Friday, September 19, 2008


I promised I would continue with our virtual trip of my Colombia, and here I am, back with a lot of pictures and a few words. I grew up in Popayan, a beautiful colonial city in the southwest of Colombia, with its white facades, and spanish architecture. I was influenced early on by the beauty around me, the green mountains in the horizon, the orderly balconies above my head, the great spaces inside the churches. Popayan is a city known for its traditions, and its culture. We have a spectacular Easter celebration that involves everyone living in the city. Some are protagonists, and some are there to see it all. You should think about a visit!

Our house sits in the outskirts of the city, and it has always felt like a world away. When we moved to the neighborhood, there were few houses in it. I remember climbing trees, looking for frogs with my best friend, having the largest backyard a child can dream of. The house stands in the same place, overlooking the Cauca river, surrounded by old oaks, and enjoying an enviable solitude, even today.

My mom lives here by herself, but she is not alone, as there are many birds making the rounds to have some plantain at the feeder she placed in front of her bedroom window. There were so many of them and with so many different colors and shapes, that we kept ourselves busy just looking at their comings and goings.

This is a little peak at my mom's house. What a peaceful and beautiful place. We made sure to stay in the house most of the time, reading in the hammock, sunbathing, going for a run at the nearby sport center, talking, and eating. But we also took sometime off to visit nearby towns. Like a Tuesday morning, when we left Popayan before 5:00 AM, and we rode north on a small bus, up and up the mountains we went, until we got to Silvia. Tuesday is market day in Silvia, and since the town sits nearby several indigenous reservations, it is quite an interesting place to visit.

Silvia is at an altitude of 1947 mts (6391 feet), temperatures are usually low:12 C (53 F) and most produce grown here is limited to strawberries, onions, potatoes (You wouldn't believe how many different potatoes there are), flowers, and some fruit. Most of what you see in this photo had been hauled up the mountain to diversify the local's options. As Colombia is near the Ecuator, temperatures are relatively the same all year round, and climate changes with altitude. All those mangoes, papayas, oranges, etc, come from towns in the valleys bellow, a couple hours away.

The Guambiano people have inhabited these region since the time before the Spanish conquerors. As I mentioned above the Guambiano people have a series of reservations (resguardos) where they have been able to keep their cultural traditions, and language almost intact. Women and men alike wear the traditional woven attire (anaco) with the same traditional colors. Women wear black skirts with blue tops, and the men wear blue skirts with blue, sometimes grey tops. The traditional straw hat has been replaced with a wool one. All these details a feast for the senses.

I leave you with a couple of smiles. Next a peek at Bogota, my husband's hometown and where we met.

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