Day 33, 34, & 35 – Arequipa, Peru – Cooking, Monestery, and a New Travel Companion
Arequipa was not originally on my travel plans – I´d never read anything about it or bothered to . not sure why not. But Camille, whom I met in Potosi, and spent Christmas with in Sucre, told me there was a gigantic monastery here and I should spend some time. Monastery? Old buildings? I´m in.
I arrived in Arequipa at 4:30am. Seriously? What am I supposed to do at 4:30am? Taxi drives me to a few hostels before somebody finally lets me in – Home Sweet Home – what a fitting name for a hostel, and I would have to agree. I slept the morning as arrival at 4:30am is not conducive to a productive, happy-me day.
After waking, first things first, I handed over my stinky laundry, and read the wall postings of what to do what to do. I saw they offered cooking class. This is exciting. I am the worst cook on this planet with a history of burning pasta and soup turning wonky. So, taking cooking classes is always good for my skill diversification and hopefully rectification of past mistakes. (Doubtful, but I am hopeful). And – I LOVE Peruvian food. Seafood based cuisine? Definitely for me. So I inquire at the front desk – she says, how is 12:30 today for you? Wow, quick service, excellent.
So I hang around until 12:30. Turns out, the niece of the owner went to culinary school and she will be my instructor. She is quite nice and we head off to the market together. I always love markets (minus the meat smells), because there is all these foods and ingredients in them that I could only imagine what they are used for! (and my imagination does not stretch far, aka wonky soup). We start buying and I start handing over money. When I say handing over money, I mean in total I spent 21 Peruvian Soles = $8 Canadian.
Look at the amount of food I bought! Which includes a bag of fresh fish and a bag of assorted seafood!
And we commence. I am already a bad cook – as indicated – but being instructed in Spanish makes it even more fun. When you learn spanish – cooking instructions and directions are not top priority. She would tell me to chop, and dice, and sift….and I stared at her cheerfully with a smile on my face like a child and asked for an example to follow. I am good at following visual instructions – sort of – I only maintain a minimal grasp of how to properly use a knife. It is difficult for me. It is ok to Judge me.
You would figure with my difficulties in the culinary arts I would simply cut my losses – but no – that is not my style – and I do so enjoy to Cook – especially tasting all the foods alone the way and learning how certain foods emphasize the taste and flavours of other foods. Interesting stuff.
Here is my end result:
- Ceviche (raw fish/seafood with lemon juice sauce)
- Papas de huancaina (potatos & egg drenched in a yellow curry sauce)
- Mazamorra Morada (purple corn & apples boiled with flour sifted in to make a jelly)
YUMMMMMMMMMM. I am please and impressed with myself. All fingers remain intact and the food was amazing.
The next day I bee-lined to the Santa Catalina Monastery. A giant colourful monastery from 1580 with many rooms to spend the day exploring. So I did just that. I spent 5 hours inside the monastery. It is huge, but not a labyrinth. I spent my time relaxing in the rooms, taking photos, and enjoying the beautiful colours! They had a cafe inside where I ordered a way to expensive vanilla milkshake and snack – delicious though. Tours came and went, and I just sat on stairs, and in doorways, watching the hustle and bustle within the monastery. I do love religious places. I am not religious – but the architecture is incredible. I like it here.
Since I had one remaining day in Arequipa, I wanted to see the city from above. I opted out of the Colca Canyon even though I heard incredible things because I didnt feel like hiking stairs or anything steep after all the stairs on Isla del Sol and the rollercoaster cities in Bolivia. Not hiking it is fine by me. I enjoyed the city instead.
To see the City, I took a city tour, on one of those uber touristy busses. At $5 CAD for 6 hours – I see no problem with sitting on the top and being snap happy in the sun as the city goes by below me.
I went to apaca world, the lookout at the top of the city. and I ate Cheese icecream. Yes you read that correctly – CHEEEEESE. Why wouldnt it be good? I like ice cream. I like Cheese. Put them together and you have double the deliciousness indeed.
Next up: Cuzco, Peru