There are moments in my life when I wonder how wise we are travelling with small children, and times when I am grateful for how well behaved they often are! We have just returned from the beautiful city of Arequipa, and took the overnight bus to get there. After our flight to Peru, when Daniel finally fell asleep at 3 am UK time, we have very low expectations about travelling with children, but they were both brilliant, apart from Sophia waking up at 6am on the way home and saying 'poo park', and laughing hilariously at her wit and comedic genius. She has also learnt to sleep anywhere, in true missionary kid style; here she is wiped out at the bus station in Arequipa.
Anyway, travelling aside, we had a wonderful time away. As well as seeing Arequipa, we got to spend lots of time with James and Julia, who are currently in language school. We had an action packed few days, involving an open top bus tour, drinks on a roof top terrace (one of Daniel's favourite parts) and wonderful views of the city. We even ate a local delicacy 'queso helado', literally translated as cheese icecream. It is delicious although sadly doesn't contain cheese.
We also had an opportunity to take the children to a wonderful sports club, where they could swim in a heated pool. We don't get many opportunities to swim in Cusco, especially as the public pool hasn't been open for a few months. They were both excited to swim, especially Sophia who got in the water and giggled for about 10 minutes!
Arequipa also has malls! Back in the UK, we really weren't great fans of shopping, and I am genuinely surprised how nice it was to visit these places. Maybe it is just a reminder of home (and for us to eat Pizza Hut pizza). The children got to choose a toy for doing well with the potty (Sophia) and doing well at school (Daniel) and I stocked up on gifts for friends. As well, we got to go the cinema and watched the Lion King in 3D (and Spanish). It was Sophia's first time at the cinema, although she didn't last the whole film. Here are Daniel, Sophia and Neil enjoying a meal at the mall.
Sadly I had to watch them eat. My stomach has strengthened in recent months, but couldn't handle the joys of Arequipa (or cheese icecream). Such are the realities of life in another country and it helps me with my missionary diet (soon to be patented)... as I faced the prospect of a 10 hour trip on a bus, my very good friends armed me with gifts of Imodium, mint tea and toilet roll. They know what a girl wants!
And so it was time for another bus trip. Travelling overnight with the kids may sound like a nightmare, but as the sun rose over the Andean mountains the folowing morning, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to look at the beautiful scenery with Daniel, and listen as he commented on the beauty surrounding him. What an opportunity for a 4 year old. Sadly, Sophia was too busy laughing at her own jokes to notice.