I returned to San Pedro de Atacama after my wondrous adventure in Bolivia. I stayed there another few days, after which, took a night bus to Arica, Chile. I then took a taxi from the bus station to the hostel and, though it was an early arrival, they let me in and showed me to my room…. then went back to bed. “You can pay later!” A very relaxed atmosphere, to say the least.
A view from the upstairs balcony. I had the entire hostel to myself! I’d booked the room online but there was an apparent mix up with the booking service. The hostel was actually closed for repairs, plus the owner was going on a brief vacation. Oscar, who was watching the place while the owner was gone, was super nice. He made sure I had a good breakfast and we sat and chatted every morning before he went off to his job for the day.
The rooms had writings all over the walls. It was fun reading it. There were funny sayings, religious quotes, hippie writings, lots of stuff. Yes, of course, I added one! One of my favorites:
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it, too?”
~ Douglas Adams ~
Did I mention that Arica is at the Pacific Ocean?!!
Oh, my god, it was great. It seems like ages since I’ve been there.
It felt like home.
I stayed a few days, then off to Peru. The border crossing between Chile and Peru is…. interesting. Buses don’t cross this border. You have to take a cab. So, from Arica, I took a shared cab to the Peruvian border. Went through customs. Then got back into the cab to go to the Tacna, Peru bus station…. where I had a godawful 9 hour wait. I could have taken a later taxi but, basically, didn’t do my research. Totally my own fault. There’s a two hour time difference between Chile and Peru, too. Chile observes Daylight Savings Time and Peru doesn’t. So that added two hours to my wait. I like getting to the bus station or airport early so I don’t miss my ride, but not that early! Ah, well – lesson learned. There wasn’t much (or anything) to do near the bus station and I didn’t want to spend money unnecessarily, so I just stayed there. But I was getting hungry and found a place with a simple vegetarian meal. I seem to be drifting back toward vegetarianism.
Lentils, rice and a salad.
The bus finally left at 10:30p.m. and arrived super early in Arequipa, Peru.
Again, I took a cab from the bus station to the hostel. They let me in, but I had to wait in the lobby before being shown to my room since it was so early. But at least I had internet, so I just waited.
A few shots in and around the hostel. I love the way someone used the light fixture and a sort of plug in the wall to create art.
From the rooftop you can see Misti Volcano….
….is anyone else humming a certain Led Zeppelin song right now? Check out the little dog at the bottom right!
Artwork on an iron piling looking out toward the Andes.
I have two gripes – both about cars – and I want to get them out of the way. I hate to say it, but what I had assumed upon arrival to Arequipa must have been dust storms is more than likely smog. There is very little, if any, pollution regulation on cars and buses here. They spew out the most noxious smelling gunk into the air. My hostel room’s window is right next to a busy street and the fumes that come in are nauseating. I surely do hope they get a handle on it soon. It’s pretty bad.
Also, I read once someone said that in California, the pedestrian is king. Not so in Arequipa. The taxi is king and there are bazillions of them. They seem to grudgingly let you cross the street as they inch up on you every step of the way. Okay, gripes done.
My first day out, I found the Main Square. Kinda hard to miss – it’s huge. It’s nice that it’s used by the locals. I can understand how, in a tourist town (which this definitely is), locals would want to avoid the touristy areas. But no, this is their square and they’re going to use it, gosh darn it!
I simply couldn’t get the whole thing in one shot. The arched corridors surround the square on three sides with the church on the other side.
Again, couldn’t get the whole thing in the shot. But I got some pretty parts!
Below is a photo of a photo I saw along a street leading away from the square. You’ll see the tower of the church in it. It’s a photo of the street I was actually on, only in 1936.
I found a small church around the corner which was open to the public.
Here’s my first sight inside!
This fountain is made of alabaster. I don’t know if you can see it in this picture, but it was slightly translucent.
End of the day.
Actually, this was probably the end of day 3 or 4. The first couple days I had a horrid headache and laid in bed most of the day. I’m guessing it was the altitude change. It’s funny, though. When I was in Bolivia, I’d been at around 4,250 m / 14,000 ft and didn’t get altitude sickness. It was a bit harder to breathe, but manageable. I think it’s just that I went from sea level to 2,335 m / 7,660 ft overnight. Anyway, nice sunset, huh?
Two of my favorite places – fruit and fabric.
El Monasterio de Santa Catalina, founded in 1579, is right around the corner from my hostel. I am so glad I went there. You can take a tour and find out much of the history. There’s, of course, much merit to that notion. But I’d rather just wander. Quietly.
I’ll admit right now, I got carried away with photographing this place. Everywhere I looked it was so pretty. I’ll try to keep some semblance of order, but it might get a little random. You’re about to be inundated.
There were galleries of religious artworks. I’m conflicted by these works. I am not religious and the depictions, honestly, made me sad. While the art with all its gold leafing and luxurious framing is beautiful, I’m reminded of the church’s history and of the history of many of the world’s religions. I’m sure not all the history of religion has been bad, but when I walk just outside the monastery and see old, very old, people begging in the street, I have to think something’s wrong with this picture. I will say, there have been beautiful churches and cathedrals built, beautiful music created because of religion. Ay, there’s the conflict. I did photograph certain parts of paintings because, indeed, they are beautiful. And I thought I could use these images as inspiration for future artworks of my own.
Cocinas. There were kitchens in nearly every building I entered. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it – this place is huge. I kept thinking I’d surely be coming to the end of the monastery and I’d have to leave, but it just went on and on.
I mentioned more ceramics. I did my best to photograph these, but the lighting wasn’t great and all of them were behind glass and theatre roping so I had to stretch over the rope as far as I could to get the pictures! So, for my fellow ceramic lovers….
Then, of course, there are my favorites – doors.
This next one is my favorite. I’ve made it my computer wallpaper!
You’re allowed to climb the steep steps up to a platform near the dome. Inside is the actual church for parishioners. From there I saw these two sights over the city.
So, that’s it for el Monasterio de Santa Catalina….finally! Did I not tell you you’d be inundated?!
As for Arequipa, there’s one more thing I’d like to tell you. If you’re ever here, there’s a restaurant called Burguer Chulls at Calle Puente Grau 306. I’ve gone the last two afternoons and will go again (before I leave) for the quinoa ‘burger’ with rice patty ‘buns!’ When I first went in, I asked for just the quinoa patty and fixings with no bun. I don’t need or want all that bread. They suggested I try it with the rice patty instead and I figured why not? Oh, my god, it’s delicious!
You can’t eat it like a regular burger because the rice patty is fragile, so you cut into it…. and you’ll be happy you did.
Absolutely delicious. I wish I could bring a year’s supply home with me! So, if you’re ever in Arequipa, stop at Chull’s.
And finally, just in case you’re curious, here’s the picture I took in England.
Kinda similar, huh?