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  • Writer's pictureSanni & Gerri@

The Lost City Trek - Day 2: A nice walk, no sight of the lost city.

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

28. November


Day 2: 20 km, approx. 8 hours of hiking. Altitude 800 m asl

The night is short! We are woken up at 5:00 a.m. because there will be breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and we will depart sharp at 6:00 a.m. When we take our things from the previous day off the clothesline, our fear became reality: Nothing dries here. Without any alternative we are stepping into the wet socks and hiking pants. The second pair remains in the backpack as an last resort of dry clothes. But we have a fresh shirt ready for every day. After just a few minutes, we got used to this rather disgusting state and make friends with the idea that this is the new normal for us from now on.


“On the second day, a very pleasant and quite long walk awaits you, as we will enter the indigenous territory and visit a city of the ethnic group of the Kogui.“

This is the official description of our tour provider. Fortunately, since this walk is very challenging, it is divided into two stages. The first part takes us to the second camp of the trail, Campamento Mumake. Here we will take a lunch break and on the way back on day 3, we will spend the night. In total, we walk for just over 4 hours, including short breaks during which we are supplied with fruit. The path leads us through the middle of the beautiful tropical rainforest along the Buritaca River. The temperature is 30 degrees. Before we reach the first stop, the village of Kogui, one of the most vigourous sections of this day is imminent. It goes really vigourously steeply uphill. Here the first returnees cross our path. Their pity for us is written in their face. They try to cheer us up with perseverance calls! Only the fact that they were still in the same situation yesterday does not completely curse them. And so, of course, we force ourselves to smile on our soaking wet and bright red faces at all encounters. Truly a walk.

Arrived at the Kogui, we get an interesting insight into the cultures and traditions of the tribe by a man of the community. The Kogui are the descendants of the Tayrona, an ancient South American culture about which only very little is known. Nobody knows where the Tairona people, living in northern Colombia on the Caribbean coast, came from. Around 18,000 Kogui live in Colombia today. Much still manage to escape the influence of our civilisation. The children and adults we meet along the way or riding on their mules are shy and avoid eye contact with us. It gives the impression that they want to pass us quickly or away from us. Few other members of the community are also present during the lecture. No one who marvels at us curiously or circles us cheerfully waving. The longer we think about it, the better we find it. The Kogui see themselves as the guardians of the earth. In rituals and prayers, they take care of the balance of giving and taking. In certain sacred places, they commit rituals and offer usually non-material sacrifices to the spiritual world. Sacred places are, for example, the peaks of the mountains, the spring of the rivers as well as many small natural sights such as rocks and certain points in nature. We whites are in the eyes of the Kogui like small children who do not like to listen, do a lot of nonsense and live into the day as if there was no tomorrow. Hmmmm.. we can't completely deny this. Only the nonsense, we disagree with.


Speaking of nonsense. Coca is sacred to all Kogui. The men, carry a hollowed-out pumpkin around their neck, the Totuma. They receive this from their tribal leader for their 18th birthday. It has a unique pattern, and therefore serves as a kind of identity card for them as well. With their "identity card", they then carry out the so-called Poporo ritual. For them as natural as in this country to drink a coffee. The fresh coca leaves are mixed with a white powder from the pumpkin and stuffed into the cheek. The powder is ground bivalve molluscs. Because coca only stimulates in conjunction with an alkaline substance such as shell. From time to time you hear that tourists also try this ritual. No thanks, better not for us. A coffee serves us well.

The rest of our path is a lively ups and downs and always leads us through deep, tough mud. Fortunately, it is dry and sunny all day so far, so we are still making reasonable progress. We don't want to imagine what this path looks like in the rain. Around noon we arrive at the camp and have the opportunity to swim in the wonderful cold river again. Upon arrival, we notice the first time our chef David is already there and is already busy preparing our lunch in the kitchen. How did he get here so quickly? Sure with the Muli? Or maybe with the motorbike?

Anyway, the food is great again!

Freshly strengthened and clothes almost completely dried by the sun, we set off for the second part of the hike. Our destination camp no. 3: Paraiso. This stage also takes a good 4 1/2 hours and demands a lot from us again. We cross numerous river foothills and climb over thick rocks. Always trying to reach the other bank with dry feet. The soil has different characteristics and we must repeatedly remind ourselves to concentrate so that we don’t fall or get other injuries. From here on, it is self-explanatory that we have completely drenched at our destination again. Again, we are the first at the camp and reserve, German tourist like, with our towel directly the most beautiful bunk bed on site, namely the one in the immediate vicinity of the roaring river. After dinner, at 6:00 p.m., we can hardly keep our eyes open, Jhon asks us to stay up a little longer. He would like to give us the facts and details about the historic cities as early as tonight, so that the next day we can save this time at the entrance to the Lost City and hopefully be one step ahead of the other groups on the ascent. Looks good, because no one "learns" except us anymore. As tired as we are, Jhon's information is great. He has real insider-knowledge, as he literally grew up in the city. His father was involved in the complete reconstruction of the site for years.

According to assumptions, the city was built around 800 B.C., even 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu. It was once the centrepiece of several small villages inhabited by the Tayrona people. The estimated population size at its peak was 2,000 - 8,000 people. They left Teyuna, as the original name of the city is, shortly after the arrival of the Spaniards in Colombia and fled further into the mountains. The Spaniards themselves have never entered the city despite the trade with the Tayrona. It was not until 1972 that the Lost City was rediscovered and plundered by grave robbers. There are different varieties of the story how the native Guaquero (means "grab robber") Florentino Sepúlveda and his two sons Julio César and Jacobo found the city. However, it is clear that there were some treasures to be found in the abandoned city, and Sepúlveda did not waste time plundering the site. Soon this news spread and attracted numerous other looters who wanted to have a share of the wealth. As a result, there were violent clashes over the control of the area. In 1976, the Colombian government finally intervened. Troops and archeologists were sent to protect this important site. 6 years later, the archeologists were able to complete the reconstruction and Teyuna was made available to the public. Although the Guaqueros ruthlessly plundered, they did not manage to take everything away from Ciudad Perdida. Archeological works have unveiled various artefacts that are exhibited today in Santa Marta and at the Museo Del Oro in the state capital Bogotá. To date, 3 more cities and numerous undiscovered treasures in the surroundings of Teyuan are suspected. However, any excavation are strictly prohibited. And that's probably better this way.

Packed with our new knowledge, we sink into a deep dreamless sleep at 20:00.

To be continued...

 

*The English version of this blog is supported by automated translation*


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