We said goodbye to the Caribbean and again headed for the mountains. They seem to have called us, and not only according to us, but also according to many, that is where the heart of a country is and that is where the biggest hearts in Colombia are. Of course the distance was huge, as was the cost of the bus. We are not the people who will pay 160 000 pesos (60 dollars) for a bus. This is the kind of money we sometimes spend a whole week on, and despite our little time left, we have not resisted the temptation: to wait again on the road to find new friends and emotions. Emotions were not too late, even if a little negative to admit. We walked about 3-4 km, under the hot, Caribbean sun, until we reached the exit of a city that, according to locals, was only 15-20 mines. We have not received accurate information from locals about how far something is. Therefore, we no longer believe them and ask, but just walk. Nevertheless, we knew that this was the fate of the traveler and often one had to go through a series of difficulties until he was "lucky". The desired "smile" did not come.
We had already waited about 2 hours under the hot sun, and just when we had lost hope and a steady amount of water coming out of our sweaty bodies, the old jeep stopped. With Plamen, we saw the kindness in the eyes of the man who led us to the much-desired fork, lying about 150 km from Riohacha. There was more movement there, and that's exactly what we were looking for. After a short wait, another red jeep stopped:
- Where are you going?
- I'm there too. Get on!
- Can you please?
- No! I have to pay gasoline, the highway fee and more.
"Tell you the truth, Senor, you will pay them anyway." Bye!
After a while, we changed locations and passed a white van that hit the right of the road. We decided to ask the driver if he was heading south, and as we approached, we realized that there was "hot Colombian blood" behind the wheel. There was a conversation on the phone and it was very emotional, more emotional than you might imagine. We did not disturb the man and continued. After about 5 minutes, the same white van passed us and stopped.
- Mochileros, Mochileros (that's what travelers with backpacks say)! Get on! I'll throw you to Bucaramanga if you're there!
- Can you have a gratis?
- Of course! Yes you are mochileros.
We climbed and traveled for about two days with Enrique, who couldn't complain about the lack of talk. He spoke a lot to the man as well as to us, with the only difference being that we could hardly understand the words coming out of his mouth quickly. However, after about 2-3, we got used to it, and that gave us confidence. In the evening, Enrique was not driving, so the moment the sun fell we stopped looking for a place to sleep. Our new friend saved us negotiations and coiled all the hostel managers to sleep for the price we had set. After we found it, we found ourselves waiting in the morning at 6.00 to continue our journey together. Said, done! We went, drinking lots of coffee, because Enrique insisted. We even had to repair the vehicle together. A fun trip that was over. Everyone took their own path, and we reached our final destination for just 40 thousands of pesos in total (14-15 dollars), obviously richer in all aspects. That is why we prefer to travel at a stop!
The Santander area has proven to be beautiful, not only because of the ants that are offered at every corner instead of chips (something typical of Santander only), but also because of the numerous mountains, rivers and canyons. Even more wonderful was the fact that we were hiking in mountains and villages. The first village where we "camped" for two days was Barichara. With a history of over 300, it has managed to preserve its ancient look from the time of the Spanish conquistadors and a dream set for Hollywood directors. From Baricara we took a few hours' walk to Guana, another 'hidden pearl' in the Columbia Mountains. The village was small, calm and with a thick shadow under which we relaxed our tired bodies.
It was the warming for the transition that awaited us for the next two days through the stunning Chikamochea Canyon. With a slight muscle fever we set off for the unknown. The map did not exist and the trail was lost at times. So we had to ask random passersby or small farms along the way where to go. We were not embarrassed by this, because before our eyes we had views like these:
After literally a full day of walking, we finally reached Jordan. A village inhabited by 50 man, lying in the heart of the canyon, right by the river Umpala. It was dark, our feet were hurting and our strength was only to cook spaghetti. Everything else didn't matter.
The next morning we woke up to the 5 hours, not from the phone alarm, but from the annoying roar of a cock that had started harassing us an hour before. Just before we left, two girls entered the yard where we were sleeping. They looked scared, tired, hungry, and in clothes far from the mountain, even with no backpacks. One girl had a sore arm that was bleeding and didn't look good. Subsequently, we realized that there was a displacement of the thumb and a broken wrist. We left the backpacks and immediately removed the first aid kit. We gave them everything they needed to clean the wound and bandage it, and then offered them breakfast. They told us that they were lost and had to wander the whole 4 hours in the dark until they found the village. Unfortunately - the wrong thing for them! They had arrived at 22.00 hours in Hordan, and for their great joy, the woman in whose yard we slept had sheltered them. They told us about their woes and why the girl in the dark slipped on the steep path and the stones ruthlessly seized her delicate palm. They admitted that this was a lesson they had learned the hard way. The girls thanked us. We said "Hi!" And wished them luck. We took the backpacks up the canyon, and they were exhausted, hired their mules.
After hours of climbing up the canyon, the only thing that gave us strength was the panorama and the morning rain that cooled our sweaty bodies. It was a transition that we liked for two reasons: First, that it put our physical forces to the test, and second, that precisely because of the steep descent and climb all the time, the place was a "distant and unthinkable stop" for tourists. The only inhabitants were the goats that "happily" clicked happily from the green canyon, much like us - Anton and Plamena.