As our last volunteering didn’t go quite as expected, the very first moment we had access to internet in one of the neighbors house, we tried to find our way out of there. Andrea, who together with Luis were our amazing hosts in Bogota had told us that if we planned on going to Mongui we could stay at her parents house in Sogamoso, a city nearby. So we asked Andrea if that was still an option, and in a heartbit she arranged everything and we were good to go.
So we took a bus to Villa de Leyva, and there raised our finger hoping for a car to get us going to our destination. We were really lucky, and 3 guys picked us up and took us to Paipa, only 30 km away from Sogamoso. It was a really funny ride. They talked us into visiting the town, so when we arrived we took our bags and started walking around. The main attraction are some thermal waters 12 km away from town, and a lake. Don’t mean no bad, but let’s just say that if you’re travelling to Colombia, there’s not much of a need to go to Paipa. To get to the lake we had to walk quite a lot, at some point I misunderstood the instructions an old woman gave me and we took the wrong turn and ended up in a field full of cows and cow shit. We checked the GPS and we could see that a big lake should be right next to us, but all I could see were cows and shit till up until where the mountains started, far far from our position. It was a funny moment, looking for the nonexistent lake. Turned out we just had to walk a few hundred meters more to the left and there it was.Here’s the lake for everyone’s delight:
After all the excitement provided by the eighth wander that lake was, it was getting late, so from Paipa we picked a bus straight to Sogamoso, where the lovely, caring, and amazing people that Sara and Abelardo are, made us feel like home. They told us their stories, showed us around, gave us plenty of tips, fed us with incredibly tasty dishes and basically made our stay a privilege we were so happy to have found.
The first day we decided to go to Tota Lake, which is sited above 3,100 meters in the amazing Andes, which comes with a really nice white sand beach. After missing the other white sand beach that is in Iguaque, it felt good to visit this place, and this time for free. During high season there might be a fee, but the guy at the entrance just told us to walk in without paying. It was not a particularly sunny day, but rather a cold, and at times rainy kind. Despite the weather we still enjoyed a lot, and gave our self a nice treat of a little boat trip around the lake. A Colombian woman that sat next to me was freaking out every time the boat moved a bit, and she started grabbing my knee with an incredible force considering her age. Her daughter told her to please give up on that idea, but after I had told her that I was fine with it, that hand wasn’t going anywhere.
It was a whole family travelling together. During the trip I talked a bit with one of the kids and we laughed quite some. Once we were back at the beach, I could hear their parents telling him that I was a “gringo”. He got all worried and came over to ask me : “Are you a gringo?”. I said no, and he walked back so relieved he didn’t have fun with a gringo, as if that was the worst thing that could have happened to him.
The region around Tota is famous for its onions. Our host told us great money is made in this area out of this veggie, which apparently grows like crazy in here. I bet you never thought that the way to make some big money was to get yourself some onions! The fields around the lake where plagued with onions, the green blink blink.
While walking around the place, Kasia found her true Colombian love, a friendly, loving creature.
The next day we went to Mongui. The beautiful thing to do here is to walk up in the mountain, where there’s a great hike, but we arrived late, so we only visited the town. It’s still a place worth visiting, very nice architecture and the surroundings are really beautiful.
Mongui is famous in the region as the main producer of balls, football balls. There are little workshops, which are also shops, everywhere around the town.
From Mongui we took a bus to Nobsa, which our hosts had recommended to visit. Another beautiful village of the 136 that are in the region of Boyaca. Nobsa is famous for its handcrafts, mainly textiles, but one can also find some nice sweets. The place is really nice, and great to walk around enjoying the little streets.
Sogamoso is very close to the region called “Los Llanos Orientales” ( The Eastern Plains) which both of our hosts told us to be amazing, and even told us to be their number one place in Colombia. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit them, but if you’re planning a visit to the country, I would strongly recommend you to check them out.
Boyaca was really incredible, the landscapes are just terrific, amazing views everywhere, great for walking around with this astonishing green color following you in every step.