Popayan is like a dream city. After being shaken out of the mountains on the bus ride from hell we didn’t originally intend to stay here, however as we couldn’t bare to face another bus we decided to rearrange our plans and stay awhile.
Founded in 1537, the majority of the old city is still intact. Whitewashed colonial architecture throughout, it really did feel like a magical city. The Historic Downtown is considered one of the most beautiful and best preserved in Colombia and Latin America.
We stayed at a hostel Parklife, which although a bit over out budget ($60,000/per night double shared bathroom) was literally one of the most spectacular hostels we’ve had the luck to stay in. Our room looked out over the main central square, and the hostel shares a wall with the most impressive Basilica in town. It had a secret rooftop room to hangout in, which just happened to allow up close and personal views across the roof to the church dome. Seriously great.
Two windows left of the church, that’s us!
Like this was the view from our window…
We also have finally gotten our “Travellers Legs”. The last week of prep before the trip caused mucho stress. Especially with many things going askew with tying up the strings for Best Coast Christmas Lights, moving into a storage container and wrapping up our lose ends with Canadian life. Brett and I both felt weird. It didn’t feel like we were traveling, or that we were excited enough. We were decompressing, trying to regroup… trying to process that we were traveling for 6 months is a mind bender. But Popayan re-invigorated us, we felt the magic we were missing!
Spent three nights in the city, one day we just walked. Explored all the beautiful streets, climbed a tiny mountain, visited a market we saw from the tiny mountain, and went to the Natural History Museum. The Natural History Museum was very impressive. Lots of dead things, from all walks of life.
Brett really enjoyed the moth section.
Some animals were pretty realistic, like we could have fooled you all and told everyone we saw this up close and in person and no one would be the wiser. They are all dead, promise.
Some were less realistic. This one looks like my cat, JPP.
We also were surprised to see some very exotic animals stuffing for our viewing pleasure.
View from the top of the tiny mountain.
Our first exciting market! So many strange fruits to taste. Columbia is filled with such amazing fruit, we will do our best to sample them all.
We will not recommend the Chontodura however. This weird tomato-potato is no bueno. A lovely vendor let us try a piece and I only just barely managed to swallow it, Brett could not. Imagine a dry baked potato, filled with sand.Mmmm. The locals are loco for them though, street stands selling them are on every block.
Since we are pretty close to Ecuador, the love of potato variety was strong. Lots of great shapes and colors to them.
The following day we finally spent it lazing around, watching Narcos. Our spanish friends highly recommended it, since its pretty much trip research into the life and times of Pablo Escobar. With Medellin on our travel route, we have to begin to understand the power, influence and violence of this one man. We are really enjoying this Americanized version of history. More authentic research is forth coming.
At about 2pm we made a hectic decision to get out and do something however, and managed to get one of the last buses out of town to the Aqua Thermales in the nearby hills. We visited Thermales Tibia, which was absolutely beautiful landscape… but luke warm at best. We spent most of the time submerged in the mud pool, not wanting to get out.
Finally, this is the next installment of of Jessica’s book entitled “Cute Dogs: Colombia”