Had no intention of stopping in Puerto Berrio. Never heard of the place before Thursday, May, 15th when I went to Bucamaranga Bus terminal seeking a ride to Medellin. All the buses were booked full and it was recommended that I catch a ride to Puerto Berrio which is about midway between Bucamaranga and Medellin.
I did as suggested. Bus departed Buca around noon. Arrived in Puerto Berrio around 4PM. I was tired and I mentally reviewed my options. I COULD have tried to find a bus to Medellin right away. I pushed pretty hard hiking to different places in Bucamaranga. I had to admit to myself that I was tired. No pressing nor immediate need to get to Medellin so I opted to check into a room as close to the bus staging area as possible.
My bags came out of the back of the brand new Mercedes Benz 16 passenger van/bus that brought me. No sooner than when the hit the pavement there were mototaxi guys pandering for my business. I let them know that I was going to the nearest place I could find…. which as in happens was less than 150 feet from where I and my bags were. I saw a sign with the large letters of ‘HOTEL’. There was a small sidewalk doorfront and one flight of narrow tiled step leading up to a barred metal door. I moved my bags a few steps up and in from the sidewalk and walked to the top of the stairs.
Yes, they had a room. Yes, the room had a fan and a private bathroom. Yes, it was within my modest budget range. Handed the copy of my passport to the lady behind the desk so she could begin the check in process and descended the steps to get my bags. Was shown to my room before the registration process was complete. Freshened up a bit and layed out my gear before returning to the registration desk. As I exited my room I noticed the full name of the place.
On the back of the entry door facing the inside of the room is fastened a printed copy of the rules of the hotel and the check out time. The name of the place was ‘Hotel Galaxia’. There is a picture of a spiral galaxy featured at the top of the paper. The Galaxy is a big place. I have reason to suspect that there are affiliate operations of The Galaxy. This was attached to the inside of the door to my room
Went out after completing the registration process to explore this small town I had never heard of prior to the day I arrived there.
Turns out, that Puerto Berrio is a prettiy interesting place. How is it that a small town that exists between two mountain chains hundreds of kms from the ocean could be called Puerto something? Puerto means ‘Port’ in English. Well, it is because Puerto Berrio really is a commercial port… on the Rio Magdalena. Remember… Barranquilla and Mompox are also on the banks of the Rio Magdalena. The past six months I have been on five or six different rivers that feed into the mighty Amazon.
The Rio Magdalena is far away from the Amazon basin. It’s water flows from mountains nearer to Bogota and empties into the Caribbean sea. How strangely odd, yet fitting somehow that I end this latest visit to South America with viewing life on a river a bit further North.
(It’s late and I’m tired… will complete this post later… probably from Medellin)