I’m back! After two and a half weeks of wandering Boliva and Peru, I made it back to Santiago. After some rest, an emergency computer purchase, and some serious laundry doing, I’m ready to write about my trip. It was not always easy, but that’s why its travelling, not a beach holiday. I learned a lot in a short time, and came back overwhelmed by my experiences.
So, the beginning.
We took a 1am flight from Santiago to Arica. It was exhausting, but everything went smooth. At 4am, we found a “collectivo” (basically just a random van) and got dropped off at a sketchy bus stop. We waited two hours, cold and tired, among quite the colorful crowd (families with all their belongings, drunks, backpackers) for the gate to open. At 6am, they finally unlocked the gate and everyone rushed to get put into a taxi for the border. Once we got shoved in a car, they took our passports. This made me nervous, but they were returned, thankfully, and we headed towards the border. At border patrol, we had to wait another hour, in the middle of the desert, for it to open. Once it did, their was lots of yelling in Spanish, lines, getting in and out of cars, but we finally got through the border, confused but fine.
Once we got to the Tacna bus stop, we had to kill 7 hours for the next bus to Arequipa. I’m not really sure how we survived. All I know is I ate a lot of chicken empanadas, and we must have done 20 different word searches. But, after our long, hot, wait and a few Inca colas, we were on our way.
Arequipa was worth the journey. Our hostel (Flying Dog) was lovely and the city was stunning.
My absolute favorite was the Santa Catalina Monastery. It was so colorful, so drenched in history. I loved roaming this small city within the city.
The main plaza:
The market was also interesting. So many different varieties and colors of potatoes. Even some sheep heads, for those so inclined.
Our last day we did a day trip (3am wake up) up to the Cañon de Colca. It was a five-hour, cold car ride, but the views of the mountains were breathtaking and the canyon was gorgeous.
We were lucky to see many, many condors swooping around.
One of my favorite meals of the trip was the restaurant we stopped at for lunch, with a buffet style special.
Featured is a variety of goodies: fried bananas, alpaca, rococo relleno, papas fritas, beets, stews, and vegetable salad. So delicious.
We also had one fancy dinner out at a restaurant called Zig Zag.
I ordered the fish carpaccio and Katie got the quinoa gnocchi with pesto. My my.
We barely made our bus for Cusco in time (there was panic and running and gringa yelling) but then it was a comfortable Cruz del Sur overnight bus for the ten-hour journey.
Stay tuned for my Cusco blog!