Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Arequipa, Football and the flight of the Condors
WRITTEN BY: Luke Sheepway
Arequipa is a small town in Peru and the group decided for our weekend activity to travel by bus down to the city of beautiful architecture and volcanoes. After everyone was packed and ready to go on Thursday night, we traveled the 10 hour bus ride over night to arrive in Arequipa around 6:30am.
I can honestly say it was definitely not the most comfortable bus ride I’ve ever had, but for around 20 Australian dollars I wasn't in any position to complain, too much.
The city was quiet and sound when we arrived, probably because the sun only just peaked over the horizon. The cab driver was quick to point out that just in front of us was “Misty”, one of many active volcanoes in the region.
After arriving in the city and dropping our bags off at our hostel, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast on the balcony of this restaurant overlooking the main square.
After a walking tour of the city seeing an abundance of churches and old buildings, a few of us decided to indulge in a few of the lighter things in life, for example ham and cheese… pepperoni… supreme… pizza’s. Oh how we’ve been craving a good pizza since we arrived. Dinner was on a rooftop of a close restaurant; an Argentinian style steak went down quite nicely!
A very early start the next morning meant we wouldn't be staying out too late. At 7am our tour guide for the weekend arrived and we were ushered off into a bus. This bus trip would take us out of the city into the desert lands where we’d be blessed with great views of valleys, mountains and volcanoes.
The majestic mountains were our backdrops for the four-hour bus ride, I’ll admit I, along with a few others nodded off from time to time. Arriving in a small town for the night we were all excited at the thought of ‘Hot Springs’, we were definitely not disappointed on the hot part.
The volcanic water dripping off the mountains arriving in pools of relaxation. After the beauty of the first swim we’ve had since we left Australia, we were delighted with the honour of witnessing a traditional Peruvian dance and song whilst enjoying a lovely dinner in a small pizzeria. Some of us even had the chance to prove our alleged dancing abilities when called upon by the two Peruvian dances.
First off was Liv, she did not disappoint as she danced her way around the tables and people eating their meals. Next up was Luke, and although he was a little worse for wear in the dancing part, we were all surprised.
After dinner we were told to be up and awake at 5:30am for breakfast if we were to see the majestic condors flying throughout the valley. You could see the faces of all us drop at the thought of being up before sunrise. However we were up and ready to go without a problem by 6am after all of us had breakfast. We arrived deep into the valley a few hours later where we should be able to get a great view of the mighty and sacred condor.
After about 15 minutes of waiting and watching, a condor appeared out of the mountain below, however you had to be quick to see. Not everyone saw that one but as we all kept watch we eventually started to see more and more and were blessed with an amazing treat as multiple condors flew overhead and put on an aerobatic show, gliding through the air above us.
Then returning to Arequipa with another 5-hour journey this time we all basked in the shadows of moutons and gorges, don’t think we’ve ever felt so small under hundreds of metres of mountains towering over us as we slipped past. Back in Arequipa we enjoyed a beautiful family dinner on the rooftop of a restaurant above the main square as the sun set.
The colours radiating in the sky was truly spectacular, and I personally will never forget the sight of the sun setting over Arequipa. Next morning we arrived safe and tired back in Cusco, ready for some good food and an even better sleep!
Now not many of us follow the beautiful game of football, however Luke and the rest of South America do. So after constant reminders and notices that the UEFA champions league grand final was on Saturday, and the few pleads from Luke to go watch it, we all decided to head into the city and watch the game at our bar of choice, The Nortons. Arriving a few hours early, the pub was already starting to fill up. The game was being played by Barcelona and Juventus, Spain vs Italy.
The group set up on a few tables in good view of the TV’s next to a few passionate Italians. Most of didn't really know who to support, but Luke had a fair idea that Barcelona were the ones to put our money on (figuratively). The game went on and the boys were in their element, screaming in a sea of people, having a few casual drinks on an amazing Cusco day.
The game progressed and the Italians were being quite vocal as they equalised to be tying at 1 a piece. The pub started to erupt
as anticipation grew and when Barcelona took the lead late on in the game, the majority of the pub stood on their feet and cheered for the mighty Spanish giants. Chants began and the thrill of the excitement began to boil. Barcelona scored again to surely seal the fate of the final, 3-1.
The Italians became quiet; the Peruvian people erupted again to sound the end of the game. Hunter and Luke were easily inclined to give a little banter towards our in country partner, Nico, as he was supporting Juventus. All in all, even though most of us don’t follow soccer, or football as it’s called here, we had an amazing time being involved in the excitement and thrill of the Champions league final.