Los Caminos al sur – From now on to the south

I arrived totally exhausted in Cartagena. What a day – I was carrying my heavy backpack 10Km through the national park and Santa Marta and I still was a bit tired from my cold I caught in the rain forest. I decided to stay some days in and around to Cartagena to be well prepared for the rest of my trip, because from now on it will go to the south…

Cartagena is definitely one of the most beautiful cities of South America. The historic center has nice small streets and very beautiful buildings. People say its one of the most romantic city of the continent and I think they are right. I went several days into the center just to walk on its streets and it was never boring. I met new friends from Germany, Austria, England and Australia and spend my time to visit with them the city or go out at night. I also met 3 friends I know from my internship in the Dominican Republic and together we went out to dance Salsa and speak about the old times.

Close to Cartagena is the Playa Blanca, the “White Beach”. Together with some friends I met in the Hostel we went 2 days to the beach (they stayed longer) and it was really cool! First we had to go almost one hour by boat through the bay of Cartagena before we reached the beach. First it was a bit cloudy but after the clouds left, the sun made the beach super beautiful with white sand and turquoise water. I put my hammock in between two trees and enjoyed my life while doing nothing. I felt perfect! The rest of the day I spend reading, snorkeling and just swimming in the shallow water… That’s life how it should be!

The next days I decided to take it easy and I just stayed two days in Cartagena without doing that much thinks. I slept a lot, met my old friends, met new friends, walked around the city and visit a more or less good Argentinean concert (The steak they do is better…)

And then it meant for me:  Put the backpack on your shoulders and the feet on the street! Better to say I put them in the bus and that for the next 17 hours while I was traveling to Medellin, once one of the most dangerous cities in South America and home of the famous drug baron Pablo Escobar, today a peaceful and high developed metropolis. Going to the south also meant for me, that its getting cold (what’s in Europe exactly the contrary), but it was fresh in Medellin! My friend Ana I know from Sao Paulo picked me up from the bus station and after 20min driving her car was not moving anymore and that in the middle of the highway. The passing by police had that much glue from cars like me, exactly nothing, that we had no other choice to call the mechanic to pick the car up and the parents of Ana had to leave earlier from their family party to bring us to their place – a farm on the border of Medellin.

The next day Ana was showing me together with her brother David and her sister Sarah the city and it was very nice. In Medellin there is a cable way connected to the Metro – the Metro Cable. With that and the fact that the Metro is on the surface you can make a city tour while sitting in the metro or in the cable way which goes directly over the poor neighborhoods. A very nice way to see the communities, otherwise I would never enter there. At night Ana and I went out to see the nightlife of Medellin. I personally preferred the second club, because they played Reggaeton, which was better than the Colombian country music and it seemed sympatric that half of the people where dancing on the tables 😉

The next day I planned to take the night bus to Bogota and Ana had a family event in the afternoon that I explored the city by myself. But it’s always better to do it with a local because I ended up in the street full of drug addicts and people smoked crack or other things on the street that I decided it would be better to leave…

Everyone who took an overnight bus in Latin America will confirm: It gets super cold inside! You are inside with pullover, jacket, long pants and blanket and you are still freezing. And when you leave the bus the wave of heat kicks you out. Same for the overnight bus to Bogota except that you leave the cold bus and – outside its colder! WTF?! I am in Latin America and I am freezing outside! I forgot that Bogota is 2600m high and gets especially in the night and in the morning very cold! My friend Javier, who was my work mate in the Dominican Republic, picked me up from the terminal and during the day he was giving me a nice city tour including a local drink called “chicha”, which should be similar to a beer, but which is totally not my taste!  I even got some small stomach problems, so I will let it e a locals drink…

From the Monserrate mountain we could get an awesome view over the city and it was for me also to this moment the highest point of my trip: 3200m. Javier was telling me some cool things about Bogota, for example that they close some main streets on Sundays for car traffic that people can go with their bike or for a walk on it. In a pub in a very nice and modern neighborhood we had a beer and talked about old times. Its always great to meet some friends from other trips or other stays you had before and I always tell my friends when it comes to the shitty moment of goodbye “You always see each other twice in life” – and it comes true…

I left Bogota in a good moment, even if it was a sad one. The FARC was committing a car bombing in the city center, almost there where we have been the day before, to kill a former minister. But until now I feel still save and enjoy this great country. On my way to the coffee region of Salento I saw today the beautiful nature of Colombia and I feel quite sad that I will leave this country in a couple of days for my way to the south…

More pictures can are in the gallery.

Reisevorbereitung

Mathias Written by:

2 Comments

  1. 18. May 2012
    Reply

    Beautiful! I love the picture of all Bogotá! It is lovely! Keep enjoying your trip and keep trying all local delicacies! I guess you will continue going south until reaching Chile? If that’s the case, I’m quite envious, I wish I could do that kind of trip you are doing. I’ve never been to South America, but one day I’ll do the same as you, stop working for some months and do a very epic trip around that big continental mass that South America is.. Keep informing us about your future adventures over there! Saludos wey!

  2. 26. April 2013
    Reply

    Pre trip was Bolivia. It has a lot to offer, but spending 5 days at such a high altitude, made it very difficult to enjoy. The trip leader was wonderful, but it’s too many days too high.Columbia – Bogota was okay.Santa Marta must be reworked. I thought it was a waste. But knowing someone from there, I was expecting to see other sites and swim in warm calm waters, which did not happen. This can be totally improved to make it a worthwhile stop.Cartegna was the best of the 3 locations.Overall, there is not much to see or do in Columbia, compared with other south american destinations. I would not recommend this trip in it’s current form.

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