Arrival in Colombia!

The adventure begins!  After a very long but fairly uneventful day of airports and airplanes, our intrepid travelers arrived in Bogota in the middle of the night Monday.  (Really early Tuesday morning.)  From there, they transitioned to a bus station where a favorable connection got them onto an express bus departing for the colonial town of Barichara, the first real stop of the trip.

imagejpeg_0Nina writes about their first Colombian meal in the bus station:

The hum of the fluorescent lighting was clearly audible under the sound of quiet, mumbled conversations and shuffling feet, mixed with bursts of laughter and shouts from travelers.  It was the middle of the night, and shop owners were still eager to serve customers sizzling meat and clinking glass bottles to anyone who asked. The bus station was clearly made to be a hub of activity, but in the middle of the night, there were only a few wanderers among families and travelers huddled together trying to sleep. There was a clear juxtaposition: our surroundings were clearly worn out in every way,  yet smiles were still exchanged and help was always offered. There was a comforting amount of hospitality, and kindness was second nature. None of us fully understood what we were ordering for dinner, but a smile and a laugh was all that was necessary to get us far in this foreign land together. We sat, opening Coke bottles, eating food with different names, waiting for our bus to arrive and struggling to believe that this adventure had finally begun.

photo[3]Most of the travelers slept on the bus to Barichara. Once there they settled into their hostal and began absorbing their surroundings.  Barichara, a town well up into the hills is pleasant, quiet, and ancient, reflecting its Spanish past.  One notable activity in Barichara was a hike to the small village of Guane.  This allowed students to continue practicing Spanish and eating Colombian fare. The group was in good spirits!

America writes:
photoI awake before the sun has a chance to fully summit the sky. We are still groggy from the night as we stumble up the hill from the hostal. At every intersection of the stone roads of Barichara we pause; in every direction there are streets we have not yet explored. Before we have the chance to reach the statue of Simon Bolivar, we turn right. Meandering down the trail, Camino Real de Guane, we are surrounded with a variety of plant life new to my eyes. Being fully enthralled with the landscape, the five mile trail seemed like a mere stroll.
photo[2]
                                                                                                                   Another notable activity in Barichara involved students heading out on a scavenger hunt for a picnic lunch that forced them to use their Spanish skills and interact with locals.  Following the hunt, the group went for a sunset hike along the ridge of Barichara looking over the Andes.
Already the trip is forming a rich reservoir of experiences and memories!photo[1]
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