Colombia Southwards!


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South America » Colombia
February 28th 2007
Published: March 1st 2007
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Colombia

VENEZUELA - Cucuta - Bucaramanga (Giron) - Bogota - Salento - Cali - San Cipriano - ECUADOR

Hola Chicos!

Well downwards we go! Mountains, mountains and more mountains. One thing not to understate is the windiness of all of Colombia´s major highways. No bus trip is complete without a switchbacking climb or decent over a mountain or two. And accompanying the driver´s wild racecar anitics are some amazing vistas of the surrounding contryside. Just georgous.

The last few weeks have seen us exploring exactly what Colombia is all about. On our way to Bogota from Venezuala, we stopped at the historic colonial town of Giron, complete with cobblestone roads and traditional whitewashed buildings and beautiful plazas. There are many of these towns scattered throughout Colombia but our feeling was that once you have seen one, you pretty much have seen them all.

From there we arrived in the sprawing metropolis of Bogota, with a population of almost 10 million contained in a high mountain valley at 8500´. Lots to do in Bogota and we kept busy exploring all a major capital city has to offer. Some highlights well worth mentioning were:

- Attending the end of year bullfight and partying with 15000 drunk fans (apparently this fight was the best bullfight they had seen this year and they certainly were enthusiastic about it. One Bull actually got its life spared for future breeding as it fought so well). We still can´t figure out when to cheer OLE though...)
- A visit to the national police museum complete with a discussion with the Director General of the Colombian Police Force (a must to do in Bogota and he LOVES Canada by the way).
- The salt cathedral on the outskirts was quite a site. A HUGE three-chamber cathedral carved out of an empty salt mine 800´underground.

From Bogota we went to Salento, a lush coffee growing region to check out what else...coffee! We got some great tours of small and big coffee farms in the region and also ventured into a national park for some hiking up in the Paramo (alpine). We were assured that there had been no guerillas operating in the area for at least the last year so we took that as a good sign and went. Although we luckily didn´t run into any, we did see remenants of their presence from the remains of some burnt out farms (apparently retaliation for some new government policy in the past). Regardless, the
Museo  del Oro Museo  del Oro Museo del Oro

One of the many pieces found in Colombia´s largest gold muesum.
park had some amazing views and was extremely beautiful.

From there we headed south to Cali, ventured down to the Pacific region for a day trip into the jungle on some crazy moped contraption that runs on a railway...interesting form of transportation. Felt like a rollercoaster only a lot less safe (check out the picture and imagine sitting on the front going 50km/hr). Nastassia was really glad when we had to slow down because we caught up to the cart in front of us.

So from there we said our goodbyes to Colombia and promise to return someday. Colombia is awesome and the number one reason is because of the people here. So friendly, enthusiatic and always ready to help some struggling gringos have a good time...

Adios


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Santario de Los RojasSantario de Los Rojas
Santario de Los Rojas

A little girls saw the image of the Virgin Mary in the rock wall. So they decied to build a church facing the image. Talk about faith.
Little hand and a whole lot of bum.Little hand and a whole lot of bum.
Little hand and a whole lot of bum.

This artist is Botero, he is the most famous artist of Colombia and is noted for his portraits of big boned individuals. His pictures and statues are everywhere.
Mas OroMas Oro
Mas Oro

More Gold
Bolivar Plaza, BogotaBolivar Plaza, Bogota
Bolivar Plaza, Bogota

Ben just had to disturb the peace...
BañoBaño
Baño

If you can´t read the sign it says public urinals, they really take that meaning literaly.
Salt CatherdralSalt Catherdral
Salt Catherdral

The cross is approx. 80 feet tall to put things into prospective.
One big salt lickOne big salt lick
One big salt lick

´Best tasting wall I have licked in a long time´ Quoted from Ben. ´How many people do you figure have licked that same spot, look at how flat it is...´ Quoted from Nastassia.
They do drive on the right hand lane here in Colombia, ¿¿Don´t they??They do drive on the right hand lane here in Colombia, ¿¿Don´t they??
They do drive on the right hand lane here in Colombia, ¿¿Don´t they??

We were ´lucky´ to grab the front row seat on our bus? To our dismay we found out our close calls were closer than we would have liked... There is no way we were sleeping on this trip. And yes you drive on the right hand side of the road in Colombia.
Police Escorting us on the road...Police Escorting us on the road...
Police Escorting us on the road...

More or less a coincidence. Two men sharing a motorcycle? We figured they justify it by giving the guy on the back a big gun. Done!
So the motor works, ¿Where is the rest of the vehicle?So the motor works, ¿Where is the rest of the vehicle?
So the motor works, ¿Where is the rest of the vehicle?

This was a very interesting truck, we wouldn´t want to drive that on these roads...
FraijlonFraijlon
Fraijlon

This was the softest plant ever. ¨Best TP i have used in a long time, it was soo luxurious,¨ quoted by Nastassia. To the laughter of our guide....
Guerilla presence...Guerilla presence...
Guerilla presence...

We were lucky to escape this farm alive, after the guerillas surprised attacked our homestay!


8th March 2007

Can't wait for a change of scenary
Hello Nastassia and Benjamin, It is nice to see your pictures, as they have so much diversity (not an old wooden ship). Jordan and I are island hopping around the gulf of Thailand right now, and we are currently on Koh Tao. I am really excited to get to Chang Mai in Northern Thailand and then travel through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Well bye for now keep on exploring. Corey

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