On the strong recommendation of a friend, I added Arequipa to my Peruvian itinerary. I was told the second largest city in Peru was lovely, surrounded by volcanos and full of heritage buildings built from sillar, an eery volcanic white stone that has a moon-like quality to it. Sold.
Except that as I disembarked from my outstanding bus ride with Cruz El Sur, none of these things could be seen because it was pouring rain. The rain was falling so hard that the volcanos were hidden from view and the lunar rock buildings just looked grey, dirty and wet.
So what do you do with two days in Arequipa when it is bucketing rain outside?
1) Do laundry. I have no explanation but whenever it is raining, suddenly I feel an overwhelming need to do my laundry. I am not sure if this is because my clothing gets dirty more quickly or if it is because I have the time to think about it.
2) Eat. I had amazing crepes at the local Alliance Francaise cafe. I tried the Indian curry chicken, the Caprese salad and lemon and sugar for dessert.
3) Shop. Arequipa is stocked with great markets and much lower prices than the more popular tourist destinations like Cusco and Lima.
4) Walk outside anyway. You’re already washing your clothes. Add them to the load if they get muddy.