10th June 2013- up at 5:30am to check out and catch a taxi to the bus terminal. Had the reception translate that I wanted a window seat near the front of the bus to show the booking office. Taxi seemed to drive around the city a bit before arriving at the bus depot which meant the fare was higher than expected. Brought a ticket and then just had wait the 45 mins for the bus to depart. Met a solider and his mother while waiting and he also traveling to popayan. My luggage was checked a bag number given to me for collection. Got the front window seat but see out the front of the bus as they have installed large screen and door so u can't access the driver from the bus. The drive out of the city was quick as it is a public holiday so traffic was light. We headed towards Cali. Bus stopped a couple of time for random reasons. Once driver had to stop to put a movie on, Jonas Hex which was all in spanish. Drive for 4 hours through hill countryside and then stopped for lunch. Back on the bus and the road started to become very windy and mountainous and slow going. At one point we stopped for a police check and then 3 bordered the bus and rode along for a while. Was a little un nerving to have 3 guys with enormous guns traveling on the bus right next to you. Didn't take a picture as was fairly sure that wasn't allowed. They left the bus after not too long and then contuined to drive through the mountains, at one point we had driven so high we were in the clouds... And again ears were popping. The houses are also a lot more fortified, a lot of high fences and bars over the windows. You can see small farming operations on the sides of the mountains. Coffee, bananas and fruit mostly. Small amounts of livestock. There is a lot
Of construction on the road so this also slowes down the speed at which the bus can travel. I don't we got much over 50km for hours. Once we passed Armenia the road started to straighten out and there are a lot of large sugar cane and coffee plantations. We then drove for another 5 hours or so and then stopped for dinner at a gas station/ cafe just south of Cali. When we left there it was dark and we drove the last two hours to Popayan. Arrived and was able to find a taxi thanks to the help and was at the hostel in no time. It is really quiet around town. This maybe due to a public holiday and things juts aren't open. Checked in and the hostel is also fairly quiet.