A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Colombia  , Valle del Cauca Department,
Saturday, November 24, 2012

We were on the road by 8.30am and thought that we had around 65km to cycle to get to our next destination, Buga. The road was quiet, paved and better yet, slightly downhill, the whole way.  Not significantly so, but enough that if we put some power into our pedalling we could maintain a steady 25-30km pace, which is fast for our heavily laden bikes.  It felt like we were flying along, consequently we arrived into Buga, which was 60km away, by 10.30am!  Now, I'm sure that if we had a timeline to keep we would’ve carried on but Kory had been carrying a tourist card for Buga, since we arrived in Bogota.  The card advertised a hostel that had a microbrewery of ales, and Kory really fancied checking it out.  Unfortunately they had plenty of ales to try but no rooms available. So that is how we came to find ourselves trying to find a hotel to check into at 10.30 in the morning, when most people hadn’t even checked out yet.

We decided to have an early lunch first and pulled up outside a café on the main square.  From here we saw several cyclists who had race numbers pinned to their shirts, with high speed looking race bikes, and tear drop hats.  Cycling seems to be a big activity in Colombia and we see road cyclists everyday going up and down the highway; although I must note that it is unusual to see a woman cyclist.  We haven’t met another cycle tourist yet in Colombia but have heard reports from other travellers that they are a few about at the moment. 

The main square had a huge, red cathedral at one end of it, which is an important pilgrimage site for Colombian Christians and attracts thousands of worshippers each year.  For now though the square was fairly quiet and the church only had a picture of Jesus displayed on a wide, flat screen TV above each of the pews.  It appeared that they aren’t doing too badly out of the pilgrimage idea, if they can afford the latest technology in TVs and a sound system.

Following a simple lunch we quickly found a room, which bizarrely had three large double beds in it, but we weren’t complaining about that.  Then we went to check out the town and find the microbrewery.  The town had colonial architecture and reminded me of Cartagena, with its bright coloured walls and slow pace.  It seemed quite strange to me that this town wasn’t in any tourist guidebook and none of the tourists that we have met have ever heard of it, because it seemed like a great place to check out for a day or two.  Of course, my opinion of the town was greatly increased by spending the afternoon sampling beer, including delicious mango ale and a refreshing honey and ginger ale.  We sat on a balcony overlooking the streets of Buga, tasting some locally sourced and produced ales, putting the world to rights.  It seemed like a much more pleasant way to spend the afternoon than slogging up some hill to an unknown town, just for the sake of clocking in a few more hours.
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