Here’s a little bit about what I’ve been doing on the weekends. I’m a huge fan of local travel and local experiences, and that’s exactly what I’ve been up to these past two weeks, thanks to the help of some locals.
This was a long weekend thanks to a public holiday on Monday the 13th. We’ve had quite a few of these “puentes” this semester and there are two more coming up. On Saturday, I visited a friend’s class at the English Institute where he teaches. It was really interesting to talk to the students and see what they were learning. Most of them came from nearby rural areas and had never spoken to an American before. They were very excited and rather nervous to speak to me in English.
On Sunday, I traveled with said friend to his hometown, Sogamoso, which is less than an hour and a half from Tunja. We didn’t go directly there though. Instead, we followed a cycling tour (his cousin’s husband was participating). I got to see a couple nearby towns including Tutta and Paipa. Once we got to Sogamoso, we headed back out to Tibasosa which was around the corner to try sabajón, which is a creamy licor of varying flavors – I tried the coffee, peach and feijoa. I also bought some gifts to bring home in December :). Tibasosa has a cute little central plaza with a great view of the mountains behind it.
We spent the evening at his aunt and uncle’s house shower for their cabin in the nearby mountains. I learned that a house shower in Colombia is somewhat similar to a housewarming party in the US, but there are more gifts and dancing involved. I camped at said cabin and spent Monday morning playing with the adorable German shepherd that guarded the property. On Monday, we spent the day at my friend’s house and then we went to Paipa. Paipa is famous for it’s volcano heated hot springs. We spent the evening relaxing in the pools.
Afterwards, I had my first taste of masato, a traditional fermented rice drink, accompanied by an envuelto (one of the many things I love here in Colombia).
In traditional Colombian style, we realized last minute that there were fewer buses running because it was a holiday. We rushed back to the house to pack up and arrived at the bus station just in time to get the last three seats on the last bus leaving for Tunja that night. I actually fell asleep on the bus ride home, I was so tired.
I decided to stay in Tunja this last weekend and it was definitely worth it. On Friday, I went to a horse show where I got to watch beautiful gaited Colombian horses perform (this specific breed is similar to the Paso Fino – which Colombia is very famous for – and is called the Trocha Pura Colombiana). My friend was kind enough to ask that I be allowed to take a picture with one of the competitors.
Horses are one of my passions. My family would probably say this passion borders on obsession. It was a lot of fun learning about what is valued in this type of horse. I’m hoping to start riding here, so I’m sure I’ll be talking about the Colombian equestrian culture again.
I spent Saturday puppysitting two one-month old French poodles, which I greatly enjoyed. I’ve been dying to get a puppy, but practicality is preventing me. Pretending to be a dog owner for a day was heaven, even with all the poop and puppy crying involved. On Sunday, I participated in “Color City” which was Tunja’s knock-off version of the Color Run. It involved colored powder, a small bit of running, foam and dancing. I still haven’t gotten all the color off my skin and clothes.
One of the few things I miss about the US is the running culture (and Back on My Feet), so I am eagerly participating in every race I can find in the area. After the race, I spent the afternoon sleeping and the evening lesson planning.