Whitewashed Buildings and Mysterious statues
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Of course we were shitting ourselves at the thoughts of crossing the border to Colombia, all the nightmare stories and of course Ireland´s little history a few years ago with the IRA training the FARC, so we werent as boastful as we normally are with our Irish passports..
Well it turned out to be a piece of cake to say the least... a record border crosssing of 9 minutes from Ecuador to Colombia... Started to relax en route to our first destination Popayan until the police stop our bus, huge machine guns strung casua over their shoulders, all asked to get of the bus, some men searched up against the bus, bags checked, then all back on the bus, now we have just learned this is normal here...
The scenery on the way to Popayan was some of the most breathtaking so far, huge mountains and valleys stretching for miles. Popayan is a really nice city with white washed buildings similar to Andulacia in Spain. Two really cool bridges in the town, one of the bridges Puente de la Custodia was built in the 18th century to allow priests to bring the last rites to the poor people in the Northern suburbs..
Time for food.... 0ne of the main reasons for leaving Ecuador was the inability to stomach more deep fried chicken and rice. Luckily the food was so much better, really good soups and vegetables with your dinner... every childs nightmare but heaven for us...
One thing that struck is so far was the friendliness of Colombian people, so happy to see tourists and will do your best to help you out and tell you the best places to go. We walked past a music college and the security told us to come in and have a look around, this was the most amazing university ever, beautiful gardens, music coming from every room, grafitti but good grafitti all over the walls... made us both want to enrol...
It was time to get some more archaelogy into us, so we hit for the pre Colombia ceremonial town of San Augustin... nightmare journey, 8 hrs on a bumpy road, think we were the only ones on the bus that didnt get sick, bus broke down etc but finally made it. When we arrived two guys met us at the bus as the bus driver had rang them to say tourists on the bus, of course we weary but this guys asked us what price range of hostel you looking for, brought us for a tour of the town and dropped us in a hostel overlooking the whole town with hammocks outside our door, all for $4 a night...heaven...
Then we checked out some of the stone statues, there are approx 500 statues scattered all around the area, mostly depicting animals and humans, nobody knows who sculpted them, when they were done and most importantly why, but it sure was interesting to check out... also some lovely hikes in the area, plenty of watefalls and then relax in the hammocks in the evening and of course some pool, they are crazy for billards in Colombia, most of our time was playing pool with the locals with the obligitary blaring music in the background... they live and breathe music here, also Irish bar men could learn a few lessons over here, you buy anything or ask a question, everything is ¨said with a smile and a -con mucho gusto-, which means with lots of pleasure.
We know already that Colombia is going to be hard to knock of first place in our travels so far... x x