Colombia, the land of magical people..

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

In my last blog I described how I got into Colombia on a sailing boat. The final destination of the 5 day sailing trips is usually Cartagena. My first way lead to my Danila in her office..It was absolutely amazing to see her! She checked in with me in the hostel called ‘El viajero’, we got ready and we headed out to see the rest of the ‘sailors’ to Mamma Llena where they stayed, as we agreed that we are going to do the party chiva bus the first night on proper land.

Well..party chiva did not disappoint me this time either! 2 years ago I did this same bus party with my dear Hungarian friend Lili (whom I am going to see on he 1st of August after 2 years !! well excited:) and Renaud, from France. This was also the night 2 years ago when I met my friends living in Cali..they will have a proper dedicated section later on in the post.

A bit about this party bus. So you can book it in a hostel/hotel for about 35.000 COP (£12) and it includes a ‘Cartagena by night tour’ accompanied by live music, entertaining guide with great interaction with the participants and rum! What more you want?

The atmosphere is insane, people are dancing, singing, talking. We stop a few times and engage with the locals, then we get dropped off around 1-2 am by one of Cartagena’s best nightclubs to enjoy the typical dance called vallenato. Here is a bit of a taster:

 

 

Next day I felt awful..It wasn’t only hangover. The water in Cartagena is not good. Your drinks on the chiva come with ice made of tap water. Be careful. Also I think my immune system was already a bit run down. I got to know a really nice girl though called Vina. She is AmeriMexican and the lucky thing was heading down to the World Cup .. 2 days after chiva we went to Playa Blanca with Danila and  Vina.

It was quite busy cause it was a bank holiday in Colombia but equally it was great and the water was very pleasant!

Playa Blanca Playa Blanca Playa Blanca Danila and Vina

The day after I was walking around ..needless to say also the previous 2 nights we were out and in Cartagena it is very easy to go to bed as the sun is rising cause you can get lost in dancing and the entertainment of locals. 🙂 One evening we went out to see the captain who works in the same company as Danila, and my favourite sailing buddy, Amabel.

Sushi night Sushi Cartagena

After checking the bus prices to Medellin I found that flights are only maybe £10 more expensive so it was an easy choice for me to make. I took a flight to Medellin on Tuesday the 2nd July saying goodbye to Danila, Vina, the Caribbean, and the costeños..(It was a big step for me for not going to Santa Marta, the place where I enjoyed my time the most on my first trip working, partying, trekking in Lost City, dancing, drinking awesome juices every day but I had to see Medellin, and Salento this time, which I missed out last time and of course return to the salsa capital Cali!)

So I flew into Medellin, travelled with a lovely lady from the airport to the centre, from which we took a taxi together, she dropped me off at Black Sheep hostel. She said her favourite Hungarian writer was Sandor Marai (I like him very much too!) This hostel where I decided to stay is a kiwi-colombian owned hostel. Fab staff, location (very quiet street near the Zona Rosa). I had about 4-5 days in Medellin. What helped enormously is a friend I had there called Andres. We met with Andres on one of the best nights I have ever had in Bogota in Andres Carne de Res. Since then we have been in contact on and off and when he saw that I was coming he called me on skype and gave me some great tips on what to visit in Medellin. I met him and his girl one night with my Hungarian friend, Agi whom I met in Cartagena before Medellin and turned out we were heading the same direction. She is a lovely girl, we had great laugh together (sometimes pulling hair but that’s just Hungarian passion:). She was about to go to ayahuasca. This is a South American ritual where the participants with the help of  the Shamans and a special plant from the Amazon get rid of negative energies and the plant opens up chakras opening also future opportunities or seeing past memories. You are not supposed to eat 5 days before the event (which goes on during the night) but Agi ignored this little condition and was happily eating lamb 3 days before the ritual. She then informed me that the event went very well and she is feeling great. Medellin is a great city. It’s nothing similar as people imagine it as. Not drug capital anymore and there is no danger as it was 20 years ago. Anyone who comes here SHOULD DEFINITELY do the walking city tour with Pablo (http://www.realcitytours.com/ ). His enthusiasm and patriotism made me cry whilst listening to Colombia’s history.

Medellin Medellin-Andres Medellin Medellin-old colombia medellin -new colombia Pablo and  Agi

 

Medellin Medellin Medellin-Botero

The next day I went to Guatape and Piedra del Penol. We went with a superb retro minibus (https://www.facebook.com/vanporcolombia?fref=ts)  and visited an artificial lake and a huge rock (740 steps to get up there). And the town of Guatape is a miracle…so nice and colourful!! What made it even more beautiful was the people and the fact that I bumped into an Italian couple whom I met in Honduras!! What a nice and unexpected surprise! 

Penol Penol Guatape Italians Guatape

 

In Medellin I met a fantastic couple from London, Kim and Keith. Keith wasn’t a big fan of Latin music as opposed to Kim (always the girls!!!!) so we went out one night to a Cuban club ..great night, great dancing!

We actually became good friends and happened to continue our journey to the same place on the same day, to Salento.

Salento is in the Coffee Zone with excellent hiking possibilities including breathtaking landscapes in the Valle Cocora.

Salento Kim and Keith Salento Salento Salento

The town itself is beautiful as well with full of incredible handicraft…given that I had 3 weeks left of my trip this time I bought a few things including my hammock and a lamp..these things will remind me every day of this cracking country and journey <3.

In Salento we stayed in a very cosy homey hostel called Casona de Lili. Lili, the owner was super sweet…every morning we received a big hug and smile ..juice, coffee and just simply love. There are many options to stay in Salento but this little house is highly recommended.

Kim and Keith decided to stay one more day not to miss the opening ceremony of the World Cup but I moved on to Cali where my dear friends were waiting for me with open arms. A bit of introduction about them..

Claudia- Carlos and Lorena- Luis Fernando: We met 2 years ago in Cartagena after me and my friend Lili and Renaud went on a chiva bus party..the memory stayed alive clearly as Claudia sent me an email a year ago that she was coming to Europe with work and she happened to be in London on my 30th birthday party!:)

2012:

Cali Pachanguero

2013:

Claudia

2014:

cali

She kindly offered me that I can stay with her and Carlos..and without any doubt this was the best part of my trip (apart from when Richard came to see me)! Carlos and Luis Fernando are musicians so we sang, danced, played on congas, guitar, did karaoke and everything one can imagine. I cooked one day Gulyas for them, we went out in town, clubbing, they looked after me so well ..I cannot be grateful enough to them.

Another fabulous addition to this week was Maki! Maki is my Japanese friend, whom I met again 2 years ago in the Bolivian jungle..me Danila and her (and of course David from Germany) hung out among the crocodiles for days and Maki decided to come back to South America! And she came to Colombia to see me!!! So we met in Cali (after she left her luggage again somewhere she made it to Cali with a couple of days of delay) and she spent the last bit of my travels with me. One evening we went to kilometre 18 in a place called ‘La Neblina’. This is a place where no tourist have ever been..18 km from Cali towards Buenaventura with a completely different climate there is a place with curvy mountain road which is a very popular place to go for the ‘caleños’. In fact if you want to see something adventurous (or do), you should drive down this road back to Cali…young crazy people are cycling down with the speed of cars overtaking from left and right or up and down..doesn’t really matter for them…as a car driver it’s a bigger challenge not to hit them!

Another memorable event in Cali I experienced was the first Colombian game during the World Cup against Greece. We all know what the outcome was and having been in Colombia during this time was similar experience to those being in Brazil!

Multiple day party followed the victory…

Sadly on the 17th June I had to fly to Bogota..1 day before the last..

Luckily Maki kept me company but Cali took everything out of me so we didn’t go out on my last night. On the 18th we went to the Botero museum and Maki left around 1pm, and I continued to the Gold museum and checking out the souvenirs.

Getting to the airport around 6pm in rush hours was again quite an experience..I nearly missed my flight back to Europe!!

I decided to stay one night in Madrid before flying back to London as I have never been before. I watched the second Colombian game here which ended with the same result as the one before.

On the 20th I flew back to London where Richard was waiting for me with open arms and heart full of love. I spent a week in London, went for an interview 6 days after my arrival, then flew home to Hungary, got a call informing me that I got the job, had a great couple of weeks, Richard came over for the last 4 days and now back in London again and just started my new job today.

This is my last blog for a while..but I am sure I’ll update it after my future short trips…

It’s not an end..but a new beginning..and Colombia stays in my heart forever..<3

 

 

 

 

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