Sleeping in a little as our next bus trip was only two and half hours we relaxed around the hostel for the morning and then made our way to the bus station after lunch. With a bit of confusion our taxi driver dropped us off on the side of the road and told us to wait. Not sure what the hell was going on, we trusted our friendly cabbie and sure enough a few minutes later along came a little chicken bus with a woman hanging out the door yelling, "Popayan! A Popayan!". We hailed it down and jumped aboard glad to know we were on our way to a new destination and we'd make it there before dark.
This soon changed as trip from hell reared its ugly head again! Our no-so-trusty chicken bus apparently had mechanical problems and our driver stopped every five minutes to make sure all was well. On top of this we were held up twice from two separate car accidents, a landslide and for who knows what else! The second accident was the worst. traffic was backed up for miles and we were stuck stationary for two hours. No one seemed to know what was going on except for our bus driver and the woman yelling "Popayan. A Popayan" and they didn't really feel the need to communicate with anyone aboard about the situation. It was only after we started moving that we saw the reason for our hold up. The woman recruiting passengers, even though we were stationary, continued recruiting more people to board our bus. Some got the s***s and decided to walk which we were close to following, but headed the temptation. Bathrooms were nowhere in sight and food and water was whatever the stray dogs were munching on so needless to say we were a little uncomfortable after almost seven hours of this journey.
Arriving in Popayan late we rode a taxi direct to our chosen hostel and were dropped off right at its doorstep... perfect! The taxi driver's lack of knowledge of the hostel should have raised an alarm in a small town like Popayan yet.... it did not. Maybe the homeless man sitting out the front might have been a sign... it was not. Perhaps the sign in the boarded up windows reading, "SE VENDE" (for sale)... that'll do it! Thanks Lonely Planet for your up to date information... Not to worry though as we found another accomodation 100m down the road that turned out to be the cheapest in town... Finally some luck!
Dinner was definatey on our minds, so we dropped the luggage and headed out to find some food. Saturday night in Columbia should have heaps of options.... nope. An hour later, after wandering the centre on the city, we found a place with the help of some local businessmen who directed us to a semi nice restaurant. Both of us on the verge of tears from hunger, weary eyes, feet and just all round over the day that was, we ate heartily and gratefully before heading back to get some sleep!
The weather hadn't cleared up yet and we were forced to whip out the umbrella for our day of sightseeing. Although there isn't a real lot to do in Popayan, wandering the streets was a great experience. Several large cathedrals, historic bridges and whitewashed buildings kept us intrigued. At night the central park lights up with Christmas lights and decorations making it a beautiful place to walk around and random parks or plazas also had giant Christmas trees or Santas. We were told that its a little dangerous at night outside of these areas, so feeling that we'd checked out what Popayan had to offer we retreated to the safety of our hostel. The city itself was nice to wander around however one day was enough and it could be skipped. Still, it was good to check out all the same.