Blogs from Colombia, South America - page 8

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South America » Colombia » Quindío » Salento March 25th 2015

A bit of a screw up and an adventure but everything worked out fine in the end! I planned to do a walk to a waterfall and had got some instructions from the owner of the hospedaje and the Tourist Information Office. Unfortunately had written these on the map which I then proceeded to lose. It' s not that I am losing my marbles, I think, but that I can' t get everything I need to carry with me in my bum-bag so attempt to lodge water, hat etc between this and my waist so of course they fall out or I take them out and then forget them. Breakfast is not included with my lodgings, which is a pain because anywhere that does breakfasts is busy before the 9.30 am bus leaves for Cocora so ... read more
View from my lodgings, Salento
Camino Nacional (path to waterfall), Salento
River near Salento

South America » Colombia » Quindío » Salento March 24th 2015

Left Salamina at the civilised time of 9.30 a.m. My 'friend' from the hostel dragged my case up the hill - he said it was far too near for a taxi but I wouldn't have wanted to do it with my dodgy neck (which hasn't really recovered from trying to put everything into hand luggage for the flight out). Just before we left I heard the driver say to a small boy sitting on the back seat with his mother 'no te marees' - 'Now don't get sick' and as soon as we started off I could see why. What with the hair pin bends, the climbing and descending and the dilapidated bus - my seat seemed to lurch forwards and then backwards every time we changed height - I began to feel a bit queasy ... read more
Salento's main street
View from mirador, Salento
Walking in Valle de Cocora

South America » Colombia » Manizales March 21st 2015

All the references on the web describe Salamina as a quiet, sleepy sort of place. I have never heard such nonsense. The place is absolutely buzzing well into the evening, which would be fine if it weren't for the traffic. Turns out that this house is on the corner of one of the main routes into town. I still don't understand why there is such a lot of traffic as the road we came in on is hardly a recommended throughway. Anyway there are motor bikes roaring past all the time and lorries start thundering by at about five in the morning. Fortunately the son has kept his promise and I have been moved to an interior room which has only a skylight - not exactly free of traffic noise but muted. In other respects I ... read more
My host talking to coffee farmer
Coffee bean picker, on coffee farm near Salamina
Washing the coffee beans

South America » Colombia » Manizales March 19th 2015

Had to get up at the unearthly hour of 5.45 this morning as the bus for Salamina was leaving at 7 am and had been told to be there ' una horita' beforehand which I think is a very flexible term, so checked that half an hour would be fine. Began to get a bit worried that I would miss my bus as the loudspeaker announcements were just a tangle of numbers. Asked a group of older women where they were going and it turned out that they were heading for one of the intermediate stops on my route so relied on them to tell me which bus to get on. Had difficulty in understanding two of them and vice- versa but the third acted as an interpreter – still in Spanish, obviously! It has been ... read more
Town Hall, Salamina
View from my lodgings, Salamina
Plaza de Simón Bolívar, Salamina

South America » Colombia » Medellin March 18th 2015

Compared with yesterday everything went smoothly. The plan was to go to La Piedra del Peñol which is a very big rock overlooking a pretty reservoir in which land covered in dense vegetation and water are so intertwined that it is impossible to say which bits are islands. After that I was going on to a resort on the water which is much favoured by weekend trippers. The bus trip was fine with picture postcard perfect scenery. Fields of crops sloping down the hills with cows grazing and the occasional cluster of palm trees to remind us we were somewhere exotic. Have decided also that the green of the hills and vegetation somehow looks paler and bleached compared with home and certainly with Galicia. Got off the bus near the rock and an Argentinian couple included ... read more
La Piedra de Peñol
View from 'La Piedra del Peñol
View from beginning of climb up La Piedra del Peñol

South America » Colombia » Medellin March 17th 2015

Well, today was one of those days when nothing goes quite as it should. The plan was to go up the cable car to Parque Arvi in the morning and back to downtown Medellín in the afternoon. This was my only day for sightseeing proper here as am doing another bus trip tomorrow. To get to the park you take two separate cable cars from one of the mainline metro stations. The first, which is included in the 50p fare, was built to link poor people living high up on one of the hills to the centre of the city in the valley. (There are other cable cars serving other slopes, although slope is too gentle a word). The first ride gives you a bird's eye view of poverty whereas the cable car to the park ... read more
Butterfly enclosure, Parque Arvi
Crysallis, Butterfly enclosure
Artificial lake, Parque Arvi


I had two day trips planned for my four night stay in Medellin. I decided to take the first of these to a well preserved colonial town called Santa Fe de Antioquia on Monday - am still having problems with my feet and they needed a rest! Got to the right bus terminal via the metro OK but when I saw that there were more than 50 counters selling tickets nearly turned tail and fled. However a helpful young man at the ‘punto de información’ pointed me in the right direction and I was soon getting on the bus. All very simple and straightforward. There are so many people checking your ticket that it would be difficult to get on the wrong one and they even put the bus's registration number on your ticket. A succession ... read more
Plaza de Simón Bolívar
'Public transport' in Santa Fe de Antioquia
My eating place, Santa Fe de Antioquia

South America » Colombia » Medellin March 15th 2015

Said goodbye to the B and B in Cartagena with some relief. It was the cook's day off so the gardener prepared breakfast, which was a bit hit and miss. Everything went very smoothly at the airport. With some trepidation I checked my case in. The idea had been to travel with just hand luggage but this turned out to be totally impractical what with the 200 ml bottles of shampoo (none provided anywhere), camomile lotion for mosquito bites (all that the pharmacies here seemed to offer) and body lotion for my sore feet (cream for feet unobtainable here). It would also have helped if I had only taken one jumper and jettisoned the make-up! Fears proved unfounded. Avianca did not lose my luggage. Established that a taxi from the airport to my area of Medellin ... read more
Locals enjoying a Sunday outing to the Botanic Gardens, Medellín
Moitor lizard, Botanic Gardens, Medellín

South America » Colombia » Cartagena March 14th 2015

Cartagena seems really crowded even though almost all the old town is pedestrianised, apart from horse-drawn carriages and taxis which are both allowed. It's great being able to hail one off the street as you can't do in Bogotá for security reasons. The area I am staying is supposed to be safe but, it turns out, not safe enough to walk back to after 8 pm. You are also locked in some of the day as well as night so you have to get the watchman to let you in and out. Have had a few issues with the hotel which is more of a bed and breakfast. Had to ask twice about the room safe which turns out to be hidden under the stairs next to the bed - you lift the plank. The hot ... read more
Typical street in the historic centre of Cartagena
Replica of scale used by the Spanish Inquisition for weighing 'witches' , Palacio de La Inquicisión
Replica of instrument of torture (skull-crushing), Palacio de la Inquisición

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta March 11th 2015

Had a quiet and rather lazy day yesterday in Santa Marta. In the morning I went to the Quinta San Pedro which is where Simón Bolívar died in poverty and obscurity, having failed to keep the states he liberated together as a single country. I took the hotel staff's advice and went and returned by taxi - the fare of 7 thousand pesos is less than £2. Unfortunately the place was mobbed by elderly and very decrepit- looking American tourists whose guides had microphones and were competing with each other in volume. Perhaps a lot of their charges were deaf. Anyway it made me think that I had better get my travelling in quick before I was reduced to doing it their way. I found out from the taxi driver that they had come off a ... read more
School children visiting Quinta San Pedro
Cathedral of Santa Marta
Santa Marta by night




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