It’s Thanksgiving weekend and the recent snowfall has melted. I’m sitting in bed here in Michigan, remembering details from my trip with Peru Motors last year.
|Our bikes and back-up vehicle lined up in front of La Gruta the morning of our departure.|
Lars finished up our meeting by helping us sort out who would ride which bike. We were able to chose between Honda Falcon 400’s, Kawasaki KLR 650’s and an old Honda XR650 while one person upgraded to a BMW. After our meeting we took some time to properly outfit our bikes with gadgets and such. I brought along an Airhawk seat cushion and heated jacket for comfort so I hooked up the battery harness and attached the cushion while others secured Go-Pros and rigged up tank bags and secured straps for daypacks.
The remainder of the day was spent exploring Arequipa (pronounced ah-ray-keep-ah). The hotel was walking distance from town so we gathered up our cameras and and walked into town. This city, like many of the others we visited, has a “Plaza de Armas”- a park-like area at the center of town. This one was filled with lush foliage including palm trees, pruned shrubs and specimen trees that surrounded a central fountain. The fountain was bordered by wide walk-ways paved with tiles and lined with park benches.
|The Basillica Cathedra of Arequipa- a cathedral museum.|
It, like many of the buildings in the city were made of sillar, a white stone quarried from volcanoes that surround it. Joe, Lars H. (not our guide, but a fellow rider) and I took a tour of it our first day, the day before everyone else arrived. The cathedral is a museum that showcases stunning artistry inside: larger than life statues of the apostles along the aisles, cavernous domed ceilings, detailed moldings and an ornately carved pulpit. On the wall opposite the altar was an enormous pipe organ that filled the entire wall.
|Inside the Basillica Cathedral|
Before this, I’d never been in a church as old and elaborate. We toured interior rooms showcasing solid gold scepters and crowns accented with precious gems as well as intricately detailed vestments. We also went to the top of the building where we were able to touch and photograph the bell in the main tower. This gave us a birds eye view of the Plaza de Armas (photo above) and the buildings alongside it.
|This building ran alongside La Plaza de Armas and housed many small stores and restaurants. Photo credit: Lars Helgeson|
|Grinning ear to ear while fueling up after our first ride through town.|
Those first fifteen minutes on the bike were exhilarating; they pointed to all the wondrous things to come! Next Sunday, I'll tell you all about that first day of riding...