Thursday 9th July 2015
We woke up around 5am, got out of our chrysalides, had brekky and were ready to go. I had a big dilemma that morning. My short had been stinking so much that the night before I had washed it in the river. No matter how much I had drained the water from it, it did not dry at all during the night. That´s the thing there, things do not dry! I only had another pant-short which was supposedly for the evenings only, to have something dry to wear in the evening. I could not get myself to wear that totally wet short to go hiking, also it was a bit chilly in the morning, we were still all in long sleeves. But if I was taking the short part of the short-pant, I was taking the risk of making it sweaty, stinky, and wet and not have anything at all to wear in the evening! I still took that risk and wore it. Luckily when we turned back the short had dried in the sun. Lucky we had sun that day. Definitely recommend taking 2 or even 3 pair of shorts, plus a pant, plus a merino leggings. Seriously, the walking is steep and hard, you get sticky and muddy, and if you are not lucky it pours rain on you. You better have one thing making you comfortable which is to wear dry clothes in the morning just before you start the new day of hiking. Even if it means carrying another kilo. Leave the book at home, you will socialise with everyone, and put that extra kilo of clothes in the bag!
So here we were, starting to walk around 6.40am.
We crossed one river.
And we started going up the 1,200 stairs!
I did try to count them. Yep. It was going pretty steep and it was quite slippery.
We made it. Here was the map of the site and some text.
We got some introduction to the site. It was funny to see everyone slapping their legs and arms while William, Bruno and German (pronounce Herman) were talking. Those mosquitoes were having a great meal on us!
Behind us was already one round thingy.
Alright, time for a bit more explanation about this place. The Lost City called Teyuna was founded around the 13th century by the Tayrona tribe who lived there for about 300 years. When the Spaniards arrived and killed everyone, that tribe kind of disappeared and this ancient city got lost. In 1975, it was rediscovered by guys who were treasure-hunters, just getting all the gold and coming back to Santa Marta to sell it. Some guys followed them and 2 rival bands starting grabbing all the gold from there and bringing it to sell it to Santa Marta. One of the guy told the government about it and some archeologists started coming. They worked with those guys who had found the site to try to put back in place the stuff that had been taken from the site, to find where things were as without their help they could not do that. It is incredible to think that this site was totally abandoned during almost 400 years. At the same time, we walked a long way to get there and I can imagine how this site could go totally lost for so many years, this jungle is so wild and crazy. Now, who knows how many other lost cities could be around??!!! We asked Bruno the evening before if the Kogis knew about that site, and it is possible that they knew but kept it secret because this was a holy place for them. Interesting. They could be the guardians of that temple. The city was built in a way where men would sleep in the same house together, and women and children in another one. It was a site of ceremonial celebrations. The Tayronas worshipped Father Sun, Mother Earth and the Moon too. The site was opened to tourism through the trek in 1981. The interesting thing to know that I read on one of the explanation panel is that Teyuna was only one of those house complexes. At least 26 housing complexes were discovered around Teyuna made of building terraces and rings, showing the density of the Tayrona population. Teyuna seems to have been the most extensive, important and monumental of all, making it probably the seat of political power for the surrounding villages.
Now, if you want more info…Wikipedia is there! And many more websites. There is very interesting info online about this place and the ancient tribe of the Tayrona and I wish I had more time to tell you all about it, but I don´t.
We walked up to go to the main site. What we saw already was pretty impressive.
Another site for a house.
Here is la Piedra de la Sierra, a stone on which road, rivers and sacred sites were represented, a kind of stone map.
A few more steps to go up.
Another stone called Piedra Mapa which could represent the map of the Sierra Nevada region.
Explanations about the stone
The half-moon was visible between the trees.
And up the stairs we continued.
A few more of those circles on which houses were built when the village was alive.
There was this tiny butterfly with a red body and blue wings.
Another picture of the site
We were told about this nuts that they used it for their sarbacanes as a bullet as it was very strong and hard to break so it would hurt a lot when thrown through the sarbacane.
And we keep walking up, to the main platform, through this gigantic site.
Here we are standing on the main terrace.
The view of the surroundings was striking. My smurfette Juanitette loved it.
Here she is standing on one of the terraces.
This stone is the Toad Stone which is a symbol for fertility. The toad´s croak announces the arrival of the rain season and with it the sowing season. It is also associated with female fertility. In this place, indigenous people perform pagamentos with objects like stones, cotton and leaves that are deposited under the Toad stone.
Then we went up to see the terraces from up. Here is the most common picture of the lost city found on internet and on blogs. I actually put that photo as my desktop background at work the last 2 weeks before I went travelling so having made it there and seeing it with my own eyes was really surreal and fantastic.
We could climb a bit higher up. We actually had to do it as everyone was waiting on us to get out of the picture they wanted to take!
There were some military guys at the top, three of them, keeping an eye and re-assuring the tourists by their presence that nothing could go wrong.
Oh and Juanitette liked it too by the way. She is in deep contemplation here.
Another group was with a Kogi guide and here he was holding some intriguing recipient from which he was sipping something, apparently some blend of coca leaves with something else that give them energy but can be very addictive.
The view from the top was really great
We saw a tree with some weird fruit called Lupo which can be eaten or drunk as a juice or put in a lollypop
If we had come for a 5-day trek, we may have been able to stay in this campground.
Another view of the terraces around
And down we went to a site of 2 Kogi houses about which we learnt a bit. The woman and children one has one entrance only while the one of the men has two entrances and the side of the house is tressed in a different manner for each.
More info here
We saw a few more circles while walking through another way down, but also some curved stone with a stone used to crush nuts, fruits and other things like these stones.
I like this round site as the brown reddish leaves make a great contrast with the green grass
Each site has been marked down by archeologists with notations like this one
There were some cool flower seeds fallen on the ground at some point
And down we went and it was slippery. I learned that word in Spanish, repareso. A couple of people fell!
Then we took our shoes off again and crossed the river again. I have no idea what my camera did but somehow it turned into black and white except the girl in he middle. I like this photo.
Back to the campground, there was this cool butterfly.
It was funny to see all the clothes spread on the rocks, everyone wanted a piece of sun for their clothes to drrryyyyyy!!!
There was this cool butterfly too.
Many people had a nap after lunch before to go walk again.
While people slept, I was chasing butterflies and spiders, like this one!
Then we started walking but I put the camera in a dry bag in the backpack covered by a bin bag as the rain was coming. It did fall on us and soaked us for the entire afternoon, so no pictures of the walk back to the campsite where we had lunch the day before. But basically we crossed two rivers again, and walked up and down and up and down with our clothes getting wet and sticky and our body dripping drops everywhere plus the rain soaking us and the path getting muddy. Saying that, hey a trek to Ciudad Perdida without rain would not be a trek to Ciudad Perdida. It has to rain at some moment for the trek to be the real thing! We were actually pretty lucky it only rained that afternoon of the third day! So we got to the camp, showered in the river, changed in dry clothes and had dinner.
In the evening there were hundreds of fire flies everywhere, flying and making light, it was magical but impossible to photograph!! We also had the visit of this insect.
I learned to play the card game “shit head”, we had a great time, had some beers and went to bed!
We saw the Ciudad Perdida! What an awesome day it was!