Day 59 - Barrancabermeja - 180m Waterfall
Trip Start Jun 13, 2009
178Trip End Jan 26, 2010
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So we headed to the fruit market, gathered up some wonderful smoothies, empanadas, papas and headed back to the hotel to consume our feast. Jody and Niamh were enjoying this style of breakfast. Afterwards we headed off, swimmers underneath our clothes in the hope that we would find a swimming hole. We arrived at the collectivo terminal which would cost $3.5mil pesos each, each way, a total of $28,mil pesos
We walked about four blocks to the collectivo terminal that would take us to Bucuramanga. This is a different terminal to the one we had used before and not easy to find. However fortune favoured us yet again as there was a collective just about to leave with four places available. On we jumped, $60mil pesos for all four of us.
This part of the journey was the most breath taking, and the most nauseas. The three hour journey ascended to what must have been the highest peak in this part of the Andes and descended again to the foot of the mountains. It seemed that every 100metres there was a turn, some hairpin turns and we climbed and hugged one side of a mountain, travelled along its peak high above the clouds and descended again hugging the other side with alarming drops from the side of the road. This route was also frequented by large trucks and, with schedule in mind, the collective took every opportunity to pass the slow trucks, as did many cars. There were many times when there was no view of the road ahead because of the bends and it seemed more hope than skill that no vehicle was coming. I wouldn’t like to try this route on a large bus, and certainly not at night. By the time we had reached its peak Niamh in particular was feeling very sick, and crying silently as a result
We arrived in Bucaramanga about 3-40pm. The terminal was great and it didn’t take us long to find a connecting bus to Barrancabermeja, which left at 4pm. The price was $15mil pesos each. We all had a quick toilet break. There are no toilets on Collectivo’s. We are getting used to making the most of our stops. Christie took time to grab some snacks whilst I Ioaded the bags into the Collectivo. This journey was also going to take two and half hours.
The collective rose again on another side of a mountain and as we left Bucaramanga it gave an awesome sight of the city. Unlike many other places we have been, Bucaramanga is a very modern and clean looking city, with open green parks, modern roads and buildings. It might have been interesting to stop one night, but now our minds were focused on finding a hotel at the next town and the subsequent route tomorrow to Mompos.
We arrived in Barrancabermeja about 6-30pm,it was already very dark. The first thing we noticed was the number of motorcycles and mopeds. There were loads, almost outnumbering the cars. When we stopped we put on our rucksacks and headed down the street. After about 5 minutes we came across a hotel, El Faraon, directions assisted by a helpful local. Fortune favoured us yet again, they had a room for four people, very basic, but with a shower, and it would cost just $60mil pesos. We were able to ascertain from the landlady that the Chalupa’s (fast boats) that would take us to El Banco on our route to Mompos were only a short taxi ride away and they opened at 6am. We arranged a wakeup call and consumed with tiredness hit the sack.