Looking for beer, we found ourselves at a pilgrimage

When Colombians were asking us where we were headed after Bogota and Medellin and we mentioned Buga (about 75 kilometers north of Cali), most of them had no idea what we were talking about. We had thought we were going to a completely non-touristic destination but as it turned out, this is a hub for Catholic pilgrims. Allegedly about 3 million of them visit Buga every year! The main attraction for them is the Basilica of The Lord of the Miracles, surrounded by shop after shop selling religious memorabilia.

The main attraction for us was slightly different: Holy Water Ale, the microbrewery which Donald had found when we were still in Europe and we had been looking forward to while we were sipping the mediocre (to be generous) Colombian beers. The brewery is ran by a German who also runs a hostel and a cafe, all located in the same building. This came pretty handy the first night when we tested every variety of beer they had on tap (including a surprisingly good mango beer), happily digesting the best pizzas we have encountered on the trip. At the time, we were the only guests at the hostel and we enjoyed sitting in the cafe which appeared to be very popular among the locals (http://bugahostel.com/?page_id=11).

The town itself was a pleasant surprise. Being one of the oldest in Colombia (dating back to 1555) and having been a home to many wealthy colonialists, it is filled with pretty architecture and pleasant squares shaded by tall old trees (which iguanas like a lot as well).

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