Sun & Rain in charming Popayan :)
Popayan Travel Blog› entry 9 of 15 › view all entries
October 25th, 2009 – by: yadilitta
He was so right the place was beautiful. We haven't even arrived to the city and was already happy with all the nice views of the valley. The drive was good, the highway was smooth. Another thing that captured my attention was the lot of security I saw in the whole way. There were security stops and you could see military almost everywhere.
Popayan's terminal surprised me, in a good way. It was small, but very well organized and with shops and restaurants. There were lot of cabs at the entrance. The taxis don't use taximeters here, but there's a standard fee. Perfect! The drive to the hostel was short, guess only 5min, hahaha. The taxi driver was telling me about the city. He was very proud of Popayan, the white city. All the buildings in downtown are white and kept the old architecture.
The driver rang the bell and the owner opened the door. At first I thought he was another guest, but he was the owner, hahaha. I made a reservation 2 weeks ago, but he couldn't find it. No problem, there was availability. Before the "tour" in the hostel, I'd go to my room to leave my backpack and get ready to leave. I wanted to start exploring the city as soon as possible. Popayan is a deeply Catholic city and it was Sunday, so I was expecting seeing all the churches open and watch the local people, yay!
After grabbing a cup of the complimentary coffee and one of the maps that were there for all the guests, it was time to start walking. The hostel was very well located, just a couple of blocks away from all the attractions in downtown.
First stop would be the Main Square aka Parque Caldas. The whole city is very well maintained. They care a lot about it and try to keep it as clean as possible. They were also working on the roads. Actually there was a sign about that in the hostel, apologizing in advance for any inconvenience, but I didn't hear anything at night.
The taxi driver wasn't exagereting when he said they were very Catholic. Looking at the map, I realized that most of the highlights of the city are churches or chapels, hahaha. It was Sunday, Mass' day! Churches and chapels aren't open everyday the whole day, but it's different on Sunday.
When I was at the Cathedral, Mass was ending. Right after the end several street vendors approached to the people leaving the church offering food, hahaha. Well, it was so sunny and warm that I was very thirsty. In my list, I was still missing some of the traditional snacks/drinks in Colombia, so there were 2 reasons to grab something to drink :P I got a raspado which is crushed ice with a syrup. It was very sweet, just needed to see the bees flying around the syrup...
Didn't know where to go and decided to go where there were people. It turned to be the commercial area, local market.
Most of the highlights in town are a short walking distance from each other. There's one a bit further away, but still walking distance. This one was the viewpoint "El Morro". After a not so short walk we arrived there. Maybe it wasn't that far away, but it was so sunny, pffff. Ok, now how to reach the top? The road seemed to go in circles, hahaha. You can take a short cut and climb the hill. Well... so embarrassed but I didn't do it, hahaha. I was tired and didn't want to sweat, hahaha. I'd walk along the road, didn't care if it was a bit longer. It was more comfortable and if I walked longer, I'd be able to burn some calories and wouldn't feel guilty for eating, hehehe.
In my way I saw a mini Popayan! What was that? I couldn't help to ask a lady who was selling some fruit what it was. She told me it was "Pueblo Patojo" (Patojo Town) and on Sundays there are handi craft and food stalls. Mmm, sounds interesting and the small town looks charming! Ok, I'd stop there in my way back to the hostel.
Ok, I reached the top. It was breezy here, nice! The view was lovely, but I couldn't stay here for long. I like the landscapes, but prefer to hang out with people, hehehe. So after a while, I decided to go down to the small town. It looked so charming... While I was getting closer - had to go down some stairs - I could start listening some Cumbia, party time!
After walking around the square, stores, buying a magnet and getting a snack.
I was getting closer to the bridge when felt a drop on my nose... what was that? Didn't pay attention nor reacted until I saw the locals started to run. What's going on? It started to rain. And it really rains here, hahaha. By us the rain is merely a mist, hahaha. Everybody including us run to the closes bank.
Rain lasted about 1/2 hour, but it seemed way longer to me, hahaha. Fortunately I met a couple and we started to chat. The guy was from Cali and was here just for a visit and his girlfriend was from Popayan. They both wanted to know about Lima and I was more than pleased to talk about it, actually just to talk, hehehe. Ok, no more rain, finally. Time to go back to the hostel.
Streets were so empty... people were just starting to go outside again, hehehe. Arrived to the hostel just thinking about taking a hot shower. Now I know how to operate the electric showers, hahaha. OMG! There was a good pressure of hot water here. Who would have thought I'd have a better shower in a small town than in a big city? hahaha.
It was 7pm when I started to feel hungry, again... so let's go to look for something for dinner. Popayan is still a small town, so don't expect to find many places open on Sunday night... Most of the recommended restaurants were closed, buuuu. I wanted to see the buildings at night, so taking a walk while looking for a restaurant wasn't a bad idea after all, hehehe.
Murat was so right, Popayan at night looks so beautiful, maybe more beautiful than during the day. The lights reflect great on the white walls, sweet! But the difference could also be noticed on the temperature. It was a bit cool and windy, so good I had my jacket, hehehe. I was complaining about it in Cali, but was so handy here. Started to walk through the same places I've been earlier that day. I was enjoying the walk, but was getting hungrier :S Time to eat, please!!! The girl at the hostel recommended an Italian place. It looked very nice, but having an Italian meal... well, this would be the contingency plan.
I was hopping there would be any restaurant open near Parque Caldas, but the only one open were closing in 5 min. Grrrr, they had tasty omelettes and desserts.
Food was good though. I ordered a salad and it was huge! I was missing my veggies so much that I felt it really really delicious, hahaha. What to drink? Just a Coke, pls. Wow those glass bottles were different than the ones I've seen before. They were chubbier, hehehe. We were eating and suddenly no electricity! So good there were candles, hahaha.
It was almost 10pm when we arrived back to the hostel. The plan for tomorrow was leaving Popayan early, so before going to bed it was a good idea to do check out, just in case leaving early. I reorganized my back pack and left everything ready to go. Ok, now it was time to sleep and bed was softer than the last ones, yay!!!
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