Sunday we went to see some mummies in the desert near Nasca. These mummies were from various different indiginous cultures in the area including the Nazcans and the Icas (not Inca… this is all pre-Incan stuff). Very cool stuff but unfortunately the whole valley that is full of these burrial tombs have suffered from dramatic graverobbings whereby the mummies are destroyed and pulverized in order to steal the fine textile clothing they wore… the nazcans were very good at weaving fine textiles. Its also interesting and spooky to see that they practiced deformation of skulls into oblong shapes. After the cementary tour, we also saw how the local prospectors in the region mine for gold and refine the metals using the same techniques as those during the times of the Spanish conquistadors, as well as a replication of how the nazcans created their pottery. We left Nazca around 5 p.m. on a night bus (there was no way we were going to actually sit on a day bus watching more desert go by for 8 more hours) to Arequipa along with Leah O’leary, an irish girl we met at the hotel in Nazca. We were supposed to get into Arequipa around 1:00 a.m.or so but we didnt get there till 4:30 for some reason??? and didnt get into a hotel room until 5:45 or so after driving around town searching. The problem was that it was Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Arequipa is apparently a pretty hot spot for the Easter celebration. We were planning to meet up with another friend from the hotel in Nazca, Eran – an isralie solo traveler, who had left for Arequipa the day before. It turns out we wound up at the same hotel as he, just by random chance and today we all worked out the details for a 3 day trek into Colca Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA.
Arequipa has a very pretty central plaza known in most South American towns as the Plaza de Armas… kind of like the Plaza Mayor in Spanish cities, or the Town Square in US towns. Here is a very large picture of the Plaza De Armas in Arequipa.