old School letter writing.|
I also love the food here. As soon as I arrived I was lucky to meet two Canadian foodies Chris and Mark (who I must give a shout out to, as unfortunately by the time they read this they’ll be back at their desks – sorry boys!). In the space of two days the three of us managed to eat our way through some of the most delicious food, usually at the recommendation of the locals. They ranged from rocoto relleno, chillies stuffed with meat (hot!) to chupe de camarones, shrimp soup. Sunday’s special in Arequipa is adobo, pork which is marinated overnight before being cooked with spices in a clay pan and served in a gravy. It may be a world away from Yorkshire puddings but if you don’t get there early they’ll be sold out by lunchtime. I’m starting to get slightly worried about fitting into that bridesmaid’s dress in April!
|And so it begins, with rocoto relleno…|
|Eating my way around Arequipa with Mark and Chris.|
But the thing I love most about Arequipa is the weather. I have finally found somewhere warm, where I don’t have to live in the one hoody I brought with me, and I don’t intend to leave for some time…