Sunday, June 26, 2011

In and Around Arequipa

Today is June 26th and I just cant believe that we have been in Peru for less than a week, so much has happened! After leaving the incredible sand dunes in Ica we caught an over night bus to Arequipa. Just looking out of the bus's windows was amazing. The early morning sun illuminated a stark landscape against a backdrop of snow caped mountains. Through this incredible vista wound a canyon filled with clouds! Later when we arrived at Arequipa I was atounded at the placment of this city with in a bowl rimmed by mountains. The entire city is dominated by the pristine peak of Mt. Misti, standing allone crowned with ice.
 The rest of the day we spent exploring Arequipa which included seeing the grand Plaza de Armas and shopping in for Peruvian goods in local shops. We also hit an interesting reasturant with a great view but food that would come back to haunt us. The following day we went on our first aclimitization trek around the base of Mt. Misti. It was a trip to remember with great views and that, for better or worse, was at high altitude. During the day some people began to feel a little rough (though by now they are much better and ready to tackle the excitment of Cuzco).

Today was an easy day after the challenges of our first hike. We slept in and those of us that felt up to it went on a short hike in the outskirts of Arequipa. After we met as a group and began to prepare and plan for Cuzco. At the end of the day we had a touching ceremony presided over by Olga. All in all Arequipa was a great place.

Pictures can be found at Arequipa

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