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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Funtimes in San Gil

From Bucaramanga I took a bus down to San Gil, which has a reputation as a mecca for adventure sport enthusiasts. It’s a cool little town with a lively backpackers’ scene, and although I did spend more time “out” than I had up until that point (as you do, traveling on your own), I still managed to get some good writing done at a shady picnic table on the hostel patio.

It’s the easiest thing just to book your rafting, kayaking, rappelling, paragliding, or what have you through your hostel or guesthouse. I stayed at Macondo and it’s excellent—helpful staff, very clean, comfortable common spaces, and attracts a friendly crowd. I also loved wandering through the indoor produce market in the center of town–picked up fresh fruit to nosh on, and a lot of the stalls offer juices and smoothies.

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I rappelled down that waterfall in the background, and someone took this really awesome shot of me as I was doing it, but she never sent it to me. Oh well, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

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I played tejo with a bunch of guys from the hostel. Really fun.

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The other popular thing to do in the area is El Camino Real, a 200-year-old donkey track linking two quaint little colonial towns, Barichara and Guane. Rene and John and I took the bus from San Gil to Barichara, and walked around town for a bit before starting out on El Camino Real.

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The postcard-pretty church on the Barichara town square.

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We had no trouble finding the cute little vegetarian café mentioned in the guidebook, and sat down for a lovely meal.

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These kids were SO OVERJOYED that school was out, it cracked me up. (You can also see how extremely quaint is Barichara!)

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El Camino Real was my favorite part of my time in San Gil. Lovely hills and pastoral scenery and camouflaged butterflies.

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This hairy hanging stuff is known as “old man’s beard.” (I wanted to call it “witches’ beard.” I think that would be way funnier, especially since the effect as you’re standing under it is a little eerie.)

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On the outskirts of Guane, a four-legged local came over to greet us.

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We were taking the local bus back to San Gil, so once we got to Guane it was time for a relaxing drink in a cafe courtyard.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.