November 16, 2012 - The ride from Lima was a novelty. Smooth tarmac, fast highways and no mud or ruts as had been the routine of the last few riding days. We made good time to Nazca, where we spent the night.
Having already seen the Nazca lines once, we passed on that adventure. We did take a quick detour to take a look again at Chuachilla, the dessert burial grounds where in 1996 we saw Inca mummies scattered in the dessert.
The place had been Disney-fied, with mummies propped up in their respective graves, skulls cleaned and hair put back where it once belonged. A far cry from the open pit graves and randomly scattered bones we saw before.
Nevertheless, it still had a certain charm and novelty, but it was a far cry from before.
The ride continued and by nightfall we reached Arequipa, a city I absolutely loved in 1996 and thankfully, not much had changed here. The central square hadn't changed a bit.
We rode around a bit and ended up in the same hostal Regis we stayed in back in 1996. It hadn't changed a bit but they had cleaned up the place a lot. A bargain for $12 per person, two blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
Nighttime photography was the first order of business.
There is no end to the interesting little backstreets.
I spent an entire day shooting inside the Santa Catalina Monastery.
After a few days in Arequipa, we moved to Hostal Pirwa, as our old place was now in the middle of the party district and we got little sleep. Our new hostal was a mini-palace, with a huge room, wood paneled siding and sculpted ceilings. We found it thanks to two Aussies, Linda and Andy, whom we had met in hostal Regis. At one point, we all went to the cathedral and suffered through the guided tour to allow us on the roof and to see some more of the interior.
Some of the hardware in the bell tower was quite impressive.
The tenth or so largest pipe organ in the world.
It's said that the Mayan calendar ends somewhere around December 18, 2012. The sun was certainly a little spooky at times.
Jan left a few days ahead of me to visit Colca Canyon. He returned the next day with an intermittent charging problem that we'll have to tackle before we can move on.