We travelled the entire length of Peru in the space of 48hours. Why? Because so much of it is a dump. Why do guide books insist on raving about places that are off the so called ´beaten track´. Their usually off the track because theres nothing to do and their not particularly nice places. After an 8hour bus journey from Loja, Piura was not somewhere we wanted to be, it reminded us of arriving in Delhi back in January, except this place had all of the annoyances and not one ounce of charm. Another, more aged, couple from Scotland/Australia had travelled on our bus and shared our disdain at Piura so we decided to head straight off on another bus to Trujillo seven hours away. Hopefully it would be nicer there. It wasn´t. And by now the aged couple were beginning to annoy us. A particular low point was when the lady had a go at a waitress because their cafe only served pepsi and not coca cola. Please. Our accomodation theme continued, when all else fails you can take respite in ensuite rooms with cable tv.
Our epic journey continued next morning with an 8 hour bus journey to Lima, thankfully we didn´t have high expectations for Lima after hearing plenty of horror stories. The bus journey there was a good one with spectacular scenery where the desert meets the Pacific Ocean. The road south along the Panamerican Highway took us through the desert, past snow capped mountains and perfectly formed sand dunes. After a few disappointments this was an unexpected pleasure, the kind of journey people would pay for just for the scenery. In Lima safely making it to our hotel seemed like an achievement, what a dodgy place. Not wanting to stay there for too long and not being able to face another 15 hours on a cramped bus we booked a flight to Arequipa, an altogether more friendly 1 hour away by plane.
Arequipa is a beautiful city and its restored our faith in Peru. Fantastic architecture and a very friendly demeanour. Ok its very touristy but you can see why, its a really nice place to be and the Plaza de Armas is conducive to just sitting and people watching. We spent a large part of yesterday at the Santa Catalina Convent, almost a small town within a town, a really interesting place with centuries of history. There was almost a little bit less history after Nat sent one of the objects flying but the less said about that the better! The food here is especially good but a little pricey compared to Ecuador. We wanted to visit the Colca Canyon but as we´re both suffering with colds the 2am start for trips wasn´t too appealing. Anyway, tomorrow we´re off to Cusco to meet up with Nick and Cecilia who we met back in Santiago.