Columbia- Enjoy cities, Valleys and the ocean

Bogotá

I arrive in Bogota late evening, going to the hotel gets even later, since my backpack didn’t make it and I had to figure this out.

The next morning I start my day by walking into the city to Plaza Boliviar. Here is the main government district with the Capitolo.

Plaza Boliviar-Bogota
La Candelaria-Bogota

After rescuing myself from all the pigeons I keep exploring La Candelaria, walking through narrow streets

and finding a beautiful church the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora del Carmen. One of the over 300 churches you can find in Bogota.

Nuestr Senora del Carmen-Bogota
Way to Cerro de Monserrate-Bogota

Since it is still early due to my jetlag I decide to do what a lot of Bogotá’s people do on a weekend. Climb the 1500 steps up to the Cerro de Monserrate.

So I climb the steep steps up to 3150m accompanied by a lot of Columbians with their portable music players and finally arrive on the top, with a beautiful view of the whole Bogota area.

View Cerro de Monserrate-Bogota
Funicular-Bogota

Since hiking up those steps might have not been the best idea with little sleep and a jetlag I choose the easy way down with the funicular.

On my way back to the hotel I have something small to eat and walk through the university and theater districts.

Since it is already time to leave Bogotá the next day around noon, and my backpack hasn’t arrived yet the next morning I spend getting some essentials, which is on a Sunday morning before 10 quite a challenge. Back at the hotel, just before I leave to the airport I get the information that finally it has arrived and I can pick it up on the way to Armenia.

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Events

Armenia

Armenia is in the Region of Quindío, known for its coffee plantations. So of course we visited one and enjoyed a beautiful view across the Landscape and enjoyed the beauty of nature.

Coffe fields-Armenia
Bird-Armenia
Picking coffee-Armenia

But we also had to work and be “Recucas” and pick coffee beans.

Afterwards there was a party where we got to dress up and learn a dance before we could taste the coffee of the region.

Dress-up-Armenia
Colonial town-Armenia

On the way back to our hotel, we visited a cute town, but unfortunately I have forgotten the name. But have a look for yourself.

Back in the hotel we enjoyed the pool and had some Aquardiente Antiogueño to end the day relaxed before the hike in Vale de Cocora.

Pool-Armenia
Bridge Valle de Cocora

Vale de Cocora- Salento

After a short drive to Salento we leave our stuff in the hotel and with Jeeps head to the starting point of our hike. We hike through the beautiful landscape of the cloud forest over sketchy looking bridges and sometimes really steep slopes.

Don’t stop for a picture or you are in danger of rolling back down. For us Europeans it is hard to imagine that we are above 3000m. With the green landscape and wax palm trees, but yes we are.

Palm trees-Vale de Cocora
Salento

In the afternoon I use the time to look around in the colorful colonial town Salento.

After dinner it is Tejo time. Tejo is a typical game for the area and used to be played mostly by the poorer population. To play you put a metallic ring into mud and place little packages of gunpowder on top of the ring. No you throw stones and try to land in the middle of the ring or make an explosion by throwing the stone on one of the gunpowder packages. We had a fun night!

Tejo-Salento
Escalators-Medellin

Medellin

This city has seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Medellín used to be known as the drug trafficking city of Columbia. This is also where we start our day. In Communa 13 one of the departments of the city where in the 90 the drug war was still alive. The city has built escalators here so also the older people can move around in this hilly department.

We had a young man as a guide here who was a kid during the drug wars. One story he told us is still with me, because for us grown up in peace this is unbelievable. He said he was playing soccer with one of his friends when two people with guns came by, so the hid. Once the gun fight was over they could see a body lying there, but just kept playing soccer, because it has become so normal. Hearing this and a lot of other stories makes you really thoughtful and you appreciate the positive thoughts of the community even more. There are murals everywhere and they all tell stories most of them with a happy thought behind them. Not only the artists seem to look into a more positive future.

Comuna-13_1-Medellin
Comuna-13_4-Medellin

From here we take the only metro in Columbia back into the city center and enjoy the cities positive vibes. Here you can visit the bronze sculpture from Fernando Botero or just enjoy city live.

Workshop “Time to reflect”

Time to reflect

Do you see the fog or the possibilities?
REFLECT what you want!

Dates

Guatapé

You can do Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol easily as a day trip from Medellí­n. Guatapé is a cute little city where you can only drive with little golf cars.

Tuktuk-Guatape
Guatape-Street

A lot of the houses are decorated with zocalos, beautiful pictures at the base of the house. They either tell small stories our you can see the profession from the people living there. Originally these zocalos where made to keep chicken from picking at the base of houses.

The-Rock-4-Guatape

El Emalse del Peñol is an artificial lake, that was created by flooding part of Guatapé, and is now the main power generator for the region.

The-Rock-Guatape-Columbia
The-Rock

It is on the foot of Piedra del Peñol- a granite monolith you can climbed up by the stairs that look like a zipper. From there you have a beautiful view.

Cartagena

In Cartagena we meet the Caribbean Sea for a couple of days. Also are introduced to a Columbian tradition very similar to our Valentine’s Day. It is “Amor y Amistad”, so instead of only giving presents to your significant other it also includes friends. In our travel group we decided to do this and everybody got to get a small present for one other person. These where exchanged after a beautiful afternoon in this colorful city. You can walk the walls encircling the town and enjoy a beautiful sunset at Café del Mar, right on top of one of those wall.

Here you can not only enjoy the sunset, but also get a good view of the new Catagena.

Cartagena
Churches-Cartagena

From outside the walls you can only see one of the many churches.

But once inside the walls the streets and houses are getting picturesque and colorful.

Street-Cartagena
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas-Cartagena

Worth a short trip is the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. It is the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards. It is on top of the San Lázaro hill (40m high) and you have a beautiful view from the top.

With a short bus ride you get to Volcán de Lodo El Totumo. This is a 15m high mound in the shape of a volcano. But instead of lava you can find mud in there. This is supposed to contain minerals with therapeutic value.

Harbor-Cartagena
Volcán de Lodo el Totumo-Cartagena

I don’t know if this is true, but what really feels good is getting in the mud and not sinking in but floating in the mud without a lot of movement. It really is relaxing and fun, which even gets better when you walk to the nearby coast to wash of the mud with the help of some women. Their work is to get you and your swim suits mud free, which is an interesting experience. But go there and see for yourself.

Taganga

After the drive from Cartagena to Minca we stay one night in Minca and watch the Hummingbirds. Minca is located in the Sierra Nevada just above Santa Clara.

Hummingbirds-Taganga
Sunset-Taganga

The next day we drive further to Taganga, a beautiful fishing village. Here we spend our first evening at the beach and relax to a beautiful sunset.

The next morning we charter a boat and drive to a nearby bay and enjoy the beautiful Caribbean coast as well as some snorkeling.

Beach-Taganga
seeigel-Taganga
Snorceling-Taganga
Fish-Taganga

At the evening we all want to go back to the beach to enjoy another sunset, but unfortunately I stump my toe at a step and loose a toenail. But good luck was with me, one of the group was a podiatrist, so my toe was properly cared for once it was dinner time. The story from here you can find in TravelIng Mind.

It was also lucky that I was able to get into my hiking boots the next day for a visit in Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona.

Tyrona National Park

Today we start our adventure into the park with its beautiful beaches and forest full of wildlife. Just enjoy the pictures of this amazing nature reserve.

Beach-Tayrona
Tayrona National Park-Columbia
Monkey-Tayrona
green animal-Tayrona
Horsebackriding-Tayrona

Oh and yes you don’t have to walk back in the heat, you can also take a horse back, which I did, since my toe acted up.

What I take home from Columbia- Cities, Valleys and the ocean:

  • very interesting learning about the not so recent history
  • watch where you step
  • Nature can be just so amazing
  • be open and interested in new people

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