|Arequipa is a large colonial city in the south of Peru, set under a huge volcano called El Misti. Huge old Spanish influenced buildings and churches with beautiful green plaza's surrounded by the Andes made it one of our favourite cities so far. We got in touch with our friends Anthony and Britt who were in town at the same time and had a good night going out for dinner and drinks. We also met up with Roni again and went to a interesting museum where there is a mummified partially frozen Incan girl who was found on the top of one of the close by mountains.
Her story was quite amazing her body has been there for 500 years since she was sacrificed to the Incan mountain gods. Through scientific research they have discovered a lot of the history of this 'Ice Princess' and how she had walked all the way from Cuzco. At only about 14 years old and along with a couple of high priests she walked for hundreds of kilometres with barely any food, surviving on a fermented corn drink and chewing coca leaves to stop hunger. Finally she reached mount Ampato and had to climb to the peak of over 6000m without proper shoes, an incredible feat even by today's standards with all the equipment available. Once they reached the summit, suffering from altitude and fatigue the ritual that took place ended with taking her life.
She was buried with an range of pottery and gifts to appease the powerful gods. To see this young girl they named 'Juanita' still frozen in ice, kept in a glass box for display really moved both of us. It was very eerie and it felt she watched us as we walked around the room. Although it helped to shed light on a different civilization we both were sad that this girl was taken off the mountain that she gave her life to and it after hearing her story we felt that she belonged on this high peak amongst the gods.