Our trip to Arequipa introduced us to our first experience of the dreaded night bus. After surviving the 11 hours of winding hair pin bends at breakneck speed (only just) we found ourselves at an altitude of 2,235m above sea level, and we could feel it! Our first exposure to altitude meant that for the first few days we had to take things slow to adjust to the lack of oxygen, altitude sickness was something to take seriously.
Passing the time in our days of acclimatisation we wondered the streets of the white city. Arequipa is famed for the cathedral and idyllic square which gives you an insight into how the city was back in the Spanish colonial time.
We spent an enjoyable afternoon taking in the vibrant markets and the locals who make a business from anything they have. Whether that’s typing a formal letter for you on their typewriter or offering the service to weigh yourself on a set of scales for a small charge, everything is available, giving the streets a unique and quirky feel untouched by time.
You can’t experience Peru without understanding how they make Alpaca wool products, which is what we learnt at Alpaca World and where we got our first encounter with the different species of Llamas and Alpacas, including the infamous ‘Rasta Llama’.
Arequipa introduced us to our first taste of fine dining in Peru, showing us the foody gems available in the country. Our first experience was not disappointing, giving us the chance to try the incredibly tender and succulent alpaca steak in style, followed by the local desert of helado de queso (cheese ice cream)…let’s just say that that one is an acquired taste, I’ll let you be the judge.