The trip to Popayan, was just another long bus ride. The two exciting things were that the bus driver forgot to pick up some passengers and had to add two more hours to our already very long journey! He received a call, swore a lot, and turned the bus around! Picked up the eight stranded passengers, and again turned back! Lots of landslides in the mountains. Heavy rains cased waterfalls and muddy roads along the way.

Then we stopped somewhere, and the driver asked this truck for ” air”! He got out of the bus, looked at his front tyre, and put in a request! Finally we just stopped as the tyre was completely flat!! I had a chuckle! Did he really believe a bit of air would have fixed this tyre?? It was as flat as a pancake!! It took over an hour to fix! The jack was broken! The tools were missing! And the ” new” tyre would have been thrown out long ago in Oz! There was totally NO thread on it at all! By now I am fully aware WHY everybody crosses themselves before a trip, WHY there are praying chapels at bus stations, and WHY there are NO atheists on Colombian roads!

I arrived in Popayan late Sunday night. Stayed the first night in an empty dorm room in the centre. The blankets were see through, but the coffee tasty, delicious and very HOT. Amazingly friendly staff, but the hostel was booked out for the next five days, so Monday morning I went bed hunting. Found a dorm room , cheap, clean, huge and central. I was on my own! At A$9,50 per night, it was a complete bargain! I booked and paid for three nights.

Then I went to look for the musea and art gallery. I found them but of course, it was Monday, so they were all totally closed! Okay an early night then! Tuesday morning I caught a very early mini bus to Silvia, where the BIG markets are. I took some extra money, in case I saw something I liked! Looking for a traditional shoulder bag, to store all the little pressies in!! The drive to Silvia was awesome. The mountainous journey was mystical.

Every Tuesday all the local indigenous people arrive from the mountains to sell their wares and to do their own shopping! I was there very early, people were still setting up! I had been looking at the traditional handbags, which were crocheted in wonderful patterns. I had decided to buy one. I seem to have a thing for bags. Bags and jackets!

The bags are ¬†around thirty to forty dollars depending on the patterns and materials used. This young woman was so determined to make a sale, that she grabbed her OWN bag, took everything out, and sold it to me for twenty five dollars! I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was not a favourite of mine! I bought two bottle holders as well. All the patterns are symbolic. Representing the mountains, rivers etc. The people don’t like being photographed, so I just “sneaked” a few on my camera. The ones taken on he iPad were all taken with permission!

On the Wednesday I went back to all the musea that were closed on Mondays. Popayan’s centrum is very colonial, with all the buildings being brightly white washed. A shame that the youth of Popayan seems to have the need to tag each and every building! I did a lot of walking and was glad to catch the bus to Cali next day! It seems that my travelling days are also my “rest and relaxation” days!