How to Peru in 2 weeks – Day #14, April 2019: Arequipa – Plaza del Armas – Basilica Cathedral – Plaza Yanahuara – Convent of Santa Catalina
I was still day dreaming when we arrived in Arequipa, as a piece of my heart was left behind, floating in the foggy morning along the Colca Canyon.
I suddenly noticed the bustle of a big city; many buses, a tumult of people going everywhere, cars, and adds all over the places. It was the industrial area of Arequipa, and the guide told us that this specific area is used mainly by people coming from the highlands, therefore the similar outfits we’ve seen along our 2-days trip.
How to Peru in 2 weeks – Day #8: Getting to Cusco – Iglesia de San Blas – Plaza de Armas – The Cathedral – Templo del Triunfo – The Church of the Holy Family
Happy to get on the van, finally, I was all ready to relax and admire one more time the superb landscape of Sacred Valley where the main road would take us through, from Ollantaytambo (where we had our base for 4 nights) to Cusco.
The cheapest way to get from Ollantaytambo to Cusco was to get one of the many vans that run all day between these cities for a cheap rate of 10 soles. Our luck arrived before we even got to the main plaza; one van stopped and asked us “Cusco?” Before saying “yes” we jumped in the van right away, as a policeman was making signs already to the driver to keep moving.
Shortly after our first relaxing moments I noticed that the van had crossed Urubamba River and started ascending a hill that soon looked more like a mountain. Beautiful views, however both direction and landscape didn’t look right. Hmm, have we gotten on the right bus? Yes, we specifically asked a second time after settled in our seats. Where are they going to? Are they kidnapping us? What is going on?!..
Dragging a foot after the other one is not a problem, if I can only get a grasp of air. My heart is racing like crazy, trying to pump more air. Thin air. I can’t believe how quickly my heart rate went up after not more than 20 stairs. I suddenly realize what our driver told us in his broken English about an hour ago. Chinchero is our highest point of the day, over 3700 metres altitude. Like a miracle, a bench appeared in front of our eyes, but we still have to climb few more stairs. I only have to keep moving, a step at a time: four, three, two, one. I almost collapse on the bench, trying to stabilize my heart rate: breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.. Continue reading →
Second morning in Lima found us asking the street vendors for some change near the Ricardo Palma station in Miraflores, where we had to take the Metropolitan bus to Lima district. Taking another public transportation was out of discussion, as we couldn’t manage to deal with the chaotic system of private (mini)buses. Since this was The Palm Sunday, grabbing a cab was also out of discussion because Arequipa Ave is closed as every other Sunday, which left us to the only rapid and easy solution to take the Metro, a rapid bus that runs from Barranco district up to Lima district in North. Purchasing a card for a ride would double the cost of it, but the need of more change was more of an issue, since we had to have the exact amount of money for the vending machine located at the entrance of the platform. Since no street vendor was willing to spare their change, we decided to ask a local to swipe their prepaid card and let us enter one by one. Offering an extra sol, and using the international sign language, we kindly asked a lady with her son to help us enter the gate while showing her the 6 soles for both of us. Glad we could resolve so easy the issue of getting in, we headed to the front of the bus to have a full view of the route. In about half an hour we arrived in Lima district, not before acknowledging the fact that we would never dare to drive a car in Lima, after watching the drivers’ attitude and recklessness on the streets.
In case someone is wondering if five days were enough to visit these two cities Vienna and Budapest, the answer is not, 5 days is way too little to visit them, but I think it is enough get a glimpse of a great heritage of Austro-Hungarian Empire. You can read here the first part of this post. Today I will continue, and talk a bit about food, Danube River and churches.
Around Huron Lake in 8 days: Manitoulin Island by Chi-Cheemaun; Wikwemikong – Manitowaning
Chi-Cheemaun is not only a ferry. It is the Big Canoe (as it means in Obijwe language) that connects Tobermory in Bruce Peninsula with South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island, but also connects people, stories and spirits.
Falling in love first time is about charm, attraction, fascination, obsession, purity, innocence. But falling in love a second time for the same city, same places, same sky – or maybe different – or just with different eyes but same heart (or same heart but different eyes?) is much more than I can describe in these few words, I probably will never be able to..
“God was the first sculptor. He made the first figure: man.”
Visiting a church after another church gave me the possibility to discover or rather to rediscover the sacral dimension of our humble existence in this world. This was a unique chance one can’t have pretty often in a life.
If the first 2 churches visited in Florence were big, impressive, majestic and representative in their own way for the renascence period, going to The Cathedral, named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore was a real surprise. The simplicity was stunning, the size was incredulous, the richness of the outside decorations had nothing in common with the indoors modesty.
Understanding the beauty is totally different than understanding the beast. Once you have a preconception, it is very hard to remove the inoculated idea from the back of your mind. Most of the time, these preconceptions are born from jealousy, or just simply as a reason of personal denial. One should not have any preconception until one’s own eyes and heart are giving the whole picture to the brain to process the reality. And even then, we still have no guarantee the brain will process correctly the information, but we should hope for better.
Rumors that the canals in Venice are actually stinking came to me from different directions, but my refusal to believe or to think about this drove me to the idea that probably the smell was from some other time, season, or even space. And so it was. I was actually amazed to notice that even though most of the walls at the contact with water were slimy, with more or less green hanging weed, the surroundings were not smelly at all, even with the heavy heat I felt on my head from the sunny, and a little bit too hot Italian Sun. Continue reading →