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Arequipa |

We left Cusco last night which is the base point for the Inca Trail. We headed on a 12 hour bus and arrived in Arequipa today at 5.30am. What a great way to spend Saturday night. To be honest I was wrecked from our busy week on the Inca trail so didn´t mind.

Arequipa is the gateway to two of the deepest canyons in the world and thats why we have come here. This city is surrounded by a volcano and 2 Andean mountain tops . Another really picturesque city and location. It differs from other cities in that it has been hit badly numerous times by volcanic activity and as a result has used this volcanic ´sillar' to build its beautiful Spanish churches and buildings. Its a pearly white volcanic material.Really unusual and porous in appearance!

We have just spent one day here and have headed off to trek for 3 days to the Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world, while visiting some Andean villages and cultures on the way.

Visited a Dominican convent called Santa Catalina Convent which was built in the 1500´s when a rich Spanish widow emmigrated here and wanted to become a nun. She invested all the money in the build of the convent and became the mother superior for 6 years. Its like a city within a city. Huge. Streets are named Calle Savilla, Calle Cordova etc. What a really strict existence. Your status all depended on your dowry at the beginning of your entry into the convent. You could have even had a few slaves with you to cook and clean for you! Others joined at 13 and couldn´t talk to anyone for 1 to 3 years depending on how long it took them to become a Nun from a Novice. Mental..... This was the only way a woman learn how to read because if a daughter could not afford to become a nun she would be working at home and didn´t need an education, so it was believed. There were 450 nuns here at one time with only 30 now, the youngest being 18. Well worth our afternoon visit.

The Peruvian Presidential and Senate elections are on next Sunday. 20 candidates running for president and 2000 for congress. The amount of electoral street events with dancing and pop groups representing the different candidates is unreal. I couldn´t imagine Bertie following in their footsteps. Its compulsory to vote here until the age of 60 so many people out to watch the canvassing!

Locations Visited: Arequipa

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