The Time We Went to a Monastery Where Nuns Never Leave, and Then Saw Some Condors and Vicuñas…

After our guinea pig lunch, we got our stuff ready and headed to Arequipa (our final destination on our trip).  We went to Arequipa, not knowing too much about it.  Because we’re geniuses, we forgot our guidebook at home in California.  So we got to Arequipa, which is the second largest city in Peru (population-wise) after Lima. We stayed almost entirely in the colonial center which was beautiful. IMG_1753Our hotel, La Hosteria, was adorable.  We decided to splurge on this hotel (a whole $70 per night! haha) since we “roughed it” on the Inca Trail…

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and located right across from the Santa Catalina Monastery, a monastery of nuns of the Dominican Second Order.  Once the nuns entered the monastery, they NEVER left.  It’s hard to fathom, but today there are about 20 nuns still living in the monastery.

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The monastery was beautiful.

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And seeing the aspects of daily life over the centuries was interesting.  After hanging around the monastery for a few hours…

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We made our way to a market for some food.  The good thing about traveling with Jesse is that he loves street food as much as I do.  Peru didn’t have a whole lot of street food, but what they did have was a lot of markets that served awesome prepared meals.  It was all super tasty and cheap, double win!

Jesse was dying to try ceviche the whole trip, but I was worried about sickness so I requested we wait to have it til the end of the trip just in case… raw fish after all… But now it was time to give it a whirl.

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That day we tried ceviche and had some Chicha de Jora (a homemade corn beer).  We spent the rest of the day wandering and asking about how to make our way to the Colca Canyon, which we heard was great.  We booked a last minute day trip to the Colca Canyon to see Condors and Volcanos.

We were picked up at 3am for the 4 hour drive to the Colca Canyon.  The Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!  After driving we stopped at a small town to see a church…

IMG_6725Outside the church there was a woman hanging out with her llama and falcon for people to take pictures with…

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Just another day in Peru…

After that, we made it to the lookout point to see condors.  We waited a LONG time to see Condors.

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We saw a few from far away.  It was less exciting than I would have hoped.  On our way back, we stopped at various lookout points

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There were some amazing views! Also on our way back, we saw lots of wild life…

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Err not wild… But we did see wild Vicuñas! They were too far to photograph (the pics I have are of them looking tiny).  Vicuñas are like smaller, less furry llamas.

When we got back to Arequipa, we cleaned up and went to dinner.  For our one fancy dinner, we went to a restaurant called ZigZag, that everyone told us was amazing.

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I’ll be honest.  After the awesome food we ate at our cooking class, ZigZag was an overpriced let down. Oh well…

For our last day in Peru, we wandered, went to the Cathedral (no photos allowed), visited some museums (and saw a mummy!) and ate in the market again (because that was our favorite).  I tried a Peruvian empanada, a Peruvian tamale (Arequipa style) and Jesse drank two enormous glasses of Chicha.

Finally, to kill a few hours before our flight we had some drinks and potatoes!

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Then we took a flight back to Lima in time to catch our next flight back to Los Angeles.

Overall our trip to Peru was awesome! I was sad to leave.  I wish I could have stayed longer to explore more areas, try more food and meet more people.  I definitely recommend it as a vacation spot for anyone!

Just for a quick recap… I’ll tell you about my favorites…

Highlight of the Trip:  Machu Picchu

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Low Point of the Trip: Day two of the Inca Trail where I got altitude sickness

IMG_1549Lesson Learned: Peruvian sun WILL burn you.  I got massively sun burnt throughout the trip.  By the last day, my face and head was peeling like woah.  Gross.

Best Meal:  This is pretty much impossible for me to answer.  I loved Aji de Gallina

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But pretty  much every meal I ate (except guinea pig) was awesome!

That’s it for the Peru trip recap!  Next I’ll tell you about cookies but before that…

Where should we go on vacation next? What’s the best vacation you’ve taken?  Tell me about it!

Previous Peru Posts:

The Time We Cooked Alpaca and Ate Guinea Pig in Peru

The Time We Hiked Through the Andes to Machu Picchu

Back from Peru

Hello from Peru

Traveling: Planning a Trip to Peru

My blog is a food blog.  I know this, you know this, we all know this, but it’s also a little bit about me.  And you want to know something about me?

I love to travel.

To me, traveling is more than just a set of experiences.  It’s an enormous privilege that I’ve been lucky to have a large part of my life.  Starting with going to Guatemala every summer as a kid, then having my parents tote me around with them on various trips (Brazil, Europe, Caribbean), then learning to go places on my own (like Argentina and India).  Even just since I’ve had this blog, you’ve followed me to:

Mexico:

  • I went to Chiapas for a week to work on a project while in Grad School.  I didn’t tell my parents I was going, because I thought they’d freak out.  That’s one of my biggest regrets.  Not the trip, but the not telling my parents part.

Rome:

  • I went to Rome from January til June of 2011.
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    I worked at a UN Agency and ate too much pasta and Nutella.  There were also a few side trips, like Amalfi
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    Tuscany
    windey road

China:

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Last year I took a 2 week trip to China, and it was pretty awesome.

This time, I’ve got the travel bug again.

Two weeks ago, I bought a plane ticket to Peru.  Last week, I booked a 4-day trip on the Inca Trail.

So this time, instead of just giving you a lighting recap like I did with China.  I’d like to document the trip planning experience for myself to remember and for the world to know.

I think a lot of people have this idea that traveling is too scary, or too expensive, but honestly with some saving strategies, I think anyone can take a fun trip.  I’m not Mr. Money Bags.  If I can take a trip, you probably can too.  It just takes some planning.  So ready for some tips?

Where was your last destination?  Where are you going next?