Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Colombia  ,
Saturday, September 18, 2010

After another long and grueling night on the buses, complete as ever with a combination of truly awful dubbed films and seemingly unnecessary stops at random bus terminals in who knows where, we arrived in Popayan at 8am. We were however perked up by the rare sighting of a supermarket on the outskirts of town, which was amazingly well timed with a text message from mum saying she'd stuck some money in my bank account so that we could treat ourselves. We set off from the bus terminal for a walk through the city in search of a place to stay, and after checking out a few places we settled on a really nice hostel run by some friendly scots. Needless to say we had a quick shower and hit the mega-shop for some essentials including materials for tuna sarnies for lunch, meatballs and spaghetti for dinner (chosen by Dan) and red wine, chocolate, hair dye and conditioner (chosen by Lou). Thanks Wend! We spent the afternoon having a wander around the centre of Popayan, which is a really beautiful historic city. A lot of renovation work has recently taken place here after an earthquake in 1983 damaged churches and monasteries that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and the streets are now lined with whitewashed buildings, busy plazas, and steaming coffee shops. An enormous rain cloud painted the city black after a couple of hours so we made a hasty retreat to our digs and had a wonderful evening cooking up a dinner that made everyone jealous, drinking red wine, and eating chocolate. Talk about flashpacking!

We decided to make the most of the luxury and time to chill in a lovely city, and had another day and night in Popayan. We didn't do much to write home about but had a nice time just mooching around and enjoying the sunshine. There is a big hill on the outskirts called El Morro de Tulcan which we climbed to the top of for some good views of the city, and we also checked out an old bridge built in 1713 by some priests so that they could cross from the monastery to the poorer suburbs of the city. In the evening we met a great Australian guy called John who gave us loads of useful and inspiring tips for our onwards journey into Ecuador, and after failing to find a bar that was open on a saturday night we opted instead for a beer and a film back at the hostel.

Whilst staying in Popayan we saw some information about a couple of interesting places and small villages supposedly off the beaten track in Colombia. Good timing really as neither of us felt ready to leave the country without seeing a little bit of the more rural and traditional side of life. So we packed everything we would need for 4 or 5 days into one bag, stuck the rest of our things in storage, and set the alarm for early the next morning ready to tackle the 'Southern Loop'.
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Aj on

What a lovely treat! Xxxxx bet those Lindt chocs were most amazing piece of choc ever! X

Suzanna on

I like your choice of treats - oh yes, and the pics of Colombia!

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