Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Kiryo on May 11, 2006

Location: Barichara

Waking up plenty early, breakfast at the town’s plaza consisted of a couple of chicken and rice empanadas, fruit salad, and orange juice (fresh, of course). It was $2. Then the idea was to reach the Miradero, a distant 10-minute walk at the literal edge of the town, just after the small, quaint cemetery. From here you can view the Andes, green and high, several birds of prey flying not 10m away from you, and if you’re in the mood for a few cold ones in the AM then there is also a small bar open to suit your needs if the view isn’t enough to soothe your stress away. Do wear sunscreen.

A couple of hours hike down the incline road at the Miradero, across the valley below (the Miradero and Barichara are perched on the edge of a cliff about 300m high), you can find the Guane village of… Guane. There is a small museum here that documents Guane culture, and even though Guane was not visited, at least I could see it barely from the Miradero, softly nestled into the mountains across the valley from where I was slowly baking my arms. It is supposedly a town for no cameras, so if you are interested in seeing the Guane, at least make sure your camera stays in your pocket or your day bag. Do respect this kind of tradition and you’ll improve your technique of remembering places using your other senses. In order to assist you in this endeavor, your olfaction becomes important in these areas of Colombia. From the scent of several species of trees that adorn the roads here, to the smell of roasting meats at several outdoor asaderos… to the sugary smell of panela being prepared, you are guaranteed an olfactory experience you will remember at least until your epithelial olfactory neurons are replaced… but its been more than a month now, and I can still smell many wonderful things from Barichara.

Barichara’s cathedral is very large for a town this size. It is indeed a surprise to see such a large building in such a small place, and albeit political favors in the Church not being an issue nowadays (haha), there is the sense that such a large edifice kind of belongs in Barichara. This is more so during Sunday morning, when the regular bells from the bell tower beckon all the faithful to congregate for mass. This is Latin America at its commonest, most unifying tradition—the Church. And to think that I would miss out on this!! I dare write that the cathedral here, and the couple of other churches in town (yes! more!!) do add to the romantic charm of the location… on one side you have the Andes and on the other, the Old World represented in religion. This makes for an interesting mixture of new and old that combines to give a unique flavor that defines pretty much most of Latin America’s cultural past.
Santander, Colombia
Barichara, Colombia

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