Sunday, January 17, 2010

The new year....

Since the new year began... I have not been in Lima for to long. I have been traveling which has been a great change for I believe all of us. First, we spent time in Arequipa which was relaxing and new for us. Arequipa is a beautiful place with beautiful green land and mountains. We stayed in Centro Arequipa at a hostal called "Amazing Homes". It is a hostal run by a family. The owner, Alex, was very hospitable. He helped us with getting things set for our Colac trip and bus tour. Also suggested an awesome/ cheap restaurant and made us breakfast if we were in.

For the first day, we just walked around Centro to get familiar with the streets. Then, the next day we took the bus tour. There was two ladies who rode on the same cruz del Sur as us. So, we had them to experience Arequipa with. They were really awesome a mother and daughter team. They are from Lima too. We got to see a lot in 4 hours. Went to ' Alpaca del Mundo' which is like a alpaca farm and shop for tourists to see. Then, we went more to the out skirts of Arequipa. We went to a museum, a tour in Sachaca, and the Sandia Molina just to name a few. After t he tour we had lunch with our friends at a Chifa, lol.

The day before Colca (Monday)... we visited two places... Santa Catalina and the Museum with Juanita in it. Santa Catalina is a categral for the sisters. It is almost it's own city. It's pretty huge. At the museum we learned about Juanita. A young girl who was chosen as a sacrfice. Whose body they found and was fortunately still at this museum in Arequipa. The workers said that she gets moved around a lot because a lot of people want to see here. Her body is mummified.

Tuesday - Wednesday: Colca Canyon-- The best and toughest part of the Arequipa trip. We left our hostal at 3:15a and got to the cruz del condor by 9am. Didn't see any Condors. Headed to our starting point which left us with 7 hours of hiking. Half way through we had lunch a city (Lomo saltada and soup). Then ended up at the Oasis where we spent the night. The next morning Alyssa and I got up to start hiking up hill at 4:30am. But, we didn't leave until 5:40am. 1/3 way up one of the mule rides asked me if I would like to ride the mule. I didn't want to slow Alyssa down anymore so I opted for the ride. It was scary and hard because I am the type of person that controls the direction. Plus my mule was a edge walker O_O

After breakfast we went to a hot spring. It felt so good to soak my bites from the night before. They still itch like hell though. My first time in a hot spring. After that we had lunch at a all you can eat spot. It was yummy. Then, it was back to Arequipa. We ended up meeting up with people we met on the hike to go out for a drink. It was a great two days.

Thursday, we decided to relax a bit. Took a walk into town for lunch at Mamut. They make great sandwiches. Friday, we headed back to Lima. Stayed in Lima for the daytime and then headed out at night for Caraz. If you aren't use to that, I suggest comming back the day before.

Got into Caraz on Sunday at 6 am. Had Breakfast with Hno. Mariano and then went to Pueblo Libre which was where we were staying. It wasn't what some were expecting. It was a treat home for more mission retreats. I liked it or was atleast fine with it. Mass was at 11am. It was a nice mass.... Hno. Larry helped out. Then, we had a tour that was set-up by Hno. Filberto. Our Taxi/guide was named Alan. At lunch, 3 got Pachamanca and 2 got Parilla. Pachamanca is a huge plate of: 2 different types of potatoes, meat, chicken, habas, Choclo, and a choclo desert. Usually one plate can feed 2 people. Parilla is just grilled chicken with fries.

Then, Alan took us to a lagoon called llangucho in the mountains. It was a raining and cold. But, the view was miraculous. It was beautiful. Me gusta mucho. There was waterfalls and the walls looked like they had windows cut into them. Using the bathroom was not fun. The water to wash our hands were freexing cold and we had to go out into the freezing cold air right after that. I hope to go back when it is much sunnier.

Then, it was back for our first dinner. Hna. Consuelo was our cook for the retreat and she really took care of us. Her meals we so filling and they were delicious. I loved it. I'm ot much of a meat fan, but if served I will eat and I devoured her lomo saltada. It's the best I have ever had. Her Tallarine rojo was delicious tambien.

For our first, day of retreat we took a walk up to a cross in the mountain. This was the smallest of two that we did. It was a great time of reflection. At the top there was a young girl. At frist she hid from me but after awhile she showed herself. She lived about an 1 1/2 walk from that spot. She ended up being our photographer (it was her first time using a camera). She was sweet. I also gave here some sweets.

The next day we took a hike up Huancaran the bigger mountain from teh bottom you see 2 huge crosses. But, when you get to the top there are three. Consuelo told us that they have mass up there. There are two ways to climb this mountain. By going us the face of it or to get driven to a point at the top adn walking for about an hour. We decided the second.

It was nice to do it as a group. The views were worth it. Especially, the view of the Andes. From the top you can see all teh surrounding places: Caraz, yungay, ongo, wasura.

After the hike, we got back in time for Consuelo to give us lunch which was not really expected. Every morning at 7:30am, we had mass. This was a bit refreshing because it was done in English. I was surprised I still remembered the English being that for the past 5 months I have been doing mass in Spanish. I wander how it will be in a year from now?

It was really good to have Hno. Larry here in Peru. It is always refreshing to have someone from the states. So, this is an invitation to you... Come to Peru and visit. Until next time. Feliz Ano Nuevo!