It’s Tuesday. Underneath my feet the ground sparkles with the glitter of pyrite, surrounding me are the lush mountain ranges that form the beginning of the Andes, to my right and to my left are splashes of vibrant hues that are a myriad of different flowers and butterflies.
I think back to what I have spent most of the Tuesdays of my adult life doing and I know I will never go back. The sun beats down, a light breeze cools the sweat on the nape of my neck and I revere in the simplicity of it all...
The day earlier after five hours of watching mini landslides, masses of boulders cluttering one side of the muddy dirt road and sheer drops off the other, I was thankful to arrive safely in San Andres. The glass of fresh ice cold jugo Moro that awaited me in itself made the trip worthwhile, the following days of home-made ice cream and my discovery of the most delicious fruit EVER - Caimo and I was contented, to say the least. If I wasn’t on a finite time frame I would have just stayed in San Andres...for a while.
San Andres is the small village that marks the gateway to Tierradentro, a series of cavernous tombs decorated with paintings and statues sculpted into the supporting stone beams. The tombs are scattered throughout the villages surrounding mountains and I was blessed with a radiant day to explore them, wander the village and enjoy yet another tuna mayo cracker lunch overlooking a picturesque thatched roof chapel perched atop a hill.
The Colombian leg of my adventure was nearing its end but I had one more stop still to make so the following morning at 6:30am I stood in town awaiting my bus. Much to my amusement - initially - an old jeep pulls up, turns out this is my "bus". My backpack is strapped to the roof and off we set, within about an hour the jeep is loaded with 13 people (not including the driver), 2 kids, another 2 people hanging off the back and 1 sitting on top next to my pack! The guy sitting on top was actually a comfort to me as I had spent the first hour terrified that my poorly secured pack would bounce off and down the side of the ravine we were driving along. I spent the last half hour praying that the dark clouds overhead wouldn’t open soaking my pack....oh yeah and the poor guy riding on the roof!
San Agustin brought one last hurrah (until Melbs!) with T-dog and Stripper, 24 hours bedridden and a lot of monolithic statues. Once recovered I mustered some energy, determined to make the most of my last day in Colombia and headed for Parque Arqueolgico. The park is home to hundreds of statues and burials sites that date back centuries and is set against a scenic mountainous countryside. After my visits to both Tierradentro and San Agustin I am of the opinion that modern day human culture doesn’t put nearly enough effort into the burial and celebration of the dead....I’ll take a hand painted tomb or hard carved stone statue atop my grave thanks!!
Colombia has been an incredible leg of my journey and to think it wasn’t even on my original itinerary. The country is stunningly beautiful and the people are kind and welcoming, come visit before it’s spoilt by tourism.
Next stop...Amazon, Andes, Ruins, Sand boarding....Hello Peru!