|Back again in the city of Arequipa, where I knew which street to take to get to my hotel, to the various vegetarian restaurants. Before it gets too comfortable, I went to the train station to secure my bus ticket to Cusco!
There was another mission with this. Have previously seen a flyer for the "Hotel Tintin" - and some of you may know that I LOVE Tintin, and would marry him if he were real! So of course, I had to go and see the place. Apparently it was to the south of town, kinda half way between the bus terminal and the city centre, so it worked out well. Only problem was that I only knew roughly the area it was in, and not the actual street. The street vendors and police didn't seem to know neither. Oh dear!
So went on the internet quickly to find out the address, and took another stab locating the hotel the next day. Following carefully my scribble on the map, I found it nestled in a very well maintained and poshy residential area, known as Villacito. It was right by the side of a metal bridge, by the French engineer Eiffel himself. The hotel itself was also in the midst of an extension being constructed.
Wasn't quite sure how to approach Francois, the Belgian owner about my trip. I wasn't there for a room (US$25 a night was slightly out of my budget), but only there to visit to see my beloved Tintin. I was told previously that there were lots of pictures of the reporter, but there was really only a wooden statue of him on show by the main door, and a shelf off Tintin's adventures in Spanish. Standing in the most prominent spot was the expected "Tintin and the Temple of the Sun", where Tintin finds himself in Peru, whilst trying to rescue his good friend Professor Calculas. Spent a very enjoyable hour and a half reading it in Spanish! Wicked!
They thought I was a little strange, but were very welcoming, even offering me some fruits and a free poster! Asked why he named the hotel after Tintin, thinking it had something to do with his Belgian roots, he simply replied, "All hotels need a name!" Ok! He seemed impressed with my passion for Tintin, and asked if I'd read all of his books (all but one, in the Congo), and if I knew all names of the characters. Erm... no... maybe I am not a very good fan afterall!
In just over an hour's time, I will be saying goodbye to Lenny, Hannah, Mark and Arequipa, and brace myself for yet another long ride to Cusco (9-10 hours) - the magnificent Inca city, to check out their clever earthquake design (maybe there will be another tremour?!?!) , and of course the various ruins, including the famous Machu Picchu. Also will see what will become of my Paddington Bear project?? Watch this space!