We checked into an unusual room in Arequipa. It was right outside the rooftop bar. It was weird to open the door and see a group sharing a drink together.
In Arequipa they have tremors often. Older people would say that a tremor means a change in the weather. But who can say when the weather is changing. This is a volcanic area. Perú is one of the most volcanic countries. Every time that a volcano happens, they will rebuild. We were told that being under an arch is the safest place to be during an earthquake.
Misti is the emblem of Arequipo. There is ash along the sides. Nearby there are hot springs which indicate volcanic activity.
In 1600 when Arequipa was 60 years old a major earthquake occurred. They thought that it was the end of the world. Not only was it an earthquake, but a volcano erupted 100 miles away. The skies grew dark. It affected the sun and photosynthesis. The “cloud” traveled across the world, and there was drought and famine in Russia and Korea. They didn’t know why. In fact, they didn’t even know that the new world existed. The grapes and even mining were affected.
A mountain called Potosí had so much silver that it practically melted off the mountain. Of course, tons and tons were removed from this mountain. They still mine there today, but we will never see anything like that again.
A railroad was built to transfer goods around the mountains. This was huge for commercial enterprises since before they needed to go across the mountains. There were many terrace farms which were critical to food production.
We had a cooking class today and it all started with a trip to the market.
There were many more items, but these were most interesting.
They have bull fighting here, but it is more fun. It is more like Sumo wrestling but for bulls. Two bulls fight to push the other out of a drawn white ring. The bulls are much cared for and weigh 1.5 tons each. It started in Arequipa probably since there is a big local dairy industry.
Santa Catalina Convent
Once one became a nun and entered the cloister, it was not possible to leave.
For 2 to 4 years, a novice learned about becoming a nun. She could only bring 25 items with her. What items would you take?
They had to pay a large sum of money like a dowry to enter the convent. The convent was for the elite and rich.
The nuns were Dominicans. The last earthquake put the convent in ruins. A private company struck a deal with them. Tourism would be allowed with a part of it being set aside with modern conveniences for privacy for the nuns. Prior to the pandemic the nuns numbered, 30 but now there are only 17. Very few that remain are young.
In Peru the first born carried on the business and was given the land which kept it from being divided. The second born was given to God for religious purposes. It was quite a thing of pride for the family.
The family could bring them lovely things and build rooms complete with servants. They brought goods, etc. There were no mirrors as that would promote vanity. The most prized gift was a Jesus child which was a doll dressed elaborately.
After a long day, we are ready to eat. We always ask our guide Kati as she has been a Peru guide for over 15 years. Her recommendations are spot on. Tonight she told us to go to Zig Zag which is excellent and one of the oldest restaurants in Arequipa.
We walked there around 6pm. We needed to eat early since we were leaving at 6 in the morning. The waitress asked if we had a reservation. We did not. She said that we could dine at Zig Zag but we needed to be gone by 7:45 since our table had a reservation. No problem.
We were ushered upstairs with a table overlooking the city in a private room and waiter.