The white city of Arequipa
Imagine a city in a valley surrounded by volcanoes, where all streets are paved with stones and all buildings are immaculate white, while people are dressed in colorful traditional costumes. This is the beautiful Arequipa, the third largest city in Peru, where there is no Inca sign, but only Spanish colonial buildings all built of sillar, a white stone quarried by the 3 surrounding volcanoes (Misti, Chanchani, PichuPichu). Its center is a UNESCO Human Heritage site and its old ladies wearing traditional colorful costumes, carrying babies and petting alpacas are considered cultural heritage as well.
It’s in Arequipa that we’ve learnt something about the differences between llamas, alpacas, vicunas. We visited Sol Alpaca, a local clothes producer where we were explained that llamas and alpacas have been domesticated by man while vicunas are still wild. Though looking quite the same, llamas are the biggest, with longer necks, looking even quite sexy with their long legs and “podium” walk. Alpacas are fluffier and funnier. We even touched the different types of wool and this helped us understand the big differences in prices: the finest, the most expensive (vicuna or baby alpaca).
And surprise!!! We’ve met Romanians! We haven’t met any since the trip in Vietnam so it made us really excited. We were just walking on the main street when we saw the Romanian flag on a board in front of a restaurant. We looked at the name…”Dobre’s” – Romanian owned, Romanian managed, with Romanian employees, but Italian food. We were a little bit disappointed not to find any “sarmale” or “mici”, but we still had a delicious pizza. It’s good to find conationals and speak your own language!