This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mountain Road Pasto to Popayan: The White City

Pasto under the cloud as we leave for Popayan

After debating whether to stay put in Pasto on election Sunday the proprietor of the Koala kindly rang the bus station and found there was one bus leaving at noon, so we jumped in a taxi and headed out to the bus station where our photo blog begins exiting Pasto in the fog ...

Here follow a series of shots of the wild hilly Andean country between Pasto and Popayan which became somewhat of an obsession after the precipitous bus ride the day before. I've added more photos of the previous days journey to the last blog because the Colombian highlands are something out of this world as roads go. The road wound out of Pasto and up into the hills and then down a tortuous descending valley, unfortunately with the mist clouded views on the other side of the bus, which I couldn't reach on crutches. Then suddenly the escarpment shifted to the right and we got these stunning shots of the road winding down a precipitous valley.

The high cliffs opposite the road as we begin to descend the pass 

Two similar views, the first brighter, the second showing the fall away more clearly

The road would for hours gradually down a huge long valley going on down from these images unfortunately on the left side of the bus and then out onto some rolling country. But that wasn't the end if it, because we then began to enter a new set of rolling hill country climbing right back into the clouds again although moving out further from the high hills in the distance.

Finally after stopping for food at this vista point we eventually descended at twilight into the Cauca Valley and Hostel Trail Popayan, where we are now holed up in Western style comfort.

Last night we wandered out in the night to see people celebrating the Colombian presidential election victory shrieking and dancing in circles, as well as a dinner of chicken and chips - reliable and filling if a little short on vitamins, but then the last week Christine has been cooking nutritious meals of mince and vegetables with pasta or potatoes, because all the hostels have a kitchen where you can cook.

The election has pitted Alvaro Uribe's right hand general Juan Manuel Santos with a strong law and order plank especially against the FARC, winning with some 69%, against a most unlikely successor to Ingrid Betancourt, the Green party leader Atanas Mockus an ex-maths professor who has been know to moon his students to gain their attention, and wore a superhero cape to teach civic values, but has nevertheless twice served as Mayor of Bogota and presents a new face to Colombian politics, managing to secure some 27% of the vote, something of a world record for green politics.

San Fransicso Cathedral Popayan beside the Plaza Mayor Parque Caldas

And I have to say the election seems to have gone off with little trouble and not even any police check points stopping our bus between Pasto and Popayan on election day.

This morning we did a walk around the white city which very true to its name is gracefully white nearly all over and a relatively tranquil univeristy and cultural centre with a strong confirmation of its historical significance as the original capital of Southern Colombia before its place was usurped by Cali to the North.

Panorama of the Plaza Mayor (click to enlarge)

Right: the interior of San Francisco with the rather odd Christ on the globe

Light police brigade outside the market area

Beggar 'spouses' on carts in the middle of the road calling for alms with a loud hailer

No comments:

Post a Comment