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Posts Tagged ‘Colombia’

Bogota

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, was quite a bit larger and more metropolitan than I expected. Home to over 8 million people, it is bigger than most US cities – and at 2600M, it is the third highest capital city in the world.

We took the Teleferico (looks like a ski lift) to a city overlook. Unfortunately the day wasnt a little overcast, so the pictures aren’t that clear.

The area we stayed in was called La Candelaria… full of really cool old buildings and cobblestone walkways with lots of awesome graffiti and street art.

One of the really cool things about Bogota is their public transit. Called the Transmilenio, the system is a set of buses that essentially have their own lane in the middle of streets and highways. In the early 2000’s, the mayor of Bogota proposed the building of an underground subway system. When it proved to be too expensive, local operating buses were converted to the Transmilenio – which basically serves as an overground subway. Makes for an easy, inexpensive, and time efficient way to get around.

Transmilenio pulling out of a station.

By far the worst drink we have tasted so far is called Chicha. Its a homemade moonshine-ish beverage made from corn. All the bars make it themselves and serve it (ours out of a suspicious looking old milk jug) for cheap. And it tastes like dirt.

Also, all the bars in Bogota play heavy metal. All the time. I definitely heard enough Metallica to last me the next decade.

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Ciclovia

Ciclovia is a movement that seems to be spreading throughout South America  – closing large portions of streets on Sundays to encourage cycling.

Im sure there are some of you out there that think the idea is lame – but I really like it. Its cool to see so many people out there using alternate forms of transportation and getting some exercise while they are at it. So far, we have seen Ciclovia in Medellin, Bogota, and Quito. Bogota closes an impressive 122km of road for bicycles.

More to come… we’re currently in Lima – awaiting the arrival of ATP!

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Jungle Love

We spent five days hiking through the jungles of Northern Colombia to Ciudad Perdida – an archaeological ruins discovered in the 70’s by an indigenous people. The hike was challenging, and a little trying in terms of gigantic, unidentifiable insects – but really, really incredible. We started with a group of ten, and seven of us made it the 1500 steps up to the ruins three days later.

The jungle

Our trusted guide – Carlos

Jungle crew – minus two Argentinians.

The accommodations. More comfortable than they look, once you figure out how to sleep diagonally.

Local indigenous tribe that live throughout the area.

Indigenous  – growing a pretty infamous Colombian plant that shall remain unnamed.

Ciudad Perdida. Really impressive, and worth all fifteen hundred ancient, washed out steps to get there.

The ‘kings throne” in the lost city civilization… that dog followed us the whole three day hike in. (This pic is for you, Eddie.)

I think that covers it. I didn’t take any pictures of creepy large insects because I want to forget that they even exist. We just landed in Lima, Peru… and now that my computer is up and running again, I can hopefully catch up on Colombia and Ecuador in the next couple days before we leave for Macchu Picchu.

This time I leave you with a mysterious goop that traveled with us through the jungle – Golf sauce. I think its like thousand island?

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After recovering from the wedding in Medellin, 7 of us headed North to Cartegena (where I apparently didn’t take many pictures, and therefore don’t have much to post) for three days. Then we hopped on a bus to Santa Marta, and then on another bus to Parque Tayrona National Park. From there it was a couple hours of hiking into the park to get to some gorgeous beaches.

There are no paved roads all the way into the park, so all the food/drinks/etc are hauled in on mules alongside hikers on the trails. The beaches we hiked into were spectacular, but the current was too strong to allow swimming. We hiked down the beach a ways to a ‘piscina’ where we could get into the water.

From there we said goodbye to the crew we were travelling with, and headed back to Santa Marta for a few days rest before heading out into the jungle for a five day trek. We’re back to civilization, safe and sound, and in Bogota now. To all the California folk – Im happy to hear the rains have finally subsided, and hope you all faired well through the storm. Until next time, I leave you with the most ridiculous food item we have encountered yet – bologna pizza, in Santa Marta. Gross.

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La Boda

Billy and Andreas boda… such a gorgeous couple, and such an awesome wedding.  The reception was in a church overlooking all of Medellin, and we rode a chiva over the mountain from the reception to the ceremony.

The beautiful couple with the chiva.

View from the church (and Karl looking like a badass).

Chiva ride to the reception.

Boys clean up well.

Garter toss

Viva Colombia!

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Medellin, Colombia

Let’s start off by saying that Medellin, contrary to popular belief, is not teeming with cocaine and gunshots and Pablo Escobars. I have rarely felt safer than I did there, especially in a metropolis. The city is nestled between two mountain ranges, which makes for some spectacular cityscapes and overlooks. It was absolutely spotless, the weather is perfect, and the people are genuinely kind, happy, and friendly. We spent almost a week in an apartment with some friends that commenced with the best wedding ever (more on that later).

A few highlights…

Panoramic view of the city from a hillside restaurant.

The city is comprised of quite a few smaller neighborhoods, each with their own center square – with lots of bars and restaurants and street vendors. We lucked out and were there during the holidays, so the decor was amazing! The pics above are from an area called Saboneta.

We tried pig snout. Doesn’t taste like much, until you smother it in BBQ sauce. Then it just tastes like chewy BBQ sauce.

Muchisimo thanks to Billy and Andrea for showing us around the city, and congrats again! We’re off tomorrow morning on a jungle trek through Ciudad Perdida – be back on Friday.

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