Arequipa, a pretty monastery and crispy guinea pig

The bus trip from Nazca to Arequipa took about nine hours, starting around 11:30 pm. Indeed: we spent the entire night in the bus of Cruz del Sur. Luckily we had reserved VIP seats which were really spacious and comfy. But still, a night in your bed is a better option!

So, we arrived at the bus station, from where we took a taxi to the the room we had rented. Just for one night, since the next day we had to get on the bus again, to Puno. For the room we had to be in Cooperative Gloria, but apparantly the people on the streets didn’t know that place very well, and we were sent to Alto Gloria. After the night on the bus, and having had to make quite a climb to the wrong place, we were almost getting moody over it until a friendly cleaning lady took the trouble to walk with us to the right place. And then we finally arrived in our beautiful spacious room with great bathroom. Very happy with it!

Oliver had seen a place to go to for brunch called Capriccio, where we had very nice granola, yogurt and fruit juice. With our batteries recharged, we started walking towards the city centre. It was nice to be in a big city again with a nice historic centre. After Paracas and Nazca, we really missed that. Once in the centre, we immediately went to visit Santa Catalina Monastery. Such a beautiful place! We had a very interesting guided tour through the monastery, but nothing was as beautiful as the colourful walls, the bright red and blue paint, the clear sky and the plants all around: we found ourselves in a new painting, after every corner we turned.

Having left the monastery, we were hungry. Across the street we found the entrance to a restaurant, that happened to be a Chicha por Gastón Acurio (who is quite a famous chef). It looked a bit fancy and chique, but we decided to sit down (in shorts) anyway being hungry and curious. We opened the menu, and yes, there it was: guinea pig! They had two different dishes with it, so we decided to try both. A nice bottle of Peruvian wine with it, and there we were: ready for the cuy. [the Peruvians call it cuy -pronounced as koei- which almost sounds like the noice they make] Both dishes looked and tasted very well: fried quinea pig with quinoa, brocoli and quail’s egg, and braised guinea pig with black pancakes and a beautiful sweet sauce. Luckily, neither dishes looked like the guinea pig you see elsewhere on the menu. I am sure Mery was very proud of us, not only having eaten cuy, but even liked it! Full of energy again after this stop, we moved on the discover the rest of the centre. We visited a shop where we bought a very nice souvenir for us, and we walked around some other old churches and other building.

We decided we didn’t want to sleep late so we had dinner (again in Capriccio) and then went back to the room. The housekeeper didn’t mind making us an early breakfast and arranging a taxi early the next morning to the bus terminal. So we slept early, had a nice breakfast next morning and indeed there was a taxi that took us to the bus terminal, for our bus to Puno, that would leave around 8 am.

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