Biking in Bogotá and onto Popayán

25 Feb

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We did our bike tour of Bogota, which turned out to be just as good as our friends said (though I don’t have many photos for you as the camera battery died). We had a young local guy as our tour leader who was really friendly, funny, and knowledgeable about Bogota and its history.

We started off checking out some street art, heading into one of the main squares outside of the Palace of Justice where Pablo Escobar and the paramilitary group M-19 drove in with tanks (literally drove tanks into the building) in an attempt to kill all of the judges that had/would do wrong by him and destroy all of the documents that may lead to him being extradited to the United States.

We checked out the “informal” emerald market, which is just a bunch of guys walking around with emeralds wrapped in a little paper packet selling them on the street. From there we headed into the fruit markets and tried a bunch of exotic fruits, one which had the taste of kiwi mixed with lemon and the consistency of a tomato, and then onto the bull ring (currently an iceskating ring). We finished up at a nice little cafe where we learned about the coffee roasting process and eating empanadas.

Last night we caught the night bus from Bogota to Popayan, a little city about 6 hours from the Ecuador border. I was out of it for most of the night, but Liam couldn’t sleep and said we were lucky to make it alive with the way that the driver was going. Sounds as though he didn’t value his life as much as we did, overtaking trucks on blind corners and flying down the mountain roads at speed. I did wake up a few times to the sound of people belongings sliding all over the bus because of the speed at which we took the corners, but decided to just close my eyes again and not look.

Popayan is a cute little colonial town and our hostel is right on the main square in the historical zone, with stark white buildings and a nice park in the middle. We’re only in Popayan for one night as there’s not much to do here, so we’re leaving at 5am tomorrow morning to cross the border into Ecuador. Once we’re in Ecuador, we’ll be heading to a town called Otavalo where we’ll check out one of South Americas largest markets in search of ponchos to save us from the cold.

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