A kiss for the carabiner – Colombia
After a great night out in Bogota I am waiting for my bus at the northern terminal with very small eyes. I am looking forward to a direct bus to Suesca but there isn’t one. I must go to La Playa and then take another bus to Suesca. I step off at La Playa where I have to walk to the other side of the street. Here small vans are waiting. In the van there is an old man who is very passionately telling me about Suesca, but to be honest it is very hard to understand. Hopefully I can find out more in the village itself. We pass a huge cement factory. It reminds me of the palace of Mordor from Lord of the Rings because it is such a weird construction in the middle of all this greenery. Today is Sunday and there is a market. People are sitting together to chat. I see a pig on a spit. There is a nice atmosphere.
I get off the bus at the door of the hostel, El Nomada, where I will stay for the night. I am welcomed by Daniel (the owner) and two enthusiastic receptionists. I get a private room! Top! I install myself and put on warmer clothes right away because it is much colder in Suesca than in Bogota. With my pink rain jacket on and my Colombia Fácil t-shirt, I look at myself in the mirror and I look exactly 5kg heavier! Haha! Big mama goes climbing!
I'm starving and order a delicious pancake with spinach at my hostel’s cute little restaurant. All the pancakes have the name of routes that you can climb. If you are a climber yourself and find a route, you can give it a name. How cool is that!? There are more than 600 climbing routes in Suesca and no route has a simple name. For example the route "El cielo puede esperar” means “Heaven can wait". Or the route "Yo no soy Marinero" means "I am not a Sailor”. Pretty funny I think! Daniel has not found his own route yet. I wonder what he would choose as a name.
After lunch I get my climbing gear.
There are a lot of things already attached to the safety belts we are wearing: a bag with magnesium talc, a carabiner with climbing shoes, a lifesaving rope, and a helmet. I do get a bit nervous. I'm not a hero at heights. Daniel says that climbing helps you get over a lot of fears. It makes you stronger! Here I am encouraged by the saying, “What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!”
The rocks where people climb all lie along an old railway track formerly used for the transport of salt and carbon. Now it is only used by a man who pushes a cart full of lazy tourists - a funny and creative way to earn a living.
While Daniel and I walk along the rail and watch the climbers, he explains all sorts of climbing techniques to me. Each rock has its own difficulty level. I listen with admiration. A new world opens up to me. I knew nothing of climbing. We climb the Filo Bantes (the name of the rock), with a difficulty rating of 5.7. That is average! For me it's already very high. Damn! But with Daniel’s encouragement and my willpower I start the journey to the top. I have to try to find a hold with my fingers, and with the tips of my toes I search for some footing for a place to push off. Simple it is not, gosh! Daniel tells me that I need to hug the rock so I will have more balance. This tip was fantastic and helped me to reach the top! I am so proud! I give the carabiner that saved my life a big kiss! Yes! I did it!
I climb the rock next to it as well with Freddy, a man who works for Daniel. I founds this rock to be much harder, but Daniel says it’s the same difficulty but another technique. Apparently this technique is more difficult for me.
After climbing, we walk a little further along the railway and then we walk up the hill. From there we have a beautiful view of the nature that Suesca has to offer. The river winds like a snake through all shades of green. In the distance we see more of Suesca’s mountains, in general called Roca de las Aves and three old men walking. Many greenhouses are popping up to grow flowers. Did you know Colombian roses are a very important export product?
Besides climbing, you can also do mountain biking, hiking, kayaking and many more activities. This is an ideal area for people who like sports and nature. On the weekend a friend of Daniel’s will open his pub “El Mundo Verde”. The interior consists of all recycled materials and colored umbrellas hang from the ceiling. This is a great spot!
I'll definitely go back to Suesca! It has genuinely surprised me and like Daniel predicted, it gave me strength and self confidence!
- There is a direct bus to Suesca but it departs from C.C. Santa Fé (5min further on the road from El Portal del Norte).
- If you live in Bogota, this is a great place for a weekend trip!
- Colombia Fácil travelled from Sogamoso to Suesca in 2013 . In 2014 Colombia Fácil travelled from Bogota.
- Here you can read more about the destination Suesca.
Written by Colombia Fácil Researcher Magali - 2014