Chica's Gap Year Part II 2005/06 travel blog

Not many trees here, cleared for farmland


Roof tops in Barichara

Small village, big cathedral

San Gil is supposed to be the place to go to for outdoor adventure type stuff. Well, that consisted of horse riding (yes please) and white water rafting (no chance). 9 hours by bus from Bogotá, was the end of my endurance for being sat on my bum in an unconfortable seat designed for shorter people. That's the thing, in the UK I'm short, here at 5`4¨ I'm tall. Can't buy clothes and have to buy mens shoes! Here the size of my feet are considered freakish... well at least I could go to Miami and feel like a super model!

Anyway, back to San Gil. Met Natasja at another hostal. It was cheap though had no hot water... even though the weather was hot, it's nice to have some warm water to take the edge off the cold..... we moved to another place with hot water the next day and amazingly the same price! Went horse riding again. The countryside was very different. Farmers had cut down all of the trees for farmland, the hills looked very nude. Got talking to a school teacher who was looking after a class of kids frolicking in the river. Not sure what type of school trip it was, didn't look too educational to me. Crikey, wish I had school trips like that! The teacher was telling me that there was a program to plant trees and try to return the countryside to its original state. The soil looked clay-like to me, so not sure that there would have been good crops here.

It was nice to get out of the town, I had visions that it would be a small village like Villa de Leyva, San Gil is a town with the usual problems of pollution, traffic etc. Didn't like it much. Natasja was trying to convince me to go white water rafting. After that business on the Zambezi when I got spilled twice and thought I was going to drown, there is no way on earth that I am ever going to get back in a white water raft. Horse riding was enough for me, though my horse was a bit lazy and wanted to take it real slow. Natasja wasn't surprised, she said the horse had worms, I felt bad for the horse.

Close to San Gil is another colonial style village, Barichara. My original spanish teacher had raved about the place, though I couldn't establish if she had actualy visited it or was spreading rumours. It was very different to San Gil. As far as I could see it was a village of old men, young mothers and school children with a massive cathedral. Natasja and I visited all of the churches, had lunch and still had time to spare before we caught the bus back to San Gil 3 hours later. Barichara certainly had a lot of character, similar to Játiva in Valencia, lots of old buildings painted in pretty colours and quiet. As the only tourists in town we got quite a few stares until I started speaking spanish to kids. Very polite they were too. Not something I would do at home, never know what the sods are going to do next!

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