While Tree finished revamping the ODP site, Sol and I decided to go to the famous Monasterio de Santa Catalina. I’d love to wax poetic about it and tell you everything I learned on my tour, but I’m in the midst of a big writing project myself and have limited time. So, instead, read the information in the below photo to learn a little bit about this gorgeous and enormous convent.
Okay, okay, I’ll write just a few juicy details:
Santa Catalina was founded by a wealthy widow in the late 16th century. During that time, the custom was for the second son or daughter to enter a life of service to the Catholic church, regardless of personal desire. The Santa Catalina convent, however, only accepted girls from the wealthy noblesse, and the girls, who were sent to the nunnery between the ages of 12 and 14, were expected to bring a dowry equivalent of a whopping $150,000 USD in today’s currency.
But the cloistered life of these rich nuns wasn’t quite as ascetic as you’d imagine.
These ladies had their own private quarters equipped with a large adobe oven, a stone water filter, beautiful tea sets, gold and silver serving plates and other fineries, along with two personal servants.
They frolicked beneath the trees, sipped tea in the courtyards, traded handmade crafts amongst each other, bathed in pairs in the indoor pool, and basically danced around singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fuh-Un.”
(Rumor even has it that sometimes a gardener may have made it past the wooden bars onto the sacred grounds)
But, sadly, the party didn’t last forever. Three hundred years later, in 1871, the Pope finally caught wind of these naughty nuns and called for a reformation. The dowries were sent to Europe and the slaves were set free. The sisters also had to give up their individual quarters, embrace austere, communal living, and contemplate more nun-ish things like this:
Miraculously, as soon as Sol and I got back from our day at the convent, Tree finished his big ODP project. Hmmmmm. Coincidence or strategy, I wonder……
To celebrate the launching of the new site, he enjoyed his first day off in over a month. We spent the day with Gianmarco’s son, Italo, Italo’s mom, Lillian, his sister Francesca and his lovely girlfriend, Alexia.
We had a great time, as is evidenced by the photo below.
That’s it for us in Arequipa. It’s been a great four weeks, but now it’s time to hit the road!