WE BE TRAVELING!!
As we’ve mentioned before, we’ve decided to see as much of Colombia as we can while international travel is still “iffy.” Last Friday, we took off on a month-long road trip to eastern Antioquia, Boyacá, and Santander and then parts unknown. The overriding goal: to see as many of Colombia’s “Pueblos Patrimonios” (designated heritage towns) in these departments as we can, together with all the sights in between.
Our first stop was Doradal, Colombia’s take on Santorini, Greece.
About a three-hour drive east from Medellín, Doradal is a rather gritty and nondescript little town that had a unique makeover back in the 1980s. Something about the geography of Doradal – part of it sits on a rise with a lovely countryside view – caught the eye of the notorious criminal whose name we don’t use in this blog, but whose initials are PE. Since PE was spending about $2,500 on rubber bands every month just to hold all his money together, he could easily afford to build his own little version of Santorini, Greece – so that’s what he did. After PE was killed in 1993, the Santorini replica almost fell to ruin, but it was purchased by a consortium years later and redeveloped into a charming collection of whitewashed hotels, hostels, and private homes on the hillside.
We had been curious about Doradal for a while, and it proved to be an ideal stopping point for our first couple of nights as we headed east out of Antioquia. We had also hoped to visit the Reserva Cañon de Rio Claro, but it turned out to be closed until August 6. Oh well, we’ll save it for next time.
Crossing the Mighty Magdalena
Since reading Wade Davis’ outstanding book Magdalena: River of Dreams earlier this year, we were both looking forward to seeing this magnificent river. Flowing almost the entire length of the country from south to north, the Magdalena traverses just about every ecosystem in the country and has played a crucial role in Colombia’s natural and cultural history. We took a drive across the Magdalena and up to the town of Puerto Boyacá, where we were able to take a ferry across to another small town. It was an interesting and unexpected adventure!