Coming from the quiet, idyllic Lake Titicaca, we were not as prepared for Arequipa (Peru's second largest city) and the city hit us like a slap in the face. The gray smog clouds, which are so thick during the day, that it is hard to even see the outlines of the nearby volcano El Misti, are visible from far away: Coming from the mountains by bus, exhaust blew in through the open windows, and the air strongly reminded us of the pollution of Lima. When we were looking in the evening for something to eat, we were overwhelmed by the masses of people everywhere. We discovered, that one must re-learn, how to move through crowded streets, in order not to crash with a passerby every few seconds .
However, once settled in, Arequipa should prove to be very beautiful and characteristic city. One gets the feeling, of of the Spaniards´ presence here, more than elsewhere in Peru, noticing their influence everywhere. The city is full of old colonial buildings, flaunting their morbid charm. In every other front door in which you look reveals a back courtyard, which is tiled with Oriental tiles. And the facades of the houses are painted in bright colors: blue, red, and yellow with prominent white doors – and archways. One sees in Arequipa much more color than in other Peruvian cities, even outside the city center. Peruvian cities tend to be rather based on simple practicality, not of aesthetics. And between Arequipa's colourful colonial buildings are the numerous churches. These stand out, because they are built of white Sillar, which is volcanic rock. The churches and buildings built of this stone have earned Arequipa the name “White City” from the locals. Otherwise Arequipa feels often more like a city in Spain, than one in Peru.
Although we have now spent a long time in Arequipa, I have not yet tired of this city. Coming from a large city myself, although I begin more and more to appreciate the nature and landscape, I must from time to time breathe city air. However with Jason his feeling is rather ambivalent. On the one hand, he enjoys the progress of civilization, such as the Internet, andererseits hält er sich tendenziell bekanntlichermaßen ja lieber in den eher unbesidelten Landstrichen auf. I think, if we left Arequipa tomorrow, he would not be too sad to leave the urban masses, the bustle and noise, and to escape from the city again.