Day 245 – November 2nd, 2014.
This was our hotel we booked in to after midnight. Enrique had actually enquired at another place but it was full when we turned up… So much for the booking system.
“Hotel Miguel in Mariquita”
This is the front and the inside courtyard where they park the motorbikes over night. That’s all good until they start-up at 6am!! Lucky for us most just pushed them out, we could have died from carbon monoxide poisoning as our room was right next to them.
This was our room at Hotel Miguel, a king bed with fresh towels and a bathroom with cold water only, notice that the toilet has no seat or lid, this is very common in Colombia.
For 80,000 Peso or $42.50 AUD for the two nights you can’t say much and we would stay here again no problem. Enrique & Esperance had a room on the floor above.
First up we walked in to town which is basically just down the road from the hotel. Like many pueblos or towns, the center has a town square and a church, if you find that then you just need to follow the streets that head off to explore.
Mariquita is very Colombian, not many tourists that we saw anyway, all locals going about their daily lives. Selling chickens on the street, fruit and vegetable carts, sombrero etc.
At the market Enrique wanted to buy some fresh fish but we had no luck it was all frozen. Breakfast was Tamales a classic Colombian dish of corn meal made into a paste and filled with meat, egg, herbs and some vegetables wrapped in banana leaves and cooked.
The Tamales we had were nothing special and Enrique promised to take us to the best place tomorrow. On we walked in the square life on the streets is where the action is.
Liked the sight of the blue Toyota in the photo above as it reminds us of our old Tommy T that we had for some years back in Australia, the dusty dry climate really suits them better than the salty moist Queensland one that’s for sure.
“A look at San Sebastian church in Mariquita”
With the grave of Captain Fransisco Nuenz Pedroso in the church grounds. They had just opened up so we took a quick look in before the morning service. White walls rust coloured pillars, black wooden benches and a wooden clay roof.
“The Botanical Garden in Mariquita”
Just off the square you will find the botanical garden, a botanical garden that the people here are very proud of.
Mariquita is home to the laboratory of the Botanical Expedition, led by José Celestino Mutis, and the gardens have a variety of species on display along with some books and pictures on the walls. It is no way in the same league as many botanical gardens but of significant importance anyway.
We got to touch the famous Coca plant that used to grow so popular in this country and still does in certain parts. The picture at the right below is of a very dangerous plant that will make you do strange and stupid things, like hand over all your cash to the person asking as it messes with your mind…
Walking away from the town square along the road of the Botanical garden you can see lots of colourful homes and different building fronts.
“Sunday morning at the church La Ermita, Mariquita in Tolima”
The locals are out and about, some playing billiards others visiting the church La Ermita, Mariquita in Tolima.
The church La Ermita, Mariquita in Tolima was just finishing a service when we got there and hoards of people were leaving the church which allowed us a chance to peep inside.
We continued our walk around Mariquita passed more colourful homes with lovely trees all around. This one in particular (photo top left) is red and fury and has red seeds inside.
The streets have concrete seats which have inscriptions carved in them and the iron chair with coloured strapping on are very popular in the town. The photo shows the buds from the tree I mentioned above with the coloured seeds and also the very beneficial Noni tree fruit.
Mariquita is generally a lot hotter than in Medellin and today was no exception. We made our way to a juice shop that Enrique has been before and indulged ourselves with fresh pressed juices while watching the locals go about their business.
“Riding a scooter or motorbike Colombian style”
We saw 3, 4 and even FIVE people on a motorbike today, I was lucky to get a photo of a few of them. Who is driving this one?
Next up was the convent Santa Lucia or, more appropriately
Las Ruins de Santa Lucia”
Which is nothing more than a wall but has special meaning to the people here.
After a quick stop back at the hotel we soon head out for a cold beer or two at a bar a couple of doors down the road. A few hours pass while we chat and practice some dance moves…
After our few beers we visited Armero in Tolima