Dave Reynolds

dave reynolds

Dave Reynolds

After 30 years of policing the streets of Bristol I retired in 2012. I'm settled now as an English Teacher in Ibiza, Spain but the urge to travel has crept up on me again. Having travelled east in 2010 (Vietnam) and south in 2009 (Australia and New Zealand), and West (Chile Bolivia, Peru) in 2012 this time I am heading west to just one country in South America-Colombia. Not sure what awaits, but know one thing, if it's anything like the last three trips it will be an adventure I will not forget. Happy reading.

South America » Colombia » Bogota January 29th 2015

Looking back at my blogs, and my thoughts of travelling through Colombia my pre-conceived knowledge of this vast country has changed forever. Furthermore my mindset has changed. My view on my life choices since retirement reinforced. Facing my 3rd winter in Ibiza I recognised in myself what one might call 'cabin fever,' or what my brother calls 'island blues'. It was the strangest of feelings. Having been at the bottom once before, I recognised I had opportunity to do something about it. I negotiated time off work and bought a plane ticket. I seized the moment. I live on a relatively small island. It's paradise, but as it was described to me a few days before I left, also a paradise prison. I needed to step off, look back and reconfirm the decisions I've made. Where ... read more
Cartagena Fortress
Tour guide Juliette

South America » Colombia » Taganga January 24th 2015

I've come to Taganga, a thirty minute bus ride up the coast from Santa Marta. A recommendation from a pal I met learning Spanish in Ibiza, he tells me I'll love it. Well, #pleased2mitsou, I do. I small seaside resort. Rough around the edges with a relaxed, hippy vibe. Salsa music here is played in every other house. Each with a huge speaker system pointing out to the dusty unmade roads. The volume turned up to a 'Spinal Tap' eleven well into the early hours. Happy hour generally lasts for five. Two mojitos for only £6. It's cheap, the food is fresh and tasty, and I'm so glad I came. My hostel, The Divanga bed and breakfast is just the ticket. A French restaurant at the hostel should I feel more peckish and a swimming pool ... read more
Lots of Space
Some fish I saw
High Street, Taganga

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 18th 2015

Stefan, a 7yr old boy runs to his bedroom when I arrive with Jose at his house for lunch. One of ten children he returns moments later with his exercise book and a broad cheeky smile on his face. I'm at Queenie's. The home of Jose in barrio Los Fondadores on the outskirts of Santa Marta. Unmade roads, ramshackle block houses with tin roofs packed into every square meter of land. Kids playing football in bare feet. Old men sat at tables playing dominoes. Dogs roaming the streets. Corner shops displaying their wares. Women holding their children sat in the shade of their stoop. This is the other side of Colombia. The real side. Queenie is busy preparing dinner and from the smells coming from the pot on the stove it's going to taste delicious. Jose ... read more
HMS innocent childhood
Los Fondadores
Queenie's casa

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 17th 2015

It's all very well seeing the tourist sights of Colombia but what's the real Colombia like? Where do people really live and what's life really like? My opportunity arose during an organised tour. Jose, a local guide, invited me to lunch at his home in a barrio called Los Fondadores. I recall experiencing the opportunity in Vietnam. During my travels in 2011. Arriving in Saigon I took a bus to Mui Ne but seeing Vietnam from the inside of a coach was no fun at all. I'll be forever indebted to Eric, the owner of Mui Ne Hills Guest House. He lives and runs the guest house with his husband Long, a young and very attractive Vietnamese guy. They make a great couple and I understand that they now run three successful hostels in Mui Ne. ... read more
Kuba and I
Ex marines
Family lunch

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 16th 2015

I've been recommended a hostel called La Brisa Loca in Santa Marta by Jamie, a Colombian now living in Miami. The town, he told me, is a great place to explore from. He further explained that if La Brisa Loca is full there's another place across the road called 'Hostel California.' Now it was my turn to raise a eyebrow. "I've stayed there once" he said. "But don't worry. I checked out. There were no issues" La Brisa Loca hostel is up there with the best I've stayed in (the best bring Erratic Rock in Peurto Natales). I checked in for a couple of nights but ended up staying for six. Over a beer and football I started speaking to a 72yr old scouser called Les. An amazing character, full of stories of his travels. In ... read more
Two friends from Munich at the pool
Mountain/jungle view

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 13th 2015

The vague look on the poor shop assistants face said it all. "Are you stupid or something" shouted an American woman at her and waving a 50,000 pesos note under her nose. " I want change-o for the bus-o". I'd dropped into the shop for some water before catching my own bus to Santa Marta, some four hours away along the coast. I left and found another shop. Yes, chang-o for the bus-o. That's Spanish alright? If you don't know the word, just stick an 'O' on the end. My French mate Yan used to do this. I'd met him on the 4 day ferry trip from Puerto Natales to Peutto Montt in Chile. He was tramping through South America as well, and like me had no real plan, except to keep moving north. We hit ... read more

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 13th 2015

Colombia. A country rich in biodiversity. The highlands of the Andes in the east down to the pacific coast. The lowlands of the Caribbean in the north, the jungles of the south and west. Over 51,200 different plant and tree species, 359 different species of mammals, 700 unique bird species,1,100 different species of reptiles and 318 different species of fish. A human species population of around 44 million, 8 million of which live in Bogota. However, Not once do I ever recall reading that there's a volcano in Colombia. As I sat on a hot, sticky bus with my fellow volcanologists expectations were high. Patch and his parter Ellen from Toronto. Erin, a gangly woman also from Canada and Anita a quite beautiful agricultural engineering student from Valencia, currently studying in Bogota. All of us intrigued ... read more
The Devil's Tower,  Wyoming
Mud fun
Anthill antics

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 12th 2015

'Romancing the Stone' directed in 1984 by Robert Zemickis, starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito, is one of my favourites movies. Sent a treasure map in New York, romance author Joan Wilder (Turner) flys to Colombia to exchange it for her kidnapped sister. Bound for Cartagena she boards the wrong bus and meets Jack T. Colton (Douglas) high in the Colombian mountains. They use the treasure map to find a priceless Emerald. Danny DeVito, an inept bad guy follows their trail, as does a vicious corrupt Police Colonel. The movie culminates at the ancient port town and fortress, Cartagena. It is here, on the seawall of the castle that the treasure is swallowed by one of the many crocodiles living underneath the fortress. It leaps from the water and bites of the hand of ... read more
A typical house
Tall ship

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 11th 2015

In the United Kingdom it's traditional for the Christmas lights to be taken down by Twelfth night. There are two exceptions that I know of. Me, as I never put any up in the first place and Colombia, where they stretch the Christmas holidays well into the middle of January and beyond. Christmas isn't huge here. It's Massive. Every city, town and village pushes the boat out with lights to celebrate the birth of Christ. It was just after dusk on a balmy Sunday's evening that I met up with Adriana again. She wanted to visit Pueblito Pais (a typical Medellin village) which was festively festooned with lights. I'd spent the day taking in a bit of culture, visiting museums, churches and the like. Since my mum died in 2013 I find an inner peace and ... read more
The river

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 8th 2015

The journey from Medellin airport to the city takes about 40 minutes in a cab. As we reached the top of one mountain the city stretched north to south along a deep valley below. A vast city, not as big as Bogota, but buildings constructed high into the mountain side. Countless high rise buildings constructed amongst a green, lush countryside. With a clear blue sky above it looked an amazing sight. I'm staying at a hostel in Parque Lleras, in the Poblado district, one of many areas built on the side of steep hills.It's in the heart of the action with numerous bars and cafés surrounding it. The parque is lit with Christmas lights still. The hostel also boasts a piano. Result. My first impression of Medellin then is as Joe described. Awesome. A busy, vibrant ... read more
Lights of hope
Old building

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