Betulia [English]

(La versión en español aquí.)

While the rest of Bucaramanga was stumbling home from a late night out at the bars I was making my way out of bed and to San Pio park at 3 in the morning on Sunday. I met my hiking group, Caminantes de Santander, and we boarded the buses for Betulia. Betulia is a town and municipality in our department of Santander, located 2.5 hours to the south of Bucaramanga near Zapatoca.

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A very Colombian problem – big bus unable to navigate the narrow streets of a colonial town.

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Betulia [Español]

Mientras todo el mundo estaba saliendo el bar después de una noche larga, yo estaba madrugándome y caminando para San Pio a las 3 por la mañana el Domingo. Encontré a los Caminantes de Santander y nos abordamos los buses para Betulia. Betulia es un pueblo y municipio de Santander que queda 2.5 horas al sur de Bucaramanga por Zapatoca.

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Nuestro bus atrapado en las calles estrechas de Betulia.

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I’m helping a friend translate a super interesting documentary about Pedro Emilio Gamboa Botia, better known as Peligam. He’s an 87-year-old man still living in Bucaramanga who pioneered 1-hour photo developing and was the first in the city to play street hockey. He’s also a poet and an artist and all around interesting man. Here’s the trailer for the documentary.


There´s a fairly new shop in Bucaramanga called Naif which sells all sorts of handmade treats. I was tickled to learn of its existence because there are no other shops like it here. They put on workshops fairly regularly and last weekend held one about weaving in the tradition of the Guanes – the indigenous people that lived in this area before the Spaniards wiped them out. The workshop was being held at a hostel in the desert oasis of La Mojarra – an area in the mountains I´ve been to before to go hiking and climbing. As a long-time lover of handicrafts it took little convincing to get me to sign up.

On Saturday morning we met at the store and headed up to the Juan Palitos hostel in a van. We had breakfast and then started collecting bamboo to make our weaving frames. I was excited to learn that the first step of weaving was hacking away at bamboo with a machete.

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