First stop in Peru: Arequipa; the second largest city in the country. The historic centre is entirely built with white volcanic stone, giving it a particular charm.
It is in a seismic area and the city has survived many earthquakes - the last one being in 2001. So when I got to my hotel room, the first thing I saw was this sign below. I wasn't sure wether to be reassured or scared. It's like when walking around Beirut in 2005 and being surrounded by soldiers - are they here to prevent an attack or here because it is very likely to happen.
On the first morning, there was no more water in our neighborhood - the hotel gave us a bucket of water to shower - it felt just like home in Lebanon!
So after a quick shower, we went into town and walked around the historic centre which is lovely and lively during the day...
(The taxis are rather funny, they all are Daewoo Tico sponsored by local shops)
...and by night
There are many great churches, monasteries and cloisters
We bumped into Jesus dressed as Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean
We also saw the famous Llamas - which are not really friendly
But what is most special about Arequipa is its location in the middle of the Andes. It is 2500 meters above sea level and surrounded by a chain of volcanoes reaching up to 6075 meters high. The closest one to the city is the Misti volcano - 5800m high - you can see it from almost anywhere in Arequipa. It is very impressive.
Overall, Arequipa offers almost everything that I liked during my trip. A beautiful and colonial architecture like Colonia in Uruguay, a breathtaking scenery surrounding the city like San Pedro de Atacma in Chile and great food, friendly service and low prices like in Argentina.