Popayan, in Southwestern Columbia

May 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

Pretty town with a white center. Colonial buildings and a dozen churches and museums in the old part of the city. Lots of policemen all around (young guys doing their 2 year army service duty by serving as police) and feels very safe. Home to the university of Cueca, so lots of students and events, a giant public library and outdoor book market.

Stayed at Casa Familiar Turistica, a hostel in the old part of the city, in one of the old white colonial houses, owned by a quite old lady with two dogs. Both nights of my stay there were only girls here (an unusual occurrence as I’ve met more guys traveling than girls) and the dorm room had that aura of feminine energy.

I spent yesterday mailing my things and walking around the town. I spent today doing more walking, buying fruit at the market, visiting 3 museums, watching the sunset from the El Morro hill, and attending a cornet concert at the university, where I met two of the 4 Russians who live in Popayan. All are music teachers.

None of the museums I went to were especially interesting. The first “Museo Negret e Iberoamericano de Arte Moderno” exhibited contemporary paintings and sculpture, most of which I ignored because I generally do not grasp sentiment through geometrical shapes on canvas and twisted metal, but there were a few paintings I enjoyed… although I was disappointed that the info tags near the paintings did not include the year of creation and more info about the artist. My favorite was a man inside a river, it was a dark painting of blue and gray hues, and his body was not drawn in detail although the muscular structure was visible. To me it represented sadness, a journey, nostalgia and loss. Strange but I do not remember the man’s face…

The other museum was “Meseo Guillermo Valencia” inside the former house of the poet by the same name. His furniture, books (8000 of them, mostly historical and religious texts that few would care to open today I think), family pictures and eventually his mausoleum were on display, and I was guided around the shrine by a guide, one of those young men in police uniform serving his army duty. I understood about 75% of the general point of what he said, and about 10% of the subtle. Was interesting to see the general style of the house and furniture and pictures of what affluent people in Columbia looked like 100 years ago and what they read, otherwise a waste of half hour. The town of Popayan purchased the mansion to convert it into a museum some 20 years ago… I’m pretty sure it could have served some better purpose… like a library…

The last museum I went to was “Casa Museo Mosquera.” Here were also some family relics and contemporary art (from 2011) that was for sale. A few breaths were enough to see everything and I was free to walk up the hill to El Morro where beheld a magnificent sky…


Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , .

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