I slept in a little and enjoyed a long, hot shower! It was nice to have the hot water last longer than 3 minutes!! I felt bad about wasting water – but figured I have a lot saved up!! Somehow I was able to justify it.
I went down for a breakfast and some coffee – it amazes me that in this country of coffee they give us instant coffee in the hotel room – weird! While at breakfast I went through what I wanted to do today.
I went back to the room and got my things for the day. I wanted to see the Sagrada Familia church here. It is old and pretty and near the center of town. It was about a thirty minute walk from the hotel. I walked slowly and enjoyed looking around as I walked. The church was white and had the holy family on the roof as well as around the inside of the church. There was a lovely park across the street with people walking around, selling things and just sitting. I found a café to the side of the square and had a bite to eat with a coffee while writing, reading and just enjoying the day.
I noticed how many people here had really light eyes, hair and skin. It was all the more noticeable after coming from Bogota where I really stood out due to my lightness. I remembered reading in the book by Tom Feiling, how the area was known for having lighter Native American descendants and therefore the people were much lighter in characteristics. Apparently this is true! It was nice for me though as I didn’t stand out so much.
I walked around the town center for a while and it was so hot and muggy, I decided to buy some shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. I was sweating – it was a weird sensation to have after getting used to carrying a jacket around with me everywhere as the weather is cool in Bogota. I ended up walking for about five miles today before going back to the hotel to meet with Norbert.
We decided to go to a restaurant known for the Santander specialty, meat, this evening! In Colombia, the llanos are known for their meat preparation, but second only to them is Santander, the state Bucaramanga is located in. Since we were in Santander, we figured that we needed to eat like the locals! The restaurant ended up being right across the square, San Piu, from our hotel. It was called Mercagan. We had been told by friends to try this restaurant, and looking it up online, we saw that it had excellent ratings. We walked slowly around the square relaxing and enjoying the warm air, before arriving at the restaurant.
We sat down and they brought us some fried yucca with aji salsa. (Aji is the word for chilies here – the sauce has cilantro, chilies, onions, garlic and vinegar, water and sometimes tomatoes – it is delicious!!) We ordered a couple of aguardientes and beer and talked for a while while enjoying our table on the patio with a great view of the square. It was a beautiful evening and it was so very nice to be relaxing together.
We decided to try an appetizer that was recommended. Unfortunately it had the innards of the cow – intestines, stomach and whatever else!! It looked disgusting – Norbert was brave and ate some of it – but….even he wasn’t impressed! We shared a salad to cleanse the palate and then ordered dinner. We had a bottle of wine and I had a hamburger – Norbert had grilled trout – he was done with cow for the night! There was so much food that we were very full. We walked around the area slowly enjoying the night before going back to the hotel.
It was a lovely day!