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San Gil

May 6, 2012

San Gil is at first glance a fairly uninteresting city at the bottom of a hilly descent. However the streets reward walking around and it opens up as a friendly mountain town.

After walking the streets of San Gil, finding a supermarket to buy a few essentials and checking email we went to a small park at the North end of town, El Gallineral. This park was on the river and had lots of trees draped in a type of moss called Barbas de Viejo (Old man’s beard). There were a large number of red squirrels in the park as well, a novelty for those of us from England as they have been wiped out at home.

After this we needed to find somewhere to stay for the night and settled on a Balenario about 4km up the hill from town. It was really quiet and had a big pool to cool down. The nights here are cool but the days are well over 30c.



In the morning we set out of for the town of Barichara which is a very slow 15km from San Gil and is a beautiful old colonial town. All the buildings are painted white and are in similar style, the streets are cobbled and the pace of life is so slow that it feels as though time has barely touched this little town.

In the afternoon we drove 15km the other side of San Gil, on a paved but heavily potholed road, to Cascadas de Juan Curi, a 180m waterfall. The hike in was only around 20 minutes through forest. On arriving at the foot of the waterfall we had to cross the river – flowing very fast over a slippery rock floor – with the aid of a rope across and then climb a small cliff to get up to the main waterfall.

We had taken our swimming costumes for a cooling off dip but it was really pumping water and the wind it created was so strong that it almost blew you off your feet.  There was no way to swim under the waterfall that day.  A week later after leaving San Gil we heard that the town was flooded so I guess it’s probably not always that powerful.



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