Home » Uncategorized » Caminata (Pan de Azúcar-Vereda San José-Bosque de Duendes-Alto de los Padres)

Caminata (Pan de Azúcar-Vereda San José-Bosque de Duendes-Alto de los Padres)

I’ve been itching to explore all the hills around Bucaramanga, so this Sunday I joined a trip organized by a local group of hikers (in Spanish: senderistas). Despite a late ending to salsa dancing the night before, I sprang out of bed at 6:15 and made my way to Parque La Flora to meet the hiking group. As I was expecting, I was the youngest one in the bunch of hikers. After spending the past few years hanging out in bingo parlors, volunteering at museums and doing tai-chi in the park I’ve embraced the fact that my interests seem to most closely align with those of the 55 and over population. I was warmly welcomed by the whole hiking group in their adorable, matching hiking club t-shirts. We began with a little stretching and then a mandatory exchange of hugs/well-wishes with all the group members. From there we started climbing and climbing up hills and soon had beautiful views of Bucaramanga from above. One thing I appreciate about the landscape of Bucaramanga is that a mere twenty minutes of walking from my neighborhood results in a total change of scenery with a thick, jungle-like forest obscuring any signs of the nearby city. Our first stop on the hike was a tranquil lagoon which seemed to be something of a secret since many people on the hike had never been before.

DSCF9872

DSCF9875

In addition to being a beautiful place to relax, our leader told us that the location of lagoon also makes it a great place to feel earthquakes. The Santander department is one of the most seismically active locations in the world. Mesa de Los Santos, a town an hour from Bucaramanga, experiences 40 earthquakes a day! On more than one occasion I’ve been asked if I felt that tremor this morning or last night, but they’re always so small that I have yet to experience one for myself.

No hike in Santander would be complete without some cows along the path.

No hike in Santander would be complete without some cows along the path.

DSCF9883

DSCF9884

It has been my experience that every nearby city contains some wall painted with super-cute Christmas cartoon characters.

DSCF9881 DSCF9885

DSCF9890

Our walk followed a mostly forested path that occasionally ran through small neighborhoods. We made a few stops to both admire the myriad of butterflies around us and to ask ourselves if we would ever make it to the top of the mountain; this hike was turning out to be a bit beefier than what we had expected. However, the greatest part of hiking in Santander is that just when you’re in dire need of refreshment you happen to come across a local vendor of sweet treats. When I hiked to the Montefiore waterfall last weekend we were re-energized after 2.5 hours of climbing steep trails by a farmer selling cuajada (fresh cheese) and bocadillo (guava fruit candy) on the side of the road. On this hike we came across a woman selling fresh peach juice, arepas and a dessert that was something like peach flan. It wasn’t soon after this snack break that we arrived at the final destination – a restaurant on the top of mountain. We devoured some arepas de choclo and hot chocolate while gazing out over palm trees and grassy hills.

DSCF9892

This unflattering picture of myself serves to show you how welcomed this peach dessert was in my sweaty state of exhaustion.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Caminata (Pan de Azúcar-Vereda San José-Bosque de Duendes-Alto de los Padres)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s