It turns out there’s a big difference between what my Colorado friends would call camping and what my Colombian friends call camping. In Bucaramanga you typically go camping at a finca. A finca is a family farm with space for putting up tents and often hotel rooms as well. There’s always a restaurant and sometimes a swimming pool too; much different than backwoods camping in Colorado, but equally relaxing. On Sunday afternoon five friends and I took a bus into the hills east of Bucaramanga. The wonderful thing about Bucaramanga is that there’s a plethora of villages and towns to visit in every direction and they can all be reached by bus for $1.50. After about 40 minutes we got dropped off on the side of the road and started the long hike up the driveway to El Carajo. It was much colder up there than it is in Bucaramanga, so refreshing!
When we arrived at El Carajo there was a large sign advertising all the drinks and food available in their restaurant. It turns out my heavy backpack full of food and a gallon of water was not entirely necessary for this camping trip. We pitched our tents and then settled into the patio with some warm agua de panella while we watched the fog give way to a sky full of stars.
After a chilly night we got up early and went on a hike through the neighboring ecological preserve.
Our first stop was a strange artificial cave that had been built in a ditch. It was a short, spooky walk through the “cave” with murciélagos (bats) flying towards our heads.
Our next stop was El Gran Mirador (The Great Viewpoint), which lived up to its name.
I returned to Bucaramanga fully relaxed, but anxious to spend my last night with Lis – my German friend from AIESEC. Her goodbye party included a hearty amount of salsa dancing (my favorite!). Sadly, my salsa moves don’t quite (yet) compare to those of my friend Carlos.
This afternoon Andres and I accompanied Lis to the airport for her flight back to Germany! Lis has been my best friend here in Bucaramanga and will be dearly missed!