Girón, San Gil and Barichara.
Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
34Trip End Ongoing
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The next day we were heading to San Gil, Colombia’s capital of adventure sports and also a good base for exploring a beautiful little colonial town called Barichara. We could either go back to Bucaramanga or get a bus somewhere close to Barichara that was stopping en route to San Gil. We first thought we would be able to walk to this bus terminal so we set off. Only to discover that it wasn’t so. So we jumped into a taxi after a lot of asking and went to the bus stop "Papa quiero piña"! Literally “daddy I want pineapple”. Turned out “Papa quiero piña” was the little shop/bar on the street corner where the buses were stopping. We got on a buseta (like a minibus) and took off for San Gil.
We arrived in San Gil early, around 11.00 and had seen two possible hostels. It was really hot and the sun was shining, one hostel had a pool so that was our first stop. In the end we didn’t even check the other hostel. We checked in and got a double with shared bathroom however we did have a small bathroom but without shower. So we just need to use the shower in the corridor. Dropped our things and sorted out the laundry bag to get the laundry done since we decided to stay 3 nights here. Then off to the pool. Being close to the equator and at midday, I later took off my bikini and it looked like I still had a white bikini on and my body colour was red!! Ooooppps…. Preparing for the coast!! We were hungry so we went to a recommended place called El Maná for lunch, it was great! First a soup and some bread with a spicy salsa, then a little fruit platter to change the flavour for your main course
The next morning we thought we should try some of the famous adventure sports, we decided to try the easy level white water rafting. Unfortunately it had been raining all night so the river was really high and they were not sure if we would be able to go, they told us to come back at 13.00 to check. We took a walk around San Gil and went to check out the local food market. It was of course as colourful and busy as most markets. There were plenty of fruit and juice stands so we had a fresh fruit juice. Yummy and very cheap, less than a euro each for a big glass. Then we headed back to the office for the rafting. Unfortunately the river was still too high so we would not be able to go. So quick change of plans and we jumped on the next bus to explore Barichara and have lunch there. The bus leaves every 30 mins and take 45mins so by the time we got there we were very hungry. We didn’t fancy trying the local speciality of “hormiga culona” (literally fat assed ant). So we went looking for alternatives. We found a really nice little restaurant called “El Tigre” serving pita and pizzas, we each had a pita with hummus, aubergines, sun dried tomatoes, olives and each our choice of meat, Ramón beef and me chicken. They had there own little “tigre”, a really cute little kitten called Mole
This morning we managed to sleep until 8.00, nearly unbelievable here. Ramón went to the reception to see how things were looking for the rafting, it hadn’t rained anymore that night so we were lucky. We could leave with a group at 10.00. So we got ready and had a bowl of cereals in the hotel. I have to admit that I was really nervous, I really did not like the idea of falling over the edge of the raft and into the water. As many of you know I am afraid to get my head under the water. And of course, of the 6 people I was the one that fell out after a big wave!! It was a great experience though and I am pleased I did it, don’t think I would go for a higher level rafting though. I have to say that the organisers were really professional and spoke both English and Spanish to that everyone was following what was going on. It was all arranged by our lovely receptionist Joanna at Sam´s VIP hostel. Now I need to start preparing myself mentally for the scuba diving in Santa Marta.
We got back to the hostel and since we were soaked we went straight to the pool to wash off in the shower and then chill for a bit. We were really hungry so we headed to El Maná again for a filling and healthy lunch menu. We are now on the hotel balcony waiting for the festival parade, it was supposed to start a 13.00 (Colombian time as our rafting guide said), Joanna said the parade would pass the main square at 16.00, it is now 16.05 and no sign of the parade. I guess it is 16.00 Colombian time too.