The day is off to a great start - breakfast in bed, compliments of Mirta, who brought food to our room. We ate in bed as we checked email and lounged. The shower in this hotel is to die for and we take full advantage of the nice bathroom!
Our first stop is Museo Santuarios Andinos where Juanita, the Ice Maiden is housed. She was the beautiful young girl (age 12) who was offered to the gods by the Incas - they thought the gods were angry due to the volcanos, rain and lightening.
Juanita traveled to Ampato Volcano accompanied by a great court of very important people of the region. This journey took months as they walked up the mountain to the top, 21,000 feet. After great festivities and rituals, Juanita had to be put to sleep before receiving a precise blow which caused her death. She was buried on the mountain top.
She was discovered in 1995 by anthropologist Dr. Johan Reinhard (I believe an American). It's amazing how well preserved she is and all the artifacts that Johan and his team found. Oh yes, her name really wasn't Juanita, however, she was named after her founder, Johan in spanish is Juan.
Lunch is in an outside cafe, Con Sentidos, in a pedestrian walkway with cheerful tablecloths. So nice not to have the sound of traffic in our ears and dodging the taxis and cars while crossing the street.
The second site of the day is Monasterio de Santa Catalina - Founded in 1580 this citadel occupies an entire block and is a fascinating religious building. There are 3 main cloisters. First, the Novice Cloister marked by a courtyard with a rubber tree. Nuns lived as novices for four years, during which time the families were expected to pay a dowry. At the end of four years they could choose between takin their vows and entering into religious service or they could leave - the latter would most likely bring shame upon the family. Graduated novices passed onto the Orange Cloister (even though the walls are painted blue) named for the orange trees clustered at its center. We saw where the nuns slept, prayed, mourned dead nuns and worked and washed their laundry. What a lovely place, in spite of the hard way of life!
A fantastic dinner at Chicha's (featuring Peru's most famous chef, Gaston Acurio) consisting of the Chicha's salad with fried Yucca ballas and pumpkin risotto. The bread, as usual was fabulous. I haven't had this many carbs since I traveled to France! A bottle of Dona Paula Los Cardos Cabernet Sauvignon. Since Mirta only has 1 glass, I am the recipient of the rest of the bottle! Since it's Saturday night we walked to the main plaza to experience the buzz and the plaza at night.
Another great day!