Panama and Colombia - Winter 2010 travel blog

Main square in San Gil

Steep street - my hostel is at the top!

River Ponce

Parque Gallineral (plus following)


San Gil church at night

San Gil street

San Gil market

Barichara (plus following 3)




I am now in San Gil, 4 hours by bus from my previous location. I arrived Saturday afternoon. The weather here is much warmer since we're only at 1100 metres. It's similar to Toronto in summer.

San Gil is known as the extreme sport centre of Colombia. It's also close to another cute little colonial town called Barichara.

San Gil itself is not particularly beautiful, but it has a large urban natural reserve called Parque Gallineral, located by the river. The river Ponce sits at the bottom of a valley and divides the city in two. I haven't seen streets this steep since San Francisco! In the park, mossy tendrils (called ¨old men beard¨) grow from the branches of most trees, giving the whole place a special appearance. I spent a good chunk of the day there on Sunday.

At night, the place to be is the central plaza, where families stroll and munch on snacks sold by street vendors, and young women walk around in tight pants.

This morning I checked out the market and had a milkshake made from a fruit I hadn't encountered yet (after 4 weeks in Colombia) called Borojo. It actually looks like a squash.

Yesterday I made a day trip to Barichara. While Villa de Leyva was quiet, this place is rather comatose. It's pretty but there isn't much going on. I had lunch at the famous Color de Hormiga restaurant which specializes in a regional delicacy called "hormigas culonas" that is "ants with big asses". Yes, they really do eat the ants. I chose a dish without ants however since there is no way I am going to eat bugs, delicacy or not!

Despite this, on the way back, I started feeling a little unwell, which I attributed to a little motion sickness because the roads here are unending twists and turns. Back in my room, it got worse instead of better, so I knew it was something I ate. Still not sure what caused it, but my whole lunch (which was fairly pricey) came back out. This is the first time I've been sick this whole trip.

I'm taking it easy today (my day of rest which is also my laundry day) and not eating meat or anything too rich, but I'm feeling fine. It's also cloudy and rainy today, so I'm not missing much.

As you know Easter is coming, and here Semana Santa is a big deal. People start their holiday on Thursday. As soon as I got here I tried booking my bus ticket back to Bogota for Friday, just to be told that there would be no bus to Bogota on Easter Friday. :( So, change of plans. I am now arriving in Bogota Thursday night, and all I've been able to secure is a dorm bed (and even this wasn't a done deal until about 5 minutes ago!).

I must remember never to travel to a catholic country during Easter week again.

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