Hi, it’s me Marimonda. Continuing the bus trip from Ipiales to Popayán, today I’d like to share my day in Popayán.
Popayán is famous for its white colonial style buildings. The city is located in western Colombia. It is very peaceful and small enough to enjoy the places by foot. I planned to be here one and half day, but due to the traffic jam, I only had a day to look around the city. Thus, I couldn’t have opportunity to see Tierradentro, a historical site of an ancient Pre-columbian cultures of Colombia listed on UNESCO world heritage site. Though, I wandered around the city and tried various local desserts which I would like to go back to have them again.
The White City
Like its nickname, I saw endless white architects in the center of the town. The contrast of white and blue colors was unbelievably gorgeous. The town was beautiful the whole day, but I liked the scenery in the evening the most. It was impressive seeing people gathering around the cathedral in the evening to chat and to dance.
There are many churches and cathedrals in town. If you’re a christian you may find interesting to see all these churches.
These two buildings are definitely eye-catching ones. Surrounded by other white buildings, the blue building is Panteón where you can find the tomb of heroes from Popayán. It is pretty small, and there’s a guide explains you who they are and why they are important in Colombian history. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand well, as a result I don’t remember well. If you’re interested in and have some knowledge about Colombian history, I would say it’s a place for you.
National Museum Guillermo Valencia
Another place you shouldn’t miss is the National Museum Guillermo Valencia. Guillermo Valencia Castillo(1873-1943) was a poet and translator. This was his house when he was alive. It is important because Guillermo Valencia Castillo was the father of Guillermo León Valencia who was the president of Colombia from 1962 to 1966.
After writing down my name and ID number, I could join a free guided tour which is offered by the museum. The museum was also free. Here, I could see the rooms and places where they worked. The house is two-floor building. The access to each room was strictly restricted and regulated by the guide. I couldn’t walk around by myself, I had to follow the guide and I was informed not to touch anything in the building. Even some rooms were prohibited to take pictures.
At the end of the tour, I could enjoy the view of the garden and the Humilladero Bridge which is another landmark of Popayán. The tour takes about 30 mins, and there is Spanish tour and English tour. As you can imagine, if you can speak Spanish, take the Spanish one. The guides explain more details in their mother tongue.
Another signature of the city would be Humilladero Bridge. This masonry bridge served as a main entrance into the city in the past.
Af first, I wasn’t sure why this bridge is called humilladero bridge which means calvary bridge in English. The name of the bridge came from the posture of people crossing the bridge. Due to the miscalculation, crossing the bridge was extremely difficult so people had to knee down to crawl up the bridge. Well, now there are stairs to go up and down, so it’s easy to cross.
On the bridge, you can see many tourists taking pictures and looking around the town. After looking around the museum, I got thirsty so I went to a local snack bar to have some break.
There are two famous dessert stores in Popayán; Mora Castilla and Aplanchados Doña Chepa. I went to Mora Castilla to try empanaditas de pipián( mole usually smashed pumpkin seed) and its signature drink, salpicón payanes. The sweet and sour drink was very refreshing. I was reluctant to order empanaditas because they sell 10 pcs minimum. However, as soon as I saw the empanaditas, I was relieved. Like the name, they are very small. It was even smaller than a piece of lemon as you can see in the picture below. I loved them so much, I even returned before I leave to have another ones. Also I bought a box of butter cookie (next to the drink in the pic) as a gift for family. It is simple but has rich butter flavor.
Aplanchados Doña Chepa
I don’t have picture of this place, but it’s just next to Mora Castilla. I bought a box of Aplanchados before leaving Popayán so that I could try it. They also sells empanadas and drinks, too. Their specialty is aplanchados, and it’s crispy sweet pie with multiple layers. Doña Chepa is recognized for her excellence and dedication to local food.
You might be interested in the following posts.
Pasto the capital city of the department of Nariño
Las Lajas a town with breathtaking cathedral near Ipiales
Enjoy your travel with Marimonda. See you again 🙂