After a few long days of shuttling back and forth between the customs office in Cartagena, the port and our hotel, aptly named Casa Marlin, we managed to free our car along with his buddy Cabello from their container in Cartagena’s port.
Happy to have our little red rocket back we headed out to check out some of Colombia’s countryside.
After a long 13 hour drive (check out a map to see just how large Colombia is in comparison with all of Central America) we landed in the most charming village called Barichara. Founded in 1705, this small town is lined with cobbled streets and white-washed stone buildings. It feels whimsical and fairytale-like, complete with running school children, the friendliest townspeople and a sense of joyful separation from the rest of the world. Try the empanadas from the small panaderia (bread and pastry shop) on the corner of the main plaza.
Next up was playground of Bogota’s elite, Villa de Leyva, where the weather drops in temperature but the trendy restaurants and art shops increase considerably. We happened to arrive during the week which led to room in a hospedaje (a small hotel) for much less than normal complete with hot showers! The Plaza Mayor is just that…major. This huge square is covered in cobblestones and surrounded with white colonial buildings – it is also the perfect place to drink too many lattes, people watch and enjoy the sun. There are a few museums to check out but we ended up wandering the streets and enjoying some downtime.
The following day we took Marlin to visit Raquira, a town known for its good-quality pottery, and as it turns out the entire town is dedicated to artesanias and you can buy much more than just pottery from this host of colourful buildings. Somehow, though we don’t have a lot of space in the car, we came away with a set of 6 typical stone-polished bowls but, for some reason, none of these: