Barichara is known as “the prettiest village in Colombia”. I was slightly sceptical I have to admit – I had seen a lot of really beautiful places during my travels and in my experience, these kind of places tend just to be overly touristy and, dare I say it, slightly fake.
It turned out that Barichara was absolutely charming, with barely another tourist in sight. In fact, barely another person in sight! We checked in at our hotel, the delightful Posada del Campanario, and parked the car.
I suppose a slight negative would be the room itself which had no air conditioning despite the fact it was very hot, little natural light and a tiny bed – but given the beauty of the patio outside we didn’t really want to spend any time in the room anyway.
The lady who ran the hotel was delightfully smiley and welcoming – I had a very interesting conversation with her while mum went off to park the car (the hotel does have parking but as the Posada is in the centre of town, the parking is about a 5-10 minute walk away). She had lived in Barichara all her life and had three children. The main jobs in Barichara are all related to the tourist industry but a lot of people work in San Gil which is just half an hour down the road. I also asked her if Barichara had suffered from the violence that pervaded Colombia, especially as Santander, the region, had once been completely off limits to tourists as it was so dangerous. But the lady shook her head and smiled – no, they had been very lucky, Barichara had remained untouched.
Barichara itself was just so gorgeous – I’d love to go back. We wandered the quiet cobbled streets, wondering where all the people were, and then returned to our hotel for a freshly made mojito on the roof terrace. It was just as blissful as it sounds.
For dinner we went to Shambala, a tiny one-room restaurant with one man as maitre’d, waiter, and chef.
We also ate lunch the next day at a restaurant next door which had exactly the same decor, lay-out, virtually identical menu, and just one woman working there! I have to admit I was slightly confused – if anyone reading this can shed any light on why on earth they haven’t just amalgamated their restaurants, please let me know!
Whatever the reason, the food was delicious, with fresh juices and huge salads piled high on the plate and filled with all kinds of goodness. After eating, we moved from our little table to some comfy sofas in the corner, ordered another juice each, and read our books for an hour or so.
The next morning we went for a run (more on that in my next post) and then went back to Shambala’s sister restaurant, Shanti, for another ginormous salad and juices. We spent the afternoon whiling away the time by relaxing in our hotel, reading, chatting, resting.