May 24, 2009

Three things we love about Arequipa

1. Inca Kola – OK, so it's not Arequipa specific, but Arequipa is the city where we fell in love with this bubbly Peruvian delight. For those of you who have ever experienced the joy of Club Nectar (still available at Chester the Chick in Parkes the last time I checked), it tastes exactly like that, only yellow. We have now ordered it with every meal bar two (once Craig ordered a Coke – and regretted it – and I ordered an orange juice at one point for some much-needed nutritional intake). We always make sure we specify refrigerar (refrigerated), as people in Peru tend to like their soft drinks at room temp – weird, I know.

2. Lomo Saltado – Again, not Arequipa specific, but we are yet to find a Chifa (Asian restaurant) where it's as yummy, massive and cheap as in the one we discovered in Arequipa. For 3.50 soles ($AU1.48) we got a massive pile of of this local dish, which is made up of strips of steak, onions, tomato, frankfurts and french fries – delish! In the four days we were in Arequipa, we ate this six times (washed down with Inca Kola, of course).

3. The architecture – While we're not really architecture buffs, we can still appreciate a pretty building, and Arequipa is bursting with them. The charming square, the stunning churches and the general colonial feel make it, without a doubt, the most beautiful city we have visited in South America. Most days were spent milling about the square, soaking up the sun and watching the proud Arequipans go about their daily lives.