Today we took the bus to Bucaramanga!
We had tickets on the bus line – Berlinas. It was comfortable, had charging stations and wifi and was not expensive. The bus terminal is about 30 minutes from our house on the west side of Bogota.
I was stressed about getting out of the house on time and not being late – they told us to be there ½ hour before the bus left. I do realize that this is Colombia and most things are late – but still – I don’t want it to be my fault we miss anything!
Well, it turns out the bus was late (though not by much!)– which was good as we were trying to find an ATM to get some cash for the trip. Most places take cash and few take cards especially in the smaller towns. Our card didn’t work at the first ATM, so Norbert had to call them to try to get that sorted. The card had worked before and the bank knew that we were overseas, but.. It definitely caused some panic trying to sort that out and make sure we weren’t left behind.
He got that sorted while I tried to find another cash machine closer to where the bus would come to pick us up. There were only about three cash machines in the station and all were pretty far apart. We got it sorted, I got cash, some snacks and beer and we got on board. I was impressed with how smoothly and quickly we got loaded on the bus. The drivers labeled and packed everything underneath handing out receipts as they stowed things away and we were off!!
The ride was very, very long! The driver stopped for himself sometimes and for the whole bus once for lunch and a stretch. On one of his stops, the other driver got off and went under the bus to a cot to stretch out and sleep. It seemed very claustrophobic, but I guess he needed to drive after we were all dropped off for the second stretch. There was a bathroom on board, but I was terrified to use it, so I only drank a little as needed. Norbert went twice and said it was ‘not that bad’.
I’m glad we were sitting in the front of the bus! I had requested seats in the front so that we could see out the front window, but they had it all darkened to help with the sun, so we could only see out the side windows. It was raining much of the way so that the windows were a bit fogged up as well. From what I could see, the countryside was absolutely gorgeous!
As we neared Bucaramanga, the road got increasingly windy. I began to feel very sick – the driver didn’t let the curves slow him down at all – I though I was going to throw up!
When we were dropped off, I couldn’t find the ticket to claim our suitcase – the driver wasn’t going to give it to us – he said to get back on the bus and go to the main station in Bucaramanga and the manager there could sort it out. I was impressed with this measure of security – I eventually found the ticket – we took our suitcase, climbed in a cab and went to the hotel.
It was nice to be here at last. It was a long and uncomfortable ride in spite of the large seats! 10 hours pass pretty slowly when one can’t read or work. We decided we would fly back!!