Published: October 25th 2012October 25th 2012
I hope you are well and all looking forward to half term.
We have been having a busy time here in Colombia. After we left San Gil, we headed up to the Caribbean coast for 4 days. We visited a little town called Santa Marta and then headed East along the coast and found a campsite on a beach, near a national park. It was beautiful. We were able to pick fruit from trees, including a coconut that we drank from. We also saw some Macaws in the distance and heard monkeys, although we were not lucky enough to see them!
We watched some local fishermen land their catch on the beach. About 30 men helped to pull in the net and then the fish were divided out into sacks that the different families could take home.
Every night there were big thunder and lightning storms over the sea. We sat on the beach and watched them! At night time the sea had something called phosphorescence, which are little creatures that shine green when you move them about. We would go paddling in the dark so we could see the patterns the phosphorescence made.
From there, we travelled to an old colonial town called Cartagena, which is west of Tyrona National park. This is a very old city that is surrounded by a big wall to stop it being attacked. For all the children who were in Year 2 last year, it was attacked by Sir Francis Drake! The reason this town used to get attacked is because it was one of the most important ports in Colombia, so they put up the wall to protect it from invasion. It is about 10 meters wide and over 3 meters high! The buildings in the old town of Cartagena are old and beautiful. They are very grand with balconies and large courtyards. It was a lovely place to walk around. However, when you go to the suburbs or the newer parts of Cartagena the houses are very different. They are small brick buildings with tin roofs that quite often are in need to repair. Some houses didn´t even have glass in their windows! The houses are all squashed in together. The difference between the rich and poor and how people live is huge.
After visiting Cartagena we headed south to Medellin, a newer city with lots of tall blocks of flats. We stayed here for one night and walked in the nature reserve over 2600m high. One of the lovely things about visiting the bigger cities on Sundays is that they close some of the main roads to cars. It is meant to encourage people can go out running, on bikes and for a walk. They also have free exercise classes outside for people to join in with. It really works and lots of people exercise.
From here we headed to Solento which is where we still are. It is a little town set high up (2200m) in the mountains. Since we have been here we have done a long walk through the cloud forests to a hummingbird sanctuary. It was called the Valley of Cocora. We watched 4 different types flying about, feeding and hovering. They were beautiful to watch and moved so quickly. We also climbed up to a view point which was 2870m high but when we got to the top, the peak was covered in cloud so we couldn´t see anything! However, on our way back down we had an amazing view of the valley which is full of Wax Palms. These palm trees tower above everything else. They are about 60 meters tall.
We have also visited a coffee plantation and learnt how coffee beans grow and how coffee is made. It was very interesting and takes a long time to turn a bean to coffee.
Later today we are heading to San Augustin where we hope to see life size carvings of people and animals that have been there for over 2000 years nd were made by people who are hardly known about.
We will keep you updated!