I managed to just miss the bus out of Tierradentro because I’d foolishly not got up when I had planned to as the power was still out from the previous night’s thunderstorm, making rising before dawn an even more unappealing project. I was told there were more buses from the junction with the through road two kilometres away so set off to walk but managed to hitch a lift there on a bus going the other way. The plan was to wait for a passing bus but I got a lift in someone’s truck instead. Once back in Garzon (where I once again chatted with my security men friends) I got the last seat on the last daytime bus to Bogota, which left an hour late and arrived around 10pm.
I spent a day in the capital, getting my laundry done, phoning the bank to get my debit card un-blocked and planning my next move. I had intended to go up the middle of the country to visit a multi-location world heritage site called the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Columbia, but I decided to give it a miss, partly because it wasn’t clear where I should aim for but mostly because cultural landscapes are hard to appreciate, particularly by public transport. It was also going to be a very long journey. So instead I bought an air ticket for the next day to Cartegena on the Caribbean coast. Then I had to phone the airline later as I had somehow managed to book seats on two different flight on the same day.
Amidst all this, I visited the wonderful Gold Museum. For the princely sum of £1 I spent three hours in their well presented bil-lingual galleries. The displays cover the goldsmithing technologies of the pre-hispanic people of Colombia before going on to look at the styles and symbolism of the work from each geographic area in turn. The exhibitions culminate in a circular room which theatrically presents, using sequenced lights and the sounds of shamanic chanting, an artistically arranged collection of thousands of gold artefacts.
The day ended with a wonderful coincidence, when the Australian girl I visited Bilbao’s Vizcaya bridge with back in mid-July turned out to be eating in the same small restaurant as me and came over for a lovely long chat.