Colombia is beautiful. If you have to be lost in the mountains, this is a great country to do it in! So many small villages, gorgeous churches and amazing views everywhere. But, we weren’t really lost. We took a back route because we wanted to buy some home-made chocolate from a ranch. Then we were too far down a dirt road to turn back. So we explored villages and churches.
We found a river with bizarre holes in the rocks that the river flowed in and out of. Very beautiful.
And we met a group of men that were hauling coffee beans out of the jungle to be processed.
We worked on Nica’s skills at waiting outside a church, as we went in to explore many small, village churches. And we took quite a few photos of the insides of those churches! But the true highlight of our time being lost in the mountains of Colombia was the experience in the small village of Aguada.
We arrived into this village just before dusk. We knew there was nothing more for hours, and we didn’t want to break our “never drive at night rule”. We asked the police if we could park overnight on the town square and they were happy to say “yes”! We leveled up the truck as best we could, made dinner and watched a movie. The village was quiet and there was no one in the central park all night long,
The next morning was a different story. The town was active with people and dogs everywhere. Many had walked to town to attend church. Across the street from us was a building with a row of a dozen elderly folks sitting in wheelchairs watching us. Others arrived in town with gunny-sacks, woven baskets and bundles in their arms. They all entered a central building, and people proceeded to come and go through that building for the next two hours. Of course, curiosity got the best of us and we had to take a look inside!
There we found a farmers market! No tables, no signs, no beauty products or handicrafts, just a genuine meeting of farmers. They were buying, selling and trading products directly from their farms. We saw fresh killed chicken and pork, leafy greens, carrots, beets, fruits, beans, tamales, fresh caught trout and potatoes. Big sacks of potatoes!
So we drank our coffee, and ate our fruit and granola and thought about this little village that had hosted us. Suddenly it dawned on us that the folks across the street (in the wheelchairs) were living at a state-operated senior home. And we knew what we would do to thank Aguada for hosting us. We went to the farmers market and bought a sack of potatoes for the senior home. Not just a bag, but a true gunny-sack, about 100 pounds of farm fresh, dirty potatoes. This cost us about $17.00usd. Then Mike and a young man hauled the potatoes into the senior home and up the stairs to the kitchen. They were shocked to find NO FOOD inside the kitchen. The staff began crying and explaining that they were truly worried about food, and this was a miracle! It was so touching.
But now the ice was broken and the villagers were curious. What was this crazy vehicle doing in their town, and what was inside? A couple of them approached and asked to come in. We offered a home tour! Soon there were people lined up outside the camper, waiting their turn to come in to see our house.
The farmers, the people from the church, the families of the police….. they all wanted to see inside this curious house. So we toured and toured and practiced our Spanish until the last person was satisfied. Then one last lady came in. She had a bottle of wine made from a local berry. She toasted us for our donation and our kindness and then sold me a bottle of homemade wine.
Then we packed up our slow house and bumped our way out of Aguada and down from the mountains that we were “lost” in. We hit pavement and reflected on the amazing day spent parked on the central plaza of a tiny mountain village in Colombia.
Thanks for joining us for this little story. We are on our way out of Colombia soon. Watch for one last story about this wonderful country, and then join us as we enter Ecuador!