Bariloche

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The only thing I didn’t like about Bariloche was that I was only able to stay one night there.

Bariloche is just over the Andes in Argentina and sits very close by to a volcano which has been erupting on and off for quite some time. You Australians may remember the ash that swept across Australia canceling virtually all the flights in the southern states earlier in the year, well this is the same volcano that caused that. Which means that a lot of the surrounding areas are covered in ash and many of the trees and other plants have died. Bariloche residents were still in the process of cleaning up te last lot if ash when we arrived. It was a beautiful town and the hostel I stayed in (Penthouse 1004) had the most amazing views over the lake.

The view from my dorm room. Not bad eh?

Bariloche is the perfect place to do lots of different outdoor activities such as kayaking and paragliding, but because I was there for such a short amount of time I didn’t really get the chance.

Bariloche is also famous for it’s chocolate and has a number of huge stores around the town where you can buy any kind of chocolate you like by the kilo. So instead of getting into the outdoor activities I got into the chocolate, and boy was it good!

I met a great group of people in the hostel from all around the world and we had a huge cook up before going out partying. It was an absolutely fabulous night, mostly spent dancing, and also provided us with great views from the hostel when we got home at sunrise. Gorgeous!

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Arequipa

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After a 12 hour overnight bus from Cuzco, we arrived in Arequipa – Peru´s second largest city. I really liked the atmosphere of Arequipa and it was really beautiful as well with many of the buildings being built from volcanic stone which gives them a whitewashed appearance.

We had a free day in Arequipa so a group of us decided to do a tour of the Cathedral which is located in the main square or Plaza de Armas. Inside, the building was quite exquisite with high arched ceilings and  a museum that contained gold, silver and jewelled ceremonial pieces previously used during church proceedings. From the top of the cathedral there were views of the whole city and the enormous cone-shaped volcano that overlooks the city (active volcano I might add).

In the afternoon we visited the Monasterio Santa Catalina, a huge monastery that takes up a whole block and is like a city of it´s own with courtyards, winding alleys and room upon room where the nuns used to live. I no longer felt like I was in South America but instead in a small French village – especially with the vibrant colours of the walls and the flower boxes hanging from window sills.

I was really hoping to visit the Museo Sanctuarios Andinos which exhibits ´Juanita, the Ice Princess´a young girl sacrificed by the Incas over 500 years ago, however we ran out of of time.

After we returned from Colca Cañon we stayed in Arequipa again and we ate a restaurant on the balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas which was absolutely beautiful by night and then headed out to a local night club called Deja Vu – very fun! Once again, not looking forward to the flight to Cuzco tomorrow.

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