El Cocuy

The National Park „El Cocuy“is situated in the eastern Andes. 3 departments of Colombia share this beautiful Park: Boyacá, Arauca and Casanere.  “El Cocuy” is mainly dominated by mountains, of which 19 summits are covered with snow, and of course the national park offers 300 Lagunas which are an important water reservoir for the country.  The water in the park is really clear without any contaminations. Well the only contamination could be the feces of the horses or donkeys.

A friend and I stayed one night in the village “El Cocuy”. We were really tired after spending 10 hours in the bus. So we tried to recover quickly in a Hostal there, to start early the next morning.

The next morning we got up really early to search for a transport up to the entrance of the national park. I was reassuring myself, if I’m really fine without bringing loads of water with me. My friend told me that I don’t have to carry any water with me because the national park with its 300 Lagunas offers loads of drinkable water. So we only went with the needed food up to the entrance of the national park. We got there with a Jeep. We had a load of stuff with us and the way up to the main entrance isn’t that great to walk. Well after almost an hour in the Jeep we were at the entrance of the park and paid the entrance fee. Yes you have to pay to enter there, but it isn’t that expensive and it is worth it.

After this payment we went to our next “stop”. For our backpacks, filled up with food, tent, sleeping bags and warm cloths, we hired a Mule (mix of donkey and horse). We only started our way up to the “Laguna de la Plaza” with the most important things like energy food, rain jacket, sun cream and drinking bottle, which we filled up during our way whenever it was empty.

So all in all we were walking around 7 hours and it was really exhausting for me. I wasn’t really used of this altitude of 4.000 m. The highest point of 4.500 m we reached two times. We had to go over the Cusiri Pass to reach the “Laguna de la Plaza”. Between these two high points we had to cross a valley. So it was an up and down, up and down.

But finally we reached our aim. I was surprised by an awesome view. I was really overwhelmed. I was so exhausted and with an awful headache, that I thought, that everything is a fata morgana, but the next morning I was relieved. Everything was so real.

They stay at the “Laguna de plaza” obviously didn’t offer any luxury. So you couldn’t take a shower or something. You could have washed yourself in the Laguna there, but the water was really cold. As well during night time it was really called. I was sleeping with my winter underwear from Germany and still I felt the cold. During daytime the sun was heating you up and you need loads of sun cream, but after 5pm, after sunset, it was immediately very cold. And then you only want to get into your tent or drink something warm.  But every suffering of cold, sun, wind or the headache of the altitude was worth it. The sunrises and the view over the clouds were really impressive. Just really, really awesome!

The days in “El Cocuy” passed really fast. I only had two full days there. After one quiet day of light walking and a relaxing phase we went to summits nearby. I think we almost got to the 5.000 meters. The view was awesome and the walk exhausting but really enjoyable. We went as well to one glacier there. This was an impressive view!

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Sogamoso – Puente Rey

Sogamoso – first time I heard that name and I didn’t really know what and where it is? …but I found out. I was invited by a friend to come to Sogamoso for a visit. So it was only the question “How” for me at this stage…time for travelling I had, since Monday was off (Holiday first of November, only that in Colombia this bank holidays are off a bit later on Monday). Alright I looked in the Internet if there is any bus connection to this place in the countryside…and yes I was lucky, there is! A bus from Bogotá to Sogamoso! There was even one which goes directly from Bogotá a Sogamoso. I was really surprised. I didn’t expect that. Well to be sure about my first trip on my own I asked some friends which bus company is good and where I should hop on the bus. So they named some busses and said that it is better to leave at the terminal…this sounded a bit strange, because for the geographical reason the “Portal de Norte” is better, but I followed the advice. As well I ordered a taxi to my home place to be more secure. But of course in Colombia it is quiet usual that every day something strange happens. So I went with this taxi which collected me from my home place. During our way to the terminal we talked and the taxi driver told me that going to the terminal isn’t such a good idea because the coordinates of Sogamoso are in the northern part of Colombia. It’s better to go straight to the “Portal de Norte”. But well now it was too late, and I decided not to worry …but then, on half of the way we run out of gas, well the car did. So after trying to start the car again and again, I decided to leave and hop off the taxi and on a bus which passes nearby. The taxi driver said that this bus will bring me to another bus station where I can change busses to get to the “Portal de Norte”.

This story gets long in a way….well in this bus; I asked again one guy where it is good to change busses to go to the north. Well he didn’t know, but other Colombian people noticed me concerns and helped me. Almost all the people where telling me now where it is good to leave this busJ. That was really nice and funny because in the end they shouted: “Alright girl, here it is, it is right here…leave here”. To make it short, I got safely to the “Portal de Norte” without further obstacles.

There I asked a policeman where the buses exactly will leave…he only said:” ahh I’ll give you some company and show you the way”. We talked on our way and he helped me to find a “fast bus” to Sogamoso. It was fast, the only problem was that I had to queue for almost 2 hours. While standing there I was talking to a man from Sogamoso. He gave me some tips and as well I asked me if everything is alright, if my friends are here, when we got to the terminal of Sogamoso. This was really nice because it was already dark and I didn’t really want spend time waiting alone for my friends. But everything was good. My friends collected me straight away. But my anonymous friend from the bus made sure that I’m alright. Very nice, very impressionably.

I visited Sogamoso in the night time then. It is a nice and cute city. The next morning we entered the park “Puente Rey”. One or more artists might have too much time, because some of the rocks where painted. But it was really good art work. The structures and features of the rock did fit to the animal painted on it or better the other way around. I was really impressed and took loads of photos of these animals.

…how impressive, or!? I really spent a lot of time to look at all these animals and take some fotos, but there are even some more…It is amazing that someone did this. Someone with a lot of imagination and eyes for such thing. Just awesome it is.Would like to meet that guy.

But this animal is real! 😉