Walking tour and Police museum
The Walking Tour
There is a gorgeous girl comes round the hostel everyday to tell travellers about the FREE walking tour. Its not free, but they dont tell you that till you get to the square then other gorgeous girl with a yellow umbrella tells you she recommends a donation of 30 000 pesos about $12 which is a lot of money out here. Clearly nothing if you are on holiday, but if you are long term travelling that could be a days keep.
Me and 2 young American girls from the hostel go along for the 3 hour walking tour.
It was really good fun. They took us to different places to promote the local juices, coca leaves, coffee and chicha(local brew) but it was super interesting learning about their amazing fruits, their health properties and the huge benefits of the coca leaf from a nutrition and healing perspective, how they ferment for alcohol and making great coffee from a barista.
We also learned the story behind some of the incredible grafittis on the walls, more info on the infamous Pablo Escabar and some of the fascinating history which I ofcourse have already forgotten.
She asked us if we had seen Narcos.
She recommended the place we tried the chicha for lunch, so a bunch of us went back there and had a great 3 course lunch for only 800 pesos (about 20p).
A few of us then went for a beer, and what a laugh we had in this crazy little bar place. The cool thing about travelling is hearing others stories and getting to know like minded individuals. An American, English, German, Dutch and Scots. Fun combo.
THE POLICE MUSEUM
The next day some of us met up and we went to the Police museum. This was uber interesting, even for me who is not interested in museums.
It was a policewoman who did the tour, it is an incredibly dangerous job here, she said people hate her but she wants her children to grow up in peace and without landmines and bombs.
She is prepared to put her life on the line for that. Truly humbling.
She also asked us if we had seen Narcos?
She showed us the machine for detecting the mines, the Harley Davidson and other stuff that got confiscated after Pablo was arrested. He was clearly living the dream, holy shit. She talked about the operations, the arrests, the corruption and the hopes for change, she was quite an incredible lady.
She explained how many police have died, the guns the cartel have, how the peace process has divided the Country, how they have to wear a bullet proof vest and which guns will kill them quickest.
Its surreal to think this is how people are living.
But fantastic to see it change.
She was warm and witty, strong and hopeful, my God I think living in peace surely is our greatest gift?
It reminded me of a young guy I met in Malta from Eretreya.
He told his friend, "let's go to Europe, I hear they live in Peace there."
That hit home to me.