Days spent: 2 + 1/2
Days recommended: if you happen to be around in the rainy season, I would consider twice whether to stop there at all. Otherwise 2 or 3 days.

Where we slept: Casa de Silar. Set in a typical Arequipa courtyard. Our double room was quite cheap but very shabby and not welcoming. Looked more like a monastery cell. Also, the exposed wires on top of the shower didn’t look too attractive.

What we ate: Germans: you know nothing about potatoes! Especially when your variety is compared to the Peruvian’s! At Hatunpa we tried an all potato based meal, and it was sehr lecker!
We also gave in to some samples of stone cooked pre Incan food, which is said to hold the secret of eternal youth (maybe because of the lack of oil or butter?)
Last but not least CUY, aka guinea pig at quite fancy Lo Zingaro. Yes, I know it’s bad for a small animals vet to eat his own clients, but it was a once in a lifetime experience. Also because I won’t ever do this again since it left me quite unimpressed. In 3 words? Chewy, bony, hyper-fat. The creepiest part was being asked if I wanted the head to be chopped off or not…

What we drank: wine and chicha morada.

How we travelled: by bus from Puno. What was supposed to be one of the most harmless and shortest journey of our South American adventure, turned out to be one of the worse and we actually got this close to not even get to our destination. Long story short, the only way to access to Arequipa is through a almost 5000 metres above sea level foggy and windy mountain pass. The visibility is really close to zero, however the drivers don’t really seem to care and carry on racing through the curves in Gran Turismo style. But shit does happen sometimes. After a sudden bend of the street, our bus came across a broken down car and swiftly steered on the right side to avoid it. Results? The bus went down a steep slope and stopped, by chance, few metres away from a ravine. I was asleep in that moment and thought I was dreaming of falling. Got quickly awakened by the other passengers’ terrified screams. Nobody came to apologise or tell us what had just happened or ask if everything was fine. And nobody questioned it. After few minutes all the locals that were travelling with us got back to whatever they were doing before, as if they were too used to these kind of stuff to be really bothered. Just me and Isa couldn’t move or breathe for the rest of the journey.

Km walked: 16

How Arequipa affected our wallets: food and activities (Colca canyon tour) are not cheap. Public transports are still a bargain.

Issues we encountered: apart from almost dying on a mountain pass and every time we tried to cross the street in Arequipa downtown, I’d say just having to deal with a very depressing weather, aware that Arequipa has the reputation of being one of the sunniest cities on earth! So annoying.
Would we recommend it? Yes, if you’re not tight with time.
Analogue tips: Maybe don’t be as dumb as me and make sure that your camera is loaded properly before starting to shoot. Otherwise maybe pick some higher ISO films and a tripod in order not to miss the indoors details of the monastery and the market.

What to do:

Things we missed: the sun.

Who deserves a big thank you: Steffie and Wilem, for loving food as much as we do, downscaling our bad luck with the weather and gastrointestinal viruses, and telling us how not to be ripped off in Machu Picchu.


Days spent: 3
Days recommended: 3

Where we slept: private double room at Casa Real Hotel . After Arequipa’s shabby room, me and Isa felt like we really deserved somewhere clean and comfy. This place is not hip, nor artsy nor social. However, its almost maniacal cleanliness, silence, tidiness and impeccable breakfasts matched perfectly what we needed in that precise moment.

What we ate: chocolate (loads), chifa (yummy and cheap Chinese and Peruvian fusion), panceta de cerdo nikkei (a fusion peruvian/japanese recipe), tacu-tacu criollo (a mashed beans based traditional dish), causa (a glorious potato based starter, very often served with seafood or shrimps), sopa criolla (beef, aji panca – a Peruvian chili – and angel hair soup), arroz de marisco (rice with seafood) @ the unmissable Morena. This restaurant was so good that we couldn’t help but going back the following day (something that we normally really don’t do).

What we drank: more chicha morada and pisco sour (we did a pisco sour tasting @ Peruk. Doubtlessly 100 times better than the Chilean one. Sorry guys)

How we travelled: by night bus from Arequipa (10 hours). I guess travelling by night, unaware of how dangerous, steep and curvy the streets were, was somehow better. Ignorance is bliss. Got anyway awakened a few times by a sudden steer or a hard braking. Once in town, everything’s at a walkable distance.

Km walked: 26.5

How Cusco affected our wallets: moderately. Cusco is a very touristic city and this reflects on the prices.

Issues we encountered: none. We really had the feeling we could let our guard down for a few days.

Would we recommend it? Of course. Not only Cusco is the perfect base for arranging Machu Picchu and day trips to other mesmerising Inca ruins, but, with its buzzing gastronomic scene and fascinating historical background, it’s also a gem to discover.

Analogue tips: again, a wide angle lens for the sacred valley ruins.

What to do:

Things we missed: some other Incan ruins in the sacred valley.

Who deserves a big thank you: Felix and Anita for making those Cusco days unforgettable. For an irresistible series of hilarious moments, surreal future plans (jointed sphinx cats business, just to mention one) and for stripping down like real friends do. Can’t wait to feast again with you two.

LC-A+, Fuji Velvia 100 / Lomochrome Purple 100-400 (35)
Olympus OM-10, Fuji Velvia 100 (35)
Canon EOS 300, Fuji 200 (35)
Olympus OM-1, Fuji Velvia 50 (35, expired)

23-26-27/01/2017 Puno, Peru

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September 14, 2017

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