Sunday, August 12, 2012

Transfer Day: Great Market and A B&B

One great thing about staying at Aranwa Sacred Valley with a Groupon was that we had included transportation to the airport.  This is important because the airport is a little over 2 hours away from the hotel making for a very expensive transfer if its not included.

Olyantatambo: the largest city in the Sacred Valley

Our driver and guide telling us about the region

beautiful view

these views never got less exciting for us to see

... and another one

We opted to pay our driver extra and leave a little earlier so that we could experience another market.  The market we visited was called (........).  It was by far the best market we had visited to this point.  Many markets we had seen in Cusco and Aguas Calientes were overwhelming in size but underwhelming in product- lots of factory made mass market goods.  Of course, we wanted to bring home something more authentic.

 a little video of the market and my blanket choosing

This is "the one"

This market definitely fit the bill.  While there were still some mass market goods, the shopkeepers were very honest (at least we think they were) about telling us what was handmade vs. what was machine made as well as the materials each item was made from.  We walked away with a beautiful antique tapestry (which I have no idea what we will do with it), a handmade blanket, handmade throw pillow covers and some very soft, yet machine made, alpaca blankets and scarves.  It was fun to bargain with the shopkeepers and it became quite interesting when we ran out of money!

Since we ran out of money so quickly, we had a little more time on our hands than we expected giving us an opportunity to visit Cusco once more.   In Cusco, we hoped to make one last visit to Greens Organic but weren't able to because we were too early.  Instead we were sell outs and went to Starbucks on the Plaza de Armas (which I swore I wouldn't visit earlier in the trip).  Here we had a great view of a celebration/parade/festival (not really sure) which was entertaining to watch.

The parade!

Seriously, the only picture we got of these dancers was this girl fixing her bra...darn.

From here our trip was uneventful until our arrival in Arequipa.

We were greeted at the airport by a friendly driver and taken to our hotel for the evening, a bed and breakfast called Casa Arequipa.  It's a cute little pink mansion on the edge of the downtown area.  We had the balcony room which was very comfy and where we hoped to spend some time people watching.  Unfortunately, there was a very foul smell that kept us indoors instead of on the balcony.

Upon arrival, the woman at the front desk quickly greeted us and offered to make us dinner reservations at a restaurant called ZigZag.  I had done a lot of reading on the plane to determine a place to eat that evening.  While I read great things about ZigZag, I also read it was a little pricey and a little fancy.  We had already decided we wanted to have a low key dinner for 2 reasons: there were many great mid-priced restaurants listed in Lonely Planet AND we didn't want to change clothes for dinner.  So, we thanked her and told her we'd let her know where we'd like to eat for dinner after we settled into our room.

Before we headed out to walk to the Plaza  de Armas (yes there is one in every city), we let the woman know we'd like to eat at Crepisimo, the sister restaurant to ZigZag.  She immediately followed that with, "that restaurant is probably closed since it is Sunday.  I will make you reservations at ZigZag."  Luckily, I had my Lonely Planet book with me and could show her that the restaurant we wanted to go to was actually open on Sunday.  She was a bit disappointed and we could tell that the hotel obviously had a partnership with ZigZag.

Our walk up the the Plaza de Armas was a little spooky- there weren't many people out except for a few street performers, literally they perform on the crosswalks, and most of the businesses were closed and barred since it was Sunday.  Once reaching the Plaza, we discovered that Arequipa does have one of the most beautiful main squares and it was very bustling.
Plaza de Armas shops

LOVED these foutains

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We continued on to dinner a few blocks up at Crepisimo- overall thoughts: great beer selection for Peru, yummy crepes and appetizers, lovely atmosphere, oddly cold and impersonable wait staff...I mean, I wanted to hug her and tell her to perk up.

We ended our night early as we were a bit uncomfortable with our surroundings- several drunks out and about at 7:30pm!  We watched We Bought a Zoo, which I highly recommend, and then attempted to sleep through the very loud car horns, busses, dogs, chickens, and sirens just outside of our door accompanied by a bright orange street light shining directly into our room.    As you can imagine it made for a lovely night's sleep.

our adorable little room

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