We had heard from a few people that Guatape was worth a visit so we took a bus and planned to stay a couple of nights. We were feeing a bit tired so we chose a nice quiet hostel a little out of town. However, unluckily for us, the hostel owners wife was out of town and he decided that he wanted to party the first night! We were both feeling the travel burnout and decided not to get involved, curling up in our beds instead. Randomly the two English guys from the bus to Salento were in our dorm and also decided to go on a big party night and drink lots, even though they had to be up at 5 for the bus. The younger of the two, came in pissed later on and said he would pack in the morning. I became his mother and sternly told him he should pack now (He wasn’t going to be ruining my sleep in the morning!). He obeyed and wasn’t too much trouble although left his hat, which resulted in me carrying it round for three weeks incase we bumped into him again. We decided to stay a few days longer as it was beautiful, however this meant being in different dorms, which was actually a nice break from each other. We hadn’t slept separately since the capsule hotel in Kyoto, Japan. The hostel was unbelievably well placed. These are the views of the rock.
And it had its own lake.
I spent a good amount of time down there on the grass sunbathing and dipping into the (freezing) water. I would have loved to just float on the water all day but the lake bed was full of mud and reeds, and it freaked me out that something was constantly touching my leg!
We climbed the famous rock – “El Penon De Guatape” which had 770 steps in total, in the blistering heat. There were some people who had to have oxygen and didn’t make it, due to the altitude, but we treated it as training for the inca trail. If we failed this we had no chance! We had no problems in the end and got to the top quickly to see the amazing views.
Apparently the rock has only got the “G” written on it, as it is between two towns, and Guatape had started to write “Guatape” before the other town kicked off. So now it is just a G and half a u!!
The town of Guatape was very nice, but little like Salento, felt slightly unauthentic – Like it was putting on a show for tourists. The town was pretty with lots of coloured buildings and cute streets, but there was also an array of shitty trinket stalls and waiters outside restaurants, clearly on commission to get you to come in. Not dissimilar to Spain!
However Guatape holds a special memory for me. Which I will take with me for the rest of my life. And yes this is about food. All my big moments seem to be about food. Bandeja Paisa. This is apparently a very meaty dish but as we were veggie it was egg, fried plantain, arepa, Colombian beans (Oh my god I need to find them in England – These piss all over Heinz), avocado, chips and rice. It was my Colombian equivalent of egg, chips and beans and it was divine. I ate it every night for the rest of the time that I was in Paisa territory!
The last night there, we were feeling a bit more social and chatted to an Ozzy couple who told us about a hostel in Minca. This piece of information changed my life. The blog is coming soon but Minca was my second favourite place on our trip, losing only to Tokyo. I bought a bracelet off the lovely girl who worked in the hostel, who was sustaining her travel by making these lovely beaded bracelets. And I chatted for hours to a young Colombian lad in my room whose english was excellent. He told me all about his country and customs, and said something that stayed with me. “Colombia isn’t a country, it’s a state of mind”