Colombian experiences

Version française disponible ici.

During a month spent in Colombia, we had many surprising experiences. We just wanted to share some of them with you along these few lines.


Playing Tejo with a local beer

The Tejo is a Colombian traditional game. You can play with family or friends and usually with a “cervecita” (little beer). The Tejo playground has a length of 19,5m. Therefore, everyone doesn’t have their own playground in their garden! Their are usually located in the main places of cities or villages (mainly bars, sports grounds or venues).

We had the opportunity to discover this game in the small village of Salento, in the bar named “Los Amigos”. There are 7 playgrounds in their covered courtyard. When we played, there were no specialists to throw a Tejo, but only other tourists who came like us to discover this game.

The Tejo is the name of the big metal disc that we need to throw. It weights around 700 grams and it’s thrown towards a target of 1 square meter named “Cancha”. This one is angled and covered of clay.

We played just the 4 of us and we were against each other. The winner is the one having a score of 21 points. Each player throws the Tejo by turns.

Nous avons joué une partie à quatre joueurs, en étant “chacun pour soi”. Est déclaré vainqueur le joueur ayant atteint 21  points. A tour de rôle chaque joueur lance son Tejo :

  • 1 point for the player who is the closest to the ring.
  • 3 points for the player throwing its Tejo on a little pocket full of powder which will make an explosion.
  • 6 points for a player throwing its Tejo inside the ring. 
  • 9 points for a player making an explosion and then having its Tejo ending in the ring.
  • If a Tejo is in the ring and one of the next players makes an explosion, it cancels the points of the first player. 

Once the rules understood, the clay playground well flatten, the pockets full of powder in position and the beers open; the game can start! First points are won, until this exact throw by Marie with a Tejo touching the pocket full of powder. There is a banger noise attracting all the attention of the room and our target is hidden by a white a smoke; this is our first explosion!

We keep going the game until we finish our beer. The throws will become more and more accurate and the explosions will be more frequent (thanks to the skills we got with a French similar game!).


Getting the beard trimmed on the main square in Pamplona

A month of travelling which means a month without a razor, you can notice it! It could be considered as careless but we prefer saying “adventurer”. It’s not because we do not see many barber shops on the way, but they seem to have more skills for drawing stars in short hairs than trimming a beard with a trimmer and scissors…

Finally, it’s in Pamplona on the main square that I found a barber shop in which I trust. A decoration with a “biker” style, vintage leather seats and a barber using a cut-throat razor. Once the robe put on, the seat a bit up, I just need to express myself in Spanish to explain my wishes. The idea is to avoid the haircut of Neymar or the moustache of Escobar. At the end, the beard is shorter than I thought but it’s nice and soft!


Falling into a trap with the Pony-Malta 

Our relationship with Colombian sodas started in Bogota. A quick lunch in the streets of Bogota to taste our first empañadas with the number one of the Colombian sodas: le Colombiana. With its golden colour, we wouldn’t expect a natural flavoring but in reality it tastes only pure sugar, nothing more.

Intrigued by the advertising, a mix up of the graphic guidelines of the the toys “my little poney” and the labels of the beer Coreff (beer from Brittany), we tasted the the Pony-Malta with a pizza. But by wanting to taste the unknown, we finally got trapped. As all the Colombian sodas, the Pony Malta is very sweet. But, its taste is the most surprising. As mentioned by its name, this is the taste of the malt extract which is the most powerful. A flavor which is not enjoyed by the team. There is something to suit all tastes ; but his one would need to be removed from the marked according to us… 😉


Going to the Cocora Valley by standing up on the back of a Jeep 

We could have gone to the Cocora Valley by side-cars. But when we saw the Jeep’s on the main square in Salento, we couldn’t resist to do this touristic experience.

The starting point of the hike is 20 minutes away by car on a winding road alongside the Rio Quindio.

All the interest of this experience has been  done upon the choice of the driver in 10 seconds when he called his 10 passengers to leave at 8:30am. The strategy adopted, and which worked for Julien and I, was to leave the 8 other passengers going first to let us having space on the running board on the back of the Jeep. Hair blowing in the wind, hand on the luggage rack, we shared the same spot with a third tourist. Feeling at ease, we’re preening. At the third of the journey, a local farmer on the side of the road waved to stop the Jeep. He threw his bag full of cereals on the luggage rack and took position on the back with us. A foot on the running board, the other one on the spare wheel. We lost a bit of our pride as he was so cool in this position!

After a nice hike in the valley, we adopted the same position on the Jeep on the way back. The rain spiced it up to end a nice experience on the back of a Jeep.


Going up the mirador of Pamplona with a Renault 9 

In Colombia, the car brand Renault is one of the most famous. On the Colombian asphalt, as much as in cities as in the countryside, the Renault design is everywhere. We can find a few recent models such as the Logan, 4×4 Koleos or Mégane. But the most impressive is to see a lot of old models being still on the road while these models are not available anymore on the French market. The Renault 9 is the most famous. Often redecorated with stickers, neon lights and boomers, it’s the pride of many Colombians.

It’s 7:30pm on a Friday night, when we decided to enjoy a beer on the heights of Pamplona. Indeed we are 5, but tonight, none of the taxis wants to offer us a ride   which is unusual. Chatting with friends at the corner of a street, the owner of a beautiful blue Renault 9 with red neon lights offered us to give us a ride. With an Aguila (the most famous beer in Colombia) in his hand, he explained that we didn’t have any chance to find a taxi to go there as we had beers with us and the area is not very recommended.

Let’s go for a ride like in “Fast and Furious” in the winding streets of Pamplona.

Try to picture a very old Renault 9 with a front passenger seat unfixed, a fan to cool down the engine making a horrible noise and breaks squeaking in each turn, all of that in narrow streets with hills going up at over 45%. You have here the situation of our ascent.

On the top, the view over the city lights is worth it. This moment is today an unforgettable experience.