By the time I arrived in Popayán it was 5 in the afternoon and they offered me the possibility of traveling to San Agustín in the 6 o'clock van. I passed the subject when they told me that the road was endless bumps in the middle of the jungle and the mountain and the estimated arrival time was 1.30 in the morning. Nor of a pussy.
So I caught a taxi and to the center. I looked at the hostel in the guide that my French friend had given me that I would be working back as a watchman in a castle in France or something like that. What a great guy this Leo! For 12,000 pesos I shared a room with 5 people near the center. The truth is that the place was very shabby and the shower barely had hot water half an hour a day, but for one night to spare.
I left things and went to see the place before nightfall.
Popayán is a very young and alive city. You see when you go out and see that the historic center is full of internet businesses, photocopies, university academies and cheap apartments. It is the university city par excellence of the Southwest of Colombia.
The whole center has an intense colonial air that I did not see from Cuenca or Quito, in Ecuador. The buildings are white with their dark wooden balconies and their pots giving it some color. Public power offices are mixed with small businesses, bars, hotels, hostels, statues reminiscent of conquerors and liberators and, of course, churches.
The afternoon air was fresh despite being in the Northern Hemisphere and having entered the month of May. He breathed well.
I walked around my ball, with my hands in my pockets and watching everything, but especially people. I love looking at people from places I don't know, and even some that I know.
For those who like cultural visits, tell them that they can see the Gold Museum and a large number of churches such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and the convent of San Agustín. Caldas Park is one of the symbols of the historic center of Popayán, considered by some to be the best preserved in Colombia and one of the most beautiful in Latin America.
After a wandering little hour I went to the nose -o hill-of Tulcán The taxi driver who brought me from the bus station had told me. The uncle was right: the sunset on a clear day from the top of the hill, is like the ads of the masterjarrrllll (I do not want to do free advertising): they are priceless.
The hill is attached to the same center and ascends with a 10-minute walk. Groups of kids and college kids talked, smoked and drank some beer splashing the green of the grass on the slopes of the hill. With my multi-pocket trousers and the Quechuarrlll polo (I still do not advertise) a kid who went with his dog and sold figurines made with wire had to identify me as a guiri and came to talk to me and, incidentally, sell me a wired sculpture. Very uncle the uncle, I bought a wire dog that does not bark and does not shit, so better than the real ones.
Then I sat close on one of the sides, near the top, and I stayed to see how the Sun was hidden by the mountains of the West, staining everything orange first and violet later. The view from there made me realize the particular beauty of the city I was contemplating. The center of Popayán reminded me of those postcards of Italian cities that show aerial photos where you see brown or pink roofs and a multitude of domes and beautiful buildings. The harmony of the set under the evening light was perfect. Undoubtedly, one of the best - the best with urban landscape - of which I contemplated in the 7 months of travel.
I had a quick dinner and spent the rest of the night exploring streets and squares that looked melancholic under orange lighting, on the night of a Monday of any normal week. But it was my only Monday in this city, my only sunset and my only walk in the quiet accomplice of the night. After a while I sat on one of the banks of the Caldas Park and I started listening to music while only a couple of couples were already walking in the cool night.
The experience left me very tempted to go from taking the van the next day to San Agustin and spend a couple more days in the place. But the few days that I had left on my trip and the maxim that says that to the places that have left you a very good memory, you should not return (adapted to the occasion, of course), made me get up at 7 to take the bus 8.
How great to be sitting in front of the computer screen in the curro - yes, I am writing this article during working hours, to say that Spaniards are not productive abroad - and to be able to close my eyes to move to that hill on that sunset . Great Popayán!