The next morning in Arequipa, Lewis the Lion awoke in the fabulous Casa de Avila hostel from which he had a superb view of the local cone-shaped volcano, El Misti. He felt right at home there, especially as at the entrance were some friendly lion seats!
After breakfast, he was then introduced to one of his hostel’s long term residents: a forty year old to be precise and someone who was much older than even Helen!
It was a tortoise who seemed to be intrigued by Helen’s trainers.
Lewis thought that it was a really beautiful creature and was surprised how quickly it could move (especially chasing Helen’s trainers) as he’d always thought tortoises were meant to be slow.
After meeting the tortoise, he then went on a little wander into the city centre of Arequipa. What a pleasant surprise met his eyes!
He hadn’t expected it to be so beautiful with its colonial style buildings and general feel of grandness about the place. Like in a lot of cities in South America, it’s main square is called Plaza de Armas and Lewis the Lion noticed many people enjoying the surroundings as well.
There was a central fountain with people selling bird seed and Lewis could see many children feeding and chasing pigeons.
He chuckled to himself as he thought how wonderful it was to see children all over the world enjoying the same thing!
Have you ever chased pigeons? How did it make you feel?
The square on three sides is surrounded by buildings with sheltered arcades and on the fourth side by an enormous cathedral.
It was no wonder really as Arequipa was well-known as a religious centre and indeed had a huge convent which Lewis the Lion will talk about in his next blog.
As it happened, Lewis the Lion was in the city on one of the big Catholic feast days: the feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
What do you know about the Christian Saints, St Peter and St Paul?
He was therefore able to see a packed cathedral with all sorts of dignitaries, a full choir and many priests concelebrating the mass, including the bishop himself.
The whole mass was even being filmed it was so important! Like in so many churches he had already seen in Bolivia and now in Peru, many of the statues have a mix of indigenous qualities, especially in the way that they are decorated.
Back out in la Plaza de Armas, Lewis the Lion noticed the wonderful cone-shaped, dormant volcano, El Misti which loomed 5821 meters majestically above the city.
He would understand a little bit more about its importance to the Inca culture in the coming days, especially when he learned about the story of Juanita. Look out for one of his next blogs on the frozen human sacrifice.
He would also discover how wonderful the nearby countryside was when he visited the Colca Canyon. Again he’ll look forward to telling you all about it in one of his next blogs.