Heading south, we stopped in San Juan del Cesar. We knew that our friend, Johnny (who we met on the Stahlratte), was staying in that town, but we did not know where. When we arrived, we pulled over to try to find a hotel and this nice man (Edward) came over to ask us if we needed help. (This is a common occurrence in just about every country that we have been in.) We told him we were looking for a budget hotel, so he gets on his bicycle and says; follow me. He takes us to a hotel and who comes walking out, Johnny. It was amazing that out of all the hotels, he takes us to that one!
One of my favorite things from this town is realizing that in Colombia it is very common to have soup with your breakfast. I happen to really love soup. We ordered a breakfast of eggs and she brought out two big bowls of lovely soup. At first I thought, did I say Huevos wrong….then shortly after, she brings out our eggs with yucca. (another very common food here)
We typically get surrounded when we stop by curious onlookers. Here we are buying gas from a road side vendor.
I love this moment. We are at a station getting gas and this sweet man comes over and wants to know where we are from, curious about Bentley, and if we like Colombia. As we were getting ready to leave, I handed a “Bentleys Big Adventure” sticker to both him and the attendant. That sweet man smiled ear to ear and was so grateful that before I knew it, he had me in his arms giving me the biggest hug ever! Then we are hugging the gas station attendant too! FANTASTIC!!! Life is so great.
Barichara, Colombia. A sleepy little village nestled atop a plateau. No one is in a hurry here. Lovely little shops of local artisans and a beautiful church at the top of the hill. Once again, we stop to try to figure out where we are going to find a place to stay and the nicest man came up to talk to us. He spoke perfect English, his name is Oscar. He pointed us in the direction for hotels and we were soon to become friends. The very next day, Oscar and his lovely wife and two children took us on a walking tour of the town. and on the second day, Oscar took us on a hike on the “historic” path to a small village called, Guane. He said that we must go early in the morning because by afternoon it is too hot. In the early morning hours, he said; that is when it is “delicious”. I just love that! He was right, it WAS delicious.
Our final stop before the big city of Bogotá was Villa de Leyva. Oh, how I loved this little town. First of all, we had been traveling in 90-100 degree weather since El Salvador. Long time! We got to within 40 miles of the town and it started to rain. First time since Guatemala. We arrive at the most beautiful place to stay up on the hill above the town called Colombian Heights/Hostel Renacer. We camped for the first time since the beach in Mexico. It felt so good to put on warm clothes for the first time in months. We also met back up with our friends from the Stahlratte, David and Nina.
This little gem of a town was where we really got to taste the amazing “traditional” foods of Colombia. Lot´s of beautiful soups, wonderful little rolls made of corn and cheese and the most exhotic fruits in the world. Of course, I can´t forget to mention the best coffee in the world.