We arrived to Mongui very hopeful. It was a town researched by Tadzik, who is much better in finding interesting places. On the bus on the way to Sogamoso, we met a very friendly Colombian guy who was actually from Mongui (Hello Alex 👋🏻). Alex was keen to tell us how Colombia should not just be known for Pablo Escobar and narcotics and was very happy to hear we were visiting his home town!
(Fun fact: Alex also told us, that in Colombia people with blue eyes and blond hair (like him) are called "el mono", which means monkey. He embraces the term!)
The moment we got off the bus we knew that we would not be disappointed. Welcomed by meringues (which the region is famous for) it was only getting better.
The views were stunning, and there were maybe five other foreigners in town. Beautiful colonial houses are worthy rivals to those in Villa de Leyva, but luckily it is too far off the main roads for most people to visit (to get to Barichara from here we had to take 4 buses...). Most visitors are Colombians searching for a cool weekend getaway in the mountains (Mongui is at 2900 meters!).
Life here is still very traditional, and time seems to have stopped a while ago. Ponchos and cowboy hats are very much in fashion, and the evening mass is an important time of the day.
Local café/shop gets busy in the morning, with people getting their tinto and desayuno before heading off to work. Being part of those rutines for the short three days we were there was relaxing, and made the thoughts wander to "the simple days".
Oh, and there are several football factories in town. And even more shops selling footballs from those factories - at least 10 of those. It turns out that Mongui produces around 25% of Colombia's footballs! I don't know how many customers for footballs can one town have, but it feels somehow irrelevant. People don't seem to be chasing anything, they just enjoy their lives and do whatever they do.