Colombia Cabalgata

A week before Christmas (so about 2 weeks ago now) I ventured to Colombia! It was my Grandpa’s 70th birthday and he planned on celebrating in serious style. As you remember from my last post from Colombia, he and his wife love to horseback ride, and they spend much of their time on the ranch riding and doing other horse things. To celebrate his birthday, they planned for a 3 day cabalgata (horseback ride) through the mountains outside of Bogota, starting in a small town called Sutamarchan. From there, we would ride 80 kilometers, stopping in various small towns along the way and finally ending in Suesca at my aunt’s farm.

I arrived early Wednesday morning and was able to catch a couple Zzz’s before waking the next morning to begin our prep. But before that, we had to eat! Lunch is typically a main event in Colombia. It’s not uncommon that you stop your day, go back home or to a relatives and enjoy a big, leisurely meal. Sometimes a bottle of wine is opened afterwards and that is enjoyed with great conversation. Dinner is almost non-existent, unless there is something to be celebrated, so lunch is where the socializing is at!

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Soups and rice are a very common lunch, often accompanied by cheese or meats. I enjoyed mine with a beautiful sherry.

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Below are sweets brought back from the coast made of panella (raw sugar) and tamarind.

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After lunch I packed and visited with my cutie cousins while we waited for everyone to arrive.

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Uncle Tato pouring some sherry into a canteen.

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Twenty people were scheduled to join us on this adventure, and when they finally arrived, we piled into the shuttle that would take us to our starting point in Sutamarchan, about 3 hours from the city.

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We drove for hours through beautiful green valleys into the Boyacá region, and my grandpa provided delicious hors d’oeuvres of jamon iberico, manchego, and fresh bread.

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We arrived at our destination at night, in time for a fabulous barbecue and a live music. My camera died as soon as we arrived so I have very little evidence that this night even happened 😉

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My great-grandma Blanca joined us on the trip!

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We stayed the night in a local posada (inn) and woke up to a beautiful bright blue day. I wish we could have stayed at the posada a little bit longer. It was so beautiful and peaceful, full of color and light!

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DSCN2106 But breakfast was served at the ranch and we had to begin our day!

Being in rural Colombia, it is very common to have a “peasant breakfast”, which is generally very hearty including soup, potatoes, meat, eggs, arepas, cheese, fruit, coffee, chocolate and fresh juice. Seriously, breakfast includes ALL that! The theory is that the peasants are typically working manual labor all day in the sun and need fuel to get them through the day. I only get through the soup, arepas, and cheese and coffee before I tap out.

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Here is my Aunt Manuela with my Great Grandmother and my Uncle Tato.

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After a seriously filling breakfast (which I really only ate half of) we roamed around the property waiting for the horses to be ready. It was a stunning ranch house that was part traditional Colombian, part southwest inspired. The courtyard in the middle had grassy areas with cactus and fruit trees and dogs resting in the grass.

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An hour later the horses were ready and we mingled around finding our horses and getting ready to set off on the long adventure! Stay tuned tomorrow for more!

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Colombia Cabalgata

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