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9 - 11 December 2013

I got up early and after breakfast I walked to the bus terminal where I quickly got a ticket – though it took half an hour before we left and not the promised 5 minutes (first time somebody lied about the departure time). Also the new bus I was shown was exchanged for an old bus just before departure.The first half of the trip was across open land mostly used for cattle and horses while the second half took us up in the mountains – as always the weather was soso and therefore also the views .... I arrived in Popayan early afternoon and walked into town where I found the hostel I was looking for – last minute before it began pouring down. Late afternoon when the rain had stopped I took a walk around the center of town – though I stayed fairly close to the hostel as dark clouds hang over the city... a wise decision as we got more rain...

The next day I took a morning bus up to mountain village Silvia to experience the Tuesday market, where all the indigenous Guambianos from the nearby area come to town dressed in their traditional clothes. A classic market and much more than just trading fruit, vegetables, handicraft, etc. – it was a very social event where friends and family meet up and exchanged the latest news. For those who didn't trade, the women sat at the square doing handicrafts while many men hung out in the bars at the outskirts of town – several times I was offered to drink from the botttle even though it was only 10am... When the weather improved slightly I took a walk around the outskirts of town to experience more local life and get some views – it was a peaceful affair as almost everybody attended the market... Back in town a little later I bought some vegetables and spent an hour observing and enjoying life at the main square. I've been somewhat disappointed with Columbia because it's much too developed compared to my expectations; consequently this experience was particularly nice because it offered a view into the "old" Columbia. I headed back to Popayan early afternoon; here it was great weather so I exploited the opportunity and wandered around town until it began pouring down – torrential rain for about an hour but this time followed by great weather the rest of the afternoon, so I headed out again for some hours. It's a nice city with many beautiful, old buildings but the pleasure was partly offset by lots of noise and bustling street life.

Before I got to Popayan I had considered climbing nearby volcano Purace (4,750 meters) but it turned out impossible. The military in Popayan (who is also the tourist information?!) told me I couldn't go because there were disputes with the indigenous people who also own the land where the volcano is located – the dispute was visible in town where demonstrations were met by massive police presence. I didn't feel too bad about not going as the weather is far from inviting at this time of year – hiking 8 hours in overcast and rainy weather with few views is not my kind of fun.... The extra day was not wasted as I had to attend several problems with my homepage – the cloud to where I upload all my pictures for backup had to be re-installed and I couldn't upload pictures to my homepage. The first problem was easily solved though it'll take a long time to re-upload the 7gb to the cloud. The second problem stayed unresolved until late evening when suddenly out of nowhere it worked - I had done nothing differently than the whole day, so I was happy but puzzled...   

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