Days spent: 32
Bus journeys: 6
Places Visited: 11
Favourite beer: Club Colombia Rojo (It’s really good!)
Hammocks purchased: 1
Tejo bangs: Dave – 0, M – 4
The Good: Bright / colourful / beautiful / buzzing / good food / good drivers / diverse landscape and people / friendly / very patient with non Spanish speakers
The Less Good: Cold showers / buses / loud / road markings just a guide / love to use car horns / Colombians love a photo (everyone is in the way of OUR photos) / Colombians love a day out (everyone is in the way)
Dave – Salento (I’ve banged on about it in the blog and the town itself wasn’t super special but I just had a lovely time in lovely soundings.)
M – Guatapé
M – I loved Colombia! I would go back in a heartbeat.
It’s a really beautiful country with a really diverse landscape. The people are as diverse as the country it’s self.
All the houses and buildings are painted in different, bright colours. It is so pretty.
I was pleasantly surprised by the food. We were spoilt for choice and quality. Colombians really take their food seriously.
The driving is crazy. It’s fast and seemingly erratic. The road markings are just a guideline which are more often ignored. We only saw one accident during our whole time in Colombia which leads me to believe they must be really good drivers.
The people of Colombia love a day out. Everywhere we went it was busy. Sometimes not just busy but absolutely packed. My guess is that they are making the most of being able to visit these beautiful and interesting parts of their country in relative safety. They also love a photo. Everywhere you look people are posing and pouting at a lens somewhere. Seriously they look like they are taught to pose from birth!
Colombians are curious and not shy. They will unashamedly stare at you as they walk past, they will stand too close and they will sometimes give you a little touch. It’s not threatening or intimidating, it’s just their way. They will stop you and speak to you, ask you where you are from. They will welcome you to their country and they genuinely want to know how you’re finding it. They will try and help you. They will be patient as you destroy the language and correct you without judgement. Most of all they want people to visit their beautiful country and see there is so much more to it than just it’s historic reputation. Don’t get me wrong they still have issues and Colombia is not completely safe but they’ve made huge improvements. We spent 10 days in Medellín, 20 odd years ago this city was one of the most dangerous places in the world. It’s now boasts one of the best and without doubt, the cleanest public transport networks. There is investment into education and public areas. There’s investment into sports facilities and public libraries. There are different pueblos (like boroughs) and each area has a grading. These grading depend on the wealth of the people in these areas. The higher the grading, the more they pay to use these facilities, the more they pay for utilities and the more they pay to go to university. National service is compulsory, you join the army or the police, unless you continue your education. The general rule seems to be they are trying to tackle crime by improving education. Now I’m talking general education though and not ‘look here’s what happened in the past, let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again’. Colombia are not ready to face their past yet, let alone learn from it. Their history has not yet finished and for so many is still too raw. There seems to be very split opinion on many of the historic issues but the majority of people we spoke to are so proud of how their country is progressing and finally moving forward. In my humble though, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if they added recent history to the curriculum and got some discussions happening. To make sure the younger generation understand what their parents had to live through, to be where they are now. The risk is that the younger generation buy into the glamourised images portrayed in the media. The whole subject is so taboo and no one will even say HIS name in public. It’s obviously a contentious issue and maybe, with the many opinions held, its time Colombia has some rest from fighting. For now maybe, they can bury their heads in the sand for a while and just be free to be the happy and joyful nation, during relative peace times, as they continued to be through their troubled past.
D – It was well good!
I echo Em’s words but mostly I’m just annoyed about Tejo… Overall though, couldn’t have hoped for a better place to start our trip!
Oh, and barely regulated capitalism… Not sure we saw a single pushy vendor but stuff was available to buy whenever we wanted. If you’re someone who enjoys ice-cream and beer it’s particularly great, both were plentiful throughout our stops in Colombia.