Sunday, 6 March 2016

Cañon de Combeima

I already wanted to write something about my life and aspects I had not covered by my last post but today I was at a place that was so awesome I need to tell you first.

Near from Ibagué is the volcano Nevado de Tolima, which is 5200 m high and fortunately there's a river flowing down from that volcano that passes through Ibagué. Because of this river, the Combeima, there is this beautiful Cañon all the way up the Mountains to the National Park of the Nevados. I went there with Karla, the mexican, and Jonny, the brazilian - we only caught a glimpse of it but it was really stunning!

We started from Juntas, which is the small town on the left on this picture. This was the final stop of the public bus and from there we had to walk. Like I already wrote, going by bus is always an adventure and this time was no different. First we didn't find the right bus and when we found it it was competely full and we had to stand the 30 minutes bus ride, Jonny even on the step of the door (while the door was open, of course). And the bus is really not high enough for standing. I bumped my head way too often on that bumpy road. We felt like we already accomplished a lot when we arrived just in Juntas.

As we learned soon, those with car could go way further and everybody was like "what, you walked all the way up?" But by walking, we could enjoy all the marvellous views on the cañon. Truth is, we had no idea what to expect. I saw one picture in a brochure about Ibagué and told everybody I want to go there because it looks beautiful and at some point they were convinced they wanted to go there too.

I still have no idea where the picture of the brochure was taken, there was the Nevado the Tolima in the background which unfortunately we couldn't see because of the clouds so we can't be sure. But all the rest of the panorama was still stunning. While hiking higher and higher, we passed many mountains and I thought "that's it. Behind this one there must be the Nevado de Tolima" but there were only higher mountains behind every time.

And then we found a funicular in the mountains, connecting one side of the cañon with the other. On the other side, there was a restaurant running the funicular and offering even some leisure activity. This was the moment we decided we had to come back. We haven't been to the river which is said to be completely clean. Also, just 5 km further up the mountains there's the entrance to the national park that even has thermal springs.

I made a friend on the mountain - the majestic almighty lama! They had a kind of small pet zoo with rabbits, guinea pigs, different birds, horses and many more but I liked the lama best. Behind it, you should be able to see the Nevado de Tolima, but like I already wrote, it was way too cloudy up there to see anything.

When we decided to go back (with a heavy heart), we realized we did not bring enough money to pay for the furnicular and the bus. And furthermore, there are of course no cash dispensers anywhere - only in Ibagué. So while walking down to Juntas we thought about all the different possibilities how to get money up there and what we could sell. We got really creative, like we could close the road and collect money from everyone that wanted to pass. Fortunately, a guy and a girl were nice enough to take us down with them in his car and he was really happy to tell us about all the great places we needed to visit and even bought us a typical ice cream - with real berries and mangos frozen inside! It was delicious. This unexpected turn of events made the day kind of an adventure. But fortunately we did not have to walk all the way back from Juntas and got to Ibagué savely by even learning something new.  And I am already looking forward to coming back and exploring even more of the cañon!

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