Semana Santa - a rather unexpected adventure

Popayan Travel Blog

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The White City of Colombia ... Popayan

Semana Santa is "Holy Week".  It means the week before Easter and is the most holy week for Catholics.  Many Colombians make the pilgramige to Popayan to see the Easter parade, which is exactly what Seb and I decided to do.  We had met a local guy called Kico outside the bus terminal when we arrived in Cali who had given us his number and told us to call him if we made it to Poayan as he was headed that way.  So we decided "Porque no" and gave him a ring when we arrived after our 2.5hr bus journey from Cali.

And so we discovered that we had the grandson of the old Governor of Popayan as our tour guide for the day.

The Parade
  Popayan is the white city of Colombia.  It also seems to have more churches than people.  Another interesting find was that it had the coolest trainer shops we had seen in Latin America but very few young people,  very strange!

In order to kill time before the parade started at 8pm we had lunch, followed by dessert, followed by a beer in a very cool local bar called Moon where we were also forced to try the local empanadas made of potato and nuts despite being fit to burst already!  After all the eating and drinking we needed to walk so went out around the city to get a feel for it.  So we visited the churches and the Religious Art museum which would have been rather boring had it not been for the fact that the vault was open.  We had the chance to see the gold and silver religious artefacts that they stored there, under lock and key until Semana Santa, the only week of the year you can see them.

Emily and I
  They were absolutely amazing.  Filled with hundreds of precious stones and pure gold each one of the objects was priceless.  If only the plan of distracting the guards would have worked !

Later in the day we met up with Kicos friends, Luis his incredibly cute little sister Emily, and Alex.  We spent the evening in their wonderful company enjoying the parades which consisted of 14 "steps" which are statues and images of Christ which get progressively heavier and more important.  Each one of them is priceless and it is a huge honour to carry them.  It is said many of the men bleed from the effort of carrying them at the end of the parade which lasts three hours in total.  There are also choir boys, flower carriers and people that follow holding candles.

With Kico
  It was a really awesome sight to see.  Kico tried his best to introduce Seb and I as the Commissioner and his wife but the local police didnt exactly fall for it! So we watched the parade from the street and enjoyed the atmosphere.  Worth a shot though!

The rest of the night we hung out at Moon bar which tunred out to be a really popular gay bar, not what we expected from Popayan at all!  Everyone was super friendly and despite our plan to go home that night we decided to stay and hang out with everyone in the bar.  They were even lovely enough to give us their beds to sleep in that night.  Colombian people are incredible! So thats how we came to spend Good Friday in a gay bar in Popayan.  Not your average experience at all!

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The White City of Colombia ... Pop…
The White City of Colombia ... Po…
The Parade
The Parade
Emily and I
Emily and I
With Kico
With Kico
Popayan
photo by: AndySD