the icing before the cake
Fondest memory: We made our way to a park perched high on a hill on the northern end of town, noted for watching condors, all the while snapping pictures to our rear of the stunning town. The park was cute and indeed we saw a few condors circling as well as one interesting but elusive bird feeding in the park. Very happy with our morning thus far, we explored a hilltop church before readying ourselves to descend to the town's main square. But on exiting the church, I noticed a large bird in a nearby tree and on closer inspection, found one of the most colorful creatures I had ever seen outside the tropics. We did not know it at the time, but it was a blue-crowned Motmot. I quietly snuck up on him, taking photos every few steps, assuming he would flee once he noticed me coming. I got closer and closer and soon it became apparent he didn't fear me in the least and remained not only in proximity but seemingly posing for photos as I approached him, eying me as much as I was him. He eventually tired of my presumably boring behavior and took off but not before I had numerous great shots. I marched down the hill triumphantly but I still had work to do. I had captured the icing but the cake remained to be taken. Barichara's other considerable charms awaited.
the Motmot vs. the time-capsule
Favorite thing: This is one stunning old colonial time-capsule of a town. Despite being big birders and coming across one of our best ever bird sightings and first ever one of a Motmot, it still did not top wandering the quiet scenic streets that the town is famed for. Ok, maybe the Motmot sighting was more exciting and I did take nearly as many photos of it as the town, but still....
Fondest memory: The short mini-bus ride to Barichara was predictably winding but not overly long and surely scenic. We were in the heartland of Colombia and it was exciting despite our having been doing the same for well over three weeks at this point. To be honest, we loved the country but in general hated the distances between places. Since we had two months, we had made a point to try and not go too far on any one trip and that is partly why we had stopped in San Gil in the first place. It broke up the journey between Tunja and Bucamaranga on our travels north. The other reason, of course, was to check out the colonial charmer Barichara. The town more than lived up to its hype with quaint quiet streets and well-preserved colonial architecture was the rule rather than exception. One thing that makes it even more spectacular than similar towns in the country is its hilly topography which lends itself to great photographic motifs. So, it came as no surprise that immediately on arriving that morning, we started to climb one of those hills to get some perspective as well as a few hopeful great shots. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
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