We caught a collectivo back to Tunja and had our strangest bus experience yet – we found a tout for San Gil buses who went and found his mate, who made a call and got in a cab with us and took us to meet the bus that was stopped on the outskirts of town. They must have really wanted our fare! The journey took 4 hours and we were a bit annoyed to get into San Gil as we’d both just fallen asleep to escape the death defying bus driving. The bus station was completely dead and our first thoughts were that it doesn’t bode too well for when we need to leave, we might actually have to wait for a bus!
With no map of the town and only knowing that the station was 2km outside of town we got a cab to a street we thought might have hotels on it, only to discover that we could have easily walked it. With 6 hotels to chose from we picked the 2 that looked the cheapest to go in, found that they were both cheap and of course opted for the cheapest which actually had bigger rooms and really friendly staff (the woman from the other hotel gives us the evils every time we walk past).
We had a nice lunch in a colourful cafe, explored the town centre and then spent the rest of the afternoon in Parque El Gallineral, famed for its trees covered with tillandsia (silver vine like stuff, we’ve seen it all over Colombia so far). The guard at the gate doesn’t actually check your ticket or do anything with it he just sees that you have one, and after finding out from him where to get them from a guy coming out followed us out of the guard’s sight and gave us their 2 tickets. We enjoyed the park even more with it being free!
The next morning we got up and caught a local bus for a day trip to Barichara a small town 20kms away. It’s considered to be the most beautiful small colonial town in Colombia and it certainly was very pretty and really quiet, until the kids came out of school at lunchtime. We spent a good 4 hours leisurely strolling around and returned to San Gil as it started to rain. We’ve had at least one good tropical shower of rain everyday since we got to Bogota, but this evening in San Gil we’re having an absolute downpour.
Next stop Bucaramanga and the small town of Giron.
- We’re really going to miss the volume of public transport when we get home
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