There is a passage in the book Satan Loves You (quick and funny-enough read) – “Nero was already a volatile cocktail of neurochemical reactions.”
I was Nero this past week (first week in the new city!) so before tackling my assignments today I decided to go to one of Arequipa’s popular attractions, Monasterio de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Monastery) alone to try to clear my mind a bit.
It was stunning.
I am not one to write the entire history of a place on a blog (one of my pet peeves on other blogs) but here is a quick background. The monastery was built in 1579 out of sillar, a local volcanic stone and only accepted daughters from wealthy Spanish families. It is often called “city within a city” and rightly so: I couldn’t believe the loud and busy central square was right outside. The monastery only opened to the public in 1970, after almost 400 years of seclusion.
I was glad I went early in the morning – an hour after they opened – because as I was leaving many tourists and tour groups were swarming the place. I was able to wander around and take pictures as I pleased without worrying about matching the pace with a companion or deal with other people in general. The monastery was very tranquil.
They recommended a tour guide but I opted out as 1.) costed extra, 2.) most of the guides were sitting on a bench furiously tapping away on their phones, and 3.) I didn’t want to be alone with just the guide.
I can’t emphasize how beautiful it was. I wished I had my DLSR with me but the iPhone did an awesome job, I can’t believe such a small thing can take high quality photos.
If you ever visit Arequipa, go there. If you are a photographer or an artist you can spend an entire day there.
The blue – you have to see it in person.