It´s been about a million years since I last blogged and because I’ve been so caught up with recovering photos and crying over the death of failed electronics, this blog is now centuries behind.
So here’s my attempt to bring things up to speed.
Leaving Sao Paulo after challenging ourselves to yet another buffet (note: Brazil has a fantastic buffet scene and this wonderful concept of pay-by-weight-self-service), we flew into Bogota, capital of Colombia, swapping our newly accustomed phrases like “obrigada” and “nao falo portugues” to the new essentials like “por favor, donde esta la biblioteca?”
We situated ourselves in La Candelaria, (the historic centre and where most of the hostels are located), and once I was done crying about the drop in temperature and my lack of suitable clothes for the weather, we stepped out and appreciated everything Bogota had to offer – beautiful colonial architecture, long stretches of graffiti, the impressive number of museums, the abundance of street fruit vendors (and a whole new fruit vocab to go with it – eg. guanabana), as well as all sorts of other street food – our most satisfying discovery being arepas.
One thing that did surprise us was the overwhelming number of pokie joints across the city. Basically mini casinos side by side. An extra hour of waiting time at the bus terminal sucked a good 4000 Colombian pesos out of us (roughly US$1.50).
So that was our Bogota adventure in a nutshell. From Bogota we took a 20-something hour bus to Santa Marta (the beginning of our long bus journeys), on which we guessed our way through a couple of movies in Spanish and froze to death under their air conditioning. From Santa Marta we took a short taxi ride to Taganga, a nice little fishing village which has drawn in a large number of tourists with their cheap diving courses.
We celebrated our arrival and caught the sun setting with a couple of generously-strong piña coladas.
The next day we took a bus to Tayrona National Park and trekked our way to Playa Cabo San Juan to stay for the night. With our new Scottish friend Lauren, we got ourselves super hyped up about our accommodation for the night – hammocks on the top of a little hill on the beach. Any excitement about the beautiful view quickly died as the night kicked in and common sense reminded us how cold and windy it was going to get. Didn’t think the night would ever end but when sunrise came through it made the torturous night almost worth it.
Back in Taganga, we made another attempt of proving to ourselves we’re not the grandmothers we really are and made our way to the local party scene. However only a couple of drinks later I dramatically sprained my left ankle and cut my right foot and ended our night. I did make a fantastic discovery in the hostel bathroom however – Nivea makes life so easy for guys with this amazing 3 in 1 product (great job product/marketing team).
Cartagena was another beautiful city with its attractively colourful buildings and cobbled streets – at least within the walls of the historic centre where we stayed. There seemed to be massive contrast between the two sides of the wall and an extremely visible income disparity.
We made a day trip to la playa de Bocagrande, having read a great deal about these famous Palenqueras (ladies who walk the beach serving fruit salads from the large bowls of fruit they carry on their heads). When we finally found one of these ladies we certainly weren’t disappointed but we were also overwhelmed by the extra costs it came with – as soon as we sat down we were covered in lotion and massaged from head to toe, fed a giant plate of fruit and charged a giant sum.
Ran home with a mini oil lantern each from a bar in Cartagena. Only to realise the next morning that our rucksacks couldn’t afford to make room for such souvenirs.