First taste of Colombia

A lovely cathedral in Popayan, Colombia

Anna walking along the whitewashed walls of Popayan´s main square

After a long couple days of traveling from Ecuador, we decide to make a stop in Popayan, Colombia before heading to Cali.

And having read that it was Colombia´s second most architectually impressive spot (next to Cartagena) and also that it was named an UNESCO gastronomic city, we decided this was a city worth spending a few nights in.

If you haven’t noticed the prevalence of food related talk on this blog, nothing gets us quite as excited as the promise of good food.

The city of Popayan is distinguished by its colonial architecture and clean, white walls. Because of this, the entire city center has a spotless, and orderly feel to it. The park is spacious with exotic flowering trees surrounding a fountain. Street venders sell various delicious fruit-based concoctions, palm fruit, the ubiquitous candy & ice cream, arepas- yummy thick, corn-based tortillas- and envueltos (Colombian style tamale). The days here are sunny and warm; the nights comfortably crisp. Our hostel -Park Life- is a historical house spot in the middle of all the quant beauty.

Like many other places we’ve explored, we spend one full day walking the city; enjoying the hot sun, getting a small taste of the flavor of the city.

Once again we decide to take the street food approach (big surprise) to Popayan, never spending more than $3 on any one meal. This allows us to get a small taste of lots of different treats- including a Colombian favorite- arepas which taste like fresh cornbread with cheese; Pan de Bono (a bread baked with cheese), Champus (chunky fruit juice), plus strange and exotic fruits like uchuvas and lulos (tart fruit unique to Colombia that is awesome in juice), and a strange milk & guanabana mixture.

Chontaduro- the fruit of a palm- seasoned with sugar and honey. Tastes like a starchier, slightly less sweet, sweet potato. We werent fans.

Corn Arepa with cheese

Strange marshmellow like candy made from animal fat and oatmeal

My personal favorite- uchuvas- seedless, sweet and tart: like some kind of lovechild of a mandarin and passion fruit

At night we buy a bottle, actually a box, of cheap wine after buying arepas (different from the others we had previously tried), and ice cream (we had to see how it was different from Ecuador ice cream) for dinner. We drink the wine in our hostel’s dimly lit sun room on cozy floor pillows and muse on our plans for Columbia, as chill, foreign music fills the rooms. Rather enticing smells come from the hostel kitchen, where Hip French travelers wearing trendy glasses cook a late dinner.

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It’s one of those satisfying nights that we are perfectly happy heading for our bunks by 10 PM …

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