What a wonderful treat it was to get to celebrate my 40th birthday in this incredible country! I decided to break up the experience into a few different blog posts to spread out the fun.
First, after a quick overnight in Lima, we headed to the gorgeous town of Arequipa. Hilly and quaint, it's architecture made me smile from ear to ear.
Our hotel was the Casa Andina Private Collection; the building began its life in 1794. Beautiful, barrel vaulted ceilings and stone walkways welcomed us. The food was delicious and when we had dinner in the private restaurant it was probably one of the best meals of the trip.
The little shops in this town made me smile. I love seeing the souvenirs and offerings in different areas. It's interesting to me to see what locals feel is important enough to translate to product to sell to travelers.
One day we walked to Mundo Alpaca (Alpaca World!) - a museum/experience center where we got to spend about 20 minutes feeding the sweetest mini-herd of alpaca ever.
We also might have gone to the Michell (yarn shop) store while there, and I might have purchased some alpaca yarn... just a skein or two ;)
Another adventure was the tour of the Monestary de Santa Catalina. Founded in the 16th century, it's really a city within a city. Chuck and I toured the grounds and learned about the nuns... where they slept, how they lived. The property has been restored because of tourism. (The monestary is still active, but the nuns live/practice in an area separate from the toured section.)
One of my favorite stories in the Monastery was about Sister Ana de los Angeles Montegudo (the most famous nun from there) who lived and died in the 1600s. She is known for causing miracles and making predictions. She slept on a bed of nails (in the photo below) and the painting above her bed was done of her after her death (a common practice for nuns in the monastery). Read more about her here.
Little did I know what fun was lurking at the next destination!
...to be continued! :)