The Transnistria parliament building with a statue of Lenin out front. In the city of Tiraspol, Transnistria. Photo taken December 9, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Travel day! Popayan to San Agustin, Colombia.

Had to get up fairly early yesterday to get to the bus station at a decent hour. We had read that the road between Popayan and San Agustin is in pretty bad shape at some parts, and that the 135 km (84 mile) journey would take 5 hours.

Got up, went out to get some take away breakfast stuff, stopped at the BanColombia ATM to get some more pesos then back to the room to grab our bags. As we left the hotel, we flagged down one of the thousands of little yellow taxi cabs, and paid him 3,000 pesos ($1.36 CAD) to take us to the bus station.

Arrived at the station at 8:00am. I had done some research and found that the bus line Cootranshuila had the most regular service. Found their booth, and paid 30,000 pesos ($13.65 CAD) each for the bus ride. He said the bus would leave at 9:15am, so we went out to the platform and sat and waited.

The bus pulled up at around 9:15am, but it didn't leave until almost 10:00am, for whatever reason. We've learned that although a bus may be scheduled to leave at a certain time, it typically won't leave until it's almost full.

Tough to get decent pictures from a bus window, but here are some of the fabulous views along the way...







This used to be a dirt road for the entire distance taking 7 hours. But they've been paving sections over the last two or three years  and have reduced the drive time to under five hours. We had a pretty good bus driver, and we stopped for a bathroom and food break in a little village, but only for a half hour or so.


Can you see the waterfall?


Stopped for a bathroom break. Ruth is speaking to a German tourist who could speak English. His wife was Dutch and spoke no English or Spanish. Other than them, we were the only tourists on the bus.

This sign says "drive with caution and watch for tapirs on the road". Apparently they weigh 200 kilos!


Just after 2:00pm, the bus dropped us off at the corner of the highway leading to San Agustin. From there, a jeep took us the next five kilometers in to town. Right away, a tour guide tout was there to sell us on his particular tour, but we just wanted to get to the hostel. We walked about ten minutes with our bags and arrived at the Hostal Bambu in San Agustin at 2:30pm...ahead of schedule!

Our room. 40,000 pesos ($18.20 CAD) per night for the two of us. That bright spot on the floor is the sun shining in from the bedroom window!

And here is the beautiful view from our bedroom window!

We went out for a late lunch/early dinner. 

These boys were quite happy playing on the sidewalk across the street from the restaurtant.

And this dog was quite happy sleeping.

And this is why we are in San Agustin!

San Agustin has a UNESCO world heritage archaeological park that contains monuments made by a civilization that lived in this area 5,000 years ago. Until about 5 years ago the area was under guerrilla control and it didn't receive many visitors, but the Colombian military has regained control and the area is considered "safe" once again.

This is as far south as we will be going. We are only about 300 kms (180 miles) from the Ecuador border. But from here, we will slowly make our way north towards Bogota.

But first we have to explore this beautiful area!

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A great deal on a portable battery booster for your car...if you don't have one, you should! (the red one appears to be out of stock...click the yellow one...)


And in Canada, a nice little dustbuster cordless vac...




14 comments:

  1. The country side looks beautiful...all green. Is Kevin's rash clearing? I'm curious how long the rash will last. I've been to Mexico several times and the restaurant food began to all taste the same after a few days...some oil they were using had an after taste I didn't like. The best foods were at vendor stands...no after taste and the food was delicious. I did get sick from eating shrimp that we bought at the harbor. Drank mostly bottled water or coke or hot tea. I really, really like how the local people watched for us...i.e.telling us over priced areas to stay from and good local mom and pop cafes to eat at.

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    1. Yes, the county side is stunning!

      No it isn't clearing at all. In fact he thinks that it has even expanded a little more. He stopped taking the antibiotics because they didn't seem to be helping and from his reading they would only help if it was a rash was due to a virus which he didn't think it as to begin with. One of the girls here at the hostel had a good supply of Prednisone so she gave Kevin enough for 3 days. We thought this was a cream but it is a pill. Kevin researched it and it is possible that this may help, we will see.

      We never get tired of Mexican food because there is a large variety of it but here almost everything is the same no matter where you go. I may have to do some cooking just to have a change. Most of the water here is excellent to drink from the tap. You only have to drink bottled water if you see the locals drinking bottled water. We always judge a restaurant by the price of the beer, if it is over 3000 pesos than it is an expensive restaurant and we will head somewhere else. We tend to eat in little mom and pop places.

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  2. Replies
    1. The scenery is what made it a great day!

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  3. I can't wait to see archaeology site pictures. That country side is sure beautiful. Cheers!

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    1. The park was closed yesterday so we are hoping to head there today to see it. We are looking forward to it too.

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  4. Hope your rash is feeling better :) Great country for sure, never heard of anyone that vacationed in Ecuador (but then again no one in Columbia either). Stay safe!!

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    1. There really is no change in it, unfortunately.

      There are actually many expats in Ecuador, it has a lower cost of living than at home but we believe it is more expensive than Colombia. Many people go there because they use the American dollar, and the Galapagos Islands are there which is a major tourist attraction. Definitely not so many tourists in Colombia but we think in another 10 years or so that will change entirely, so we are glad to be doing it now.

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  5. We have students from Columbia visiting our school this month. I'm enjoying sharing your adventures and pictures with them.

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    1. How cool! If they have any suggestions for us, please feel free to pass them on to us. :-)

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  6. Sounds like an "off the beaten track" sort of village, you guys are sure adventuresome, hope health ailments are improving ....lesalp.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Yes, it is more or less. You do get the diehard traveler coming here but other than that it is a little off the radar. Theses are the types of places that we enjoy exporing.

      Not much change in Kevin's rash. We feel it is going to take a fair bit of time to improve, unfortunately. :-(

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  7. The Colombian countryside from your bus ride looks like parts of inland Belize we traveled through by chicken bus -- so green and lush, and there are also tapirs there; in fact, I believe it's the national animal! We never saw one in the flesh but ran across some tracks on a muddy jungle hiking trail. They were HUGE!

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    1. I believe it is much the same in Guatemala too, I remember there being lots of mountains and lots of green there as well. We would have taken a chicken bus too but it seems that the local transport going from Popayan to San Agustin are these smaller van type buses. We would love to see a tapir!

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