2018 Colombia – Day 5

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It was going to be our last day in Villa, and I realized I didn’t really have any pictures of the main square, which is actually noteworthy as one of the largest in the Americas at 120 meters by 120 meters. According to the Lonely Planet guidebook it was also unusual in that it kept to the traditional name of Plaza Mayor, rather than being named after a figure of historical importance, as is the case in many Colombian cities. So we got up a bit earlier than we had been, and headed over. It was nice to see the streets in the quiet of the morning, almost deserted except for kids in uniform, heading to school. Ah, right – there are people who actually live here and have a regular, doing things like going-to-school, life. Oh and then there was the military squad, doing some marching drills in the square.

Then it was back for breakfast, which today had a twist – there was a choice of the papaya as juice or as cut up fruit! With some sign language and repetition we were able to get that sorted. And when we were midway through our meal Therese appeared and joined us.

We finished and took our leave, and headed up to the Paleontological Museum, which was not open yet, despite what the website had said. We waited a bit, and someone did come along and open the gate and go in, but they shut it behind them in a way that did not seem promising. We asked, and sadly it was not going to be opening. I didn’t have the energy or Spanish to try to wheedle an entrance.

For Plan B, I headed back into town for a little hunting and gathering. The place we had rented the bikes from shared space with a made in Colombia arts and crafts shop. It was one of those places where I pretty much just wanted to buy EVERYTHING, but there were space constraints to consider. Sigh. I was able to find some carry on friendly items.

I’d also seen a candy store, but when I went toward where I thought it was I ran into a parade! Wow, fireworks, a parade … oh yeah, must be more celebrations of the town’s birthday. I watched for a little bit, and probably could have crossed it, but backtracked and went to another store that was more a general souvenir store but did have caramelos de miele. (Honey caramels!) Mr. Cake was not open yet, but I found a more regular bakery and bought some snacks for the road.

Then there was the gathering of gringos. All the gathering of people and luggages gave enough time for me to get another helado! Eventually we were on the road back to Bogotá.

The field trip stop for this leg was the town of Ráquira. “… both because it’s pretty and because handmade goods there are plenty and cheap. If anyone wants to buy a wooden spoon or 10, this is the place. You’ll want to have cash.” was the word from the Chief Gringo Herder.

Or 100. Or hundreds. Holy Schmoly! There were lifetimes supplies of spoons, and mugs, and dishes of all shapes and sizes! And alltheterracottapots, for so much less than prices in the States. Except then there would be the getting them back to the States. There’s always some catch. There were woven goods and textiles and hammocks galore and a miscellany of tourist trinkets. It was simultaneously fascinating and disturbing.

We wandered about, looked in a few stores, checked out the village church. The original time amount got extended, as some people ended up having a meal, but eventually everyone found their way back to the busses and we got back underway to Bogotá.

Even zipping by at motor speed it was neat to see the countryside. We passed a big lake that I didn’t remember seeing on the way out. And it was milking time! There were two-stall milking corrals in the corners of fields, with a person hand milking. Then someone would be standing with a milk can at the road. In one spot I saw a truck collecting the milk from several people at a crossroads.

A number of us were going to be joining in on the jungle excursion, and Angela had had us all get on the same bus so she could go over the schedule and answer questions. It really was amazing how, in addition to planning a wedding, she and Jon had coordinated logistics for helping people get to Colombia, and then on to a remote part of the country that many Colombians have never been to. It was also cool to see how excited Angela was about going to the Amazon. She’d been several times before, and kept saying how much she loved it and mentioning different cool things they had seen.

As we got close to Bogotá the traffic thickened. I was very glad someone else was driving. There were some chaotic seeming moments at merges, with motorcycles and a few bicycles(!) threading the needle but somehow it all worked out.

We were disgorged back at the Hotel Ibis, traveling forward in time a few centuries, back to the anonymous functional box of a room, although this time the mirror image floor plan from our first room. There had been dinner plan chatter on the bus, but (surprise) we wanted simple, quiet and  close to the hotel (and get off my lawn!) so went across the street for a burger again. But this time we knew that tocino meant bacon!

Back at the room we were able to separate things that didn’t need to go to the jungle and things that did in such a way that we could take one of our larger sized backpacks and leave the other at the hotel. It was nice to have a congenial travel companion who was willing and able to consolidate! Once that was done we settled down for another full night of sleep! More woohoo!

more pictures

June 12, 2018

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2 Responses to 2018 Colombia – Day 5

  1. Pingback: 2018 Colombia – Day 4 | 2m2t

  2. Pingback: 2018 Colombia – Day 6 | 2m2t

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