Ciudad Perdida & Parque Tayrona

So – 04-09 Dec was walkin’.  To Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City), and back.  Two or three hour jeep ride to a small village, where I had a couple of beers.  Also had one when we stopped for some diesel.  Reputation was sorted before we even started walking.  Then – walkin’.  With two french guys, one german girl, and an israeli guy.  The guy who turned out to be our guide looked more like a chef.  I hoped he was our cook, anyway.  But – the size of his gut lied.  I didn’t really hold out much hope for him actually surviving the walk.

But, he did survive the walk, as did we all.  Took three days to get to the actual city.  Lots of wading through rivers, avoiding poisonous snakes, meeting indigenous people, staying at an army camp, etc.  Arrived at Ciudad Perdida itself, after a long walk up lots and lots of very steep slippery stairs, at about lunchtime on the third day.  A very very cold shower, and then spent the afternoon and evening doing nothing but killing mosquitos, playing cards, and drinking a bit of whiskey and wine.  Previous camps had cerveza available.  But not the camp at the City itself.  Luckily, I had brought whiskey, and the french had brought wine.

The fourth day, we had a tour around the city.  All the explanations from our guide were in espanol, so I didn’t understand too much of it.  But just walking around it was cool.  I think they’ve only uncovered 10% of it, or something.  But that is good – as it is really only the foundations of where buildings used to stand.  All uncovered – it wouldn’t be too impressive, unless they rebuilt the houses.  But as it is now, you stand in a circular foundation made of stone – and there are half a dozen pathways leading from it into dense jungle.  Most of them just seeming to lead to nowhere – because of the density of the jungle – but two or three which have been cleared away, leading to more circles.  And the centre of the city, with a stone throne.  Which rhymes.  So I figured the rhyme must be a signal that I should sit on the throne naked. 

Anyway, the second night up at the city, we drank more whiskey, and played more cards.  And discovered that our guide had actually brought our blankets up here.  We just hadn’t found them last night.  So our freezing all night was not necessary.  Oh well.  Walked back to the army camp on the fifth day for lunch, and muchas cervezas.  Then onwards to the place we stayed at the first night.  Longest day of walking, and it had been raining – so was very very muddy.

Last day, returned to the village.  Swam fully clothed on the way back, to get rid of the mud.  Very nearly jumped in with camera still in pocket.  Spent my very little remaining cash on cerveza.  And then back to Taganga.  The frenchies and I then went to a seafood restaurant in Santa Marta – highly recommended by the hostel owner.  Was indeed good – and led to a late night of chatting and cerveza back at the hostel.

10 Dec – not feeling too bad after the six day hike.  Wasn’t that difficult though – and I think most reports I’d read about it beforehand must have been written by elderly unfit seppo women wearing hawaian shirts.  But, I did very little today anyway.  Lay in a hammock, reading an awful awful book.  Drinking good good cerveza.  Fish for lunch with the israeli chap from the trek.  And another day gone.

Which made me promise to actually get back to doing stuff on 11 Dec.  So, procrastinated for a while, but eventually packed my stuff, and caught the colectivo to Santa Marta.  Stocked up on carrots, apples, mandarins, cash, garlic, whiskey and sunglasses – and then headed off to the Tayrona national park.  Beaches, they reckon.  Pristine, they reckon.  Got there, and got my whiskey confiscated.  Dumb.  Walked for 40 minutes, and got to the first beach/campsite – Arrecifes.  Dangerous for swimming, they reckon – so the plan was to have a couple of cervezas, then continue to the third beach/second campsite.  But, started chatting with three colombian guys, and then playing cards with them.  And it got a little late to be walking in the jungle – so stayed there for a night.

12 Dec – an apple for breakfast, and then off walkin’ again.  Second beach which was supposed to be nice for swimming (was actually called La Piscina – which I think means something like swimming pool, or something to do with swimming anyway) turned out to be rather average.  So – I pressed on to the third beach, which had the second campsite.  El Cabo – nice setting, but again – the beach was rather disappointing for somebody who has been to Northland.  Pretty little bay though.  I guess.  Met an english couple who’d briefly joined us the previous night – they were looking for some friends.  Had a couple of cervezas, and then finally went for a swim.  One or two hours later – I’m already sunburnt, bored, and wishing I hadn’t already booked and paid for a hammock.  Afternoon trying to think of something to do.  Evening – watch the english boyfriend dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole that he’d made when he caused him and girlfriend to miss the restaurant’s dinner hours – on his girlfriends birthday.  So – birthday dinner consisted of canned tuna on crackers.  But he kept joking about it, as she got angrier and angrier.  It was rather reminiscent of myself on the last day of the Inca Trail.  But – she seemed to gradually forget about it – whenever he wasn’t reminding her – and eventually we all played frisbee on the beach for a while.  Glowing frisbee – in the dark.  Cool.

13 Dec – got up early, and started a-walkin’ again.  Ate the last of my healthy foodstuffs.  Got back to Arrecifes, and had a couple of beers.  Then – onwards to the park entrance – another couple of beers, and onto a bus back to Santa Marta.  Bought some souvenir-type stuff, and checked out a museum.  This museum had a model of Ciudad Perdida – as it would have looked, back in the day.  So – one can see the full extent of it.  Fairly impressive, I guess.

Back to Taganga, and checked back into the hostel.  Table of drunk inglis and arsetralian guys.  Had been going for a couple of days, by the sounds of it.  Sat with them for a while, but couldn’t handle listening to them after a while.  The arsetralians were holding themselves together fairly well – but the inglis.  Well, you know.  Managed to quickly once again rack up a tab of cervezas that was higher than my accommodation.  But managed to get a fairly early night.

Join in next time, when Spidey says: “Kruse goes to Cartagena”.

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