First stop in South America. Big and busy city. A bit too much for me, especially after the last exhausting weeks back home.
However, I got an easy start: Claudia picked me up at the airport and had already booked a hostel for us. Perfect service. I personally can only recommend the Travel Agency Bruder.
The second day Susana took us out on a lovely evening. Gorgeous Colombian food. Guys, I ate plantains. And I liked it! Isn’t that crazy?! Well, that’s basically what traveling is about: Making new experiences and widen your horizon. We’ve got a few beers afterward and chatted until we were tired (well, it was actually me who was tired first ;-)
Thanks to Susana for that very warm welcome in Colombia! Awesome girl! Thanks also to Esther, who introduced us. Best MB ever!
A few kilometers outside of Bogotá lies the city Zipauirá. We went there to visit the Catedral de Sal, but the city is very beautiful and relaxed, thus worth a trip itself.
The Catredal de Sal is very impressive. It is an old salt mine that was turned into a big cathedral under the earth. They built some amazing lighted sculptures in it, so you can really get into a spiritual mood if you want to. I liked the place a lot. Quite a contrast to the busy city of Bogotá and thus very good to come down at least a bit.
As written above I was longing for some quietness to calm down a bit and Claudia luckily agreed to change our planned itinerary. So we did not go to the next big cities (like Medellín) but took a direct bus to Santa Marta instead.
So I was up to my first bus ride in South America. I can tell you: Crazy crazy. Fucking crazy. Contrary to all my expectations, the booking went great, the bus left on time and was really comfortable. However, they cool you down to ice while being in the already cold mountain region around Bogotá and turn off the air con (ok, it broke down) once you reach the hot regions of the Caribbean Coast :-)
But the most crazy part was the traffic on the road. The first hours are an up- and downhill ride trough the mountainous region of central Colombia. And there is really heavy traffic on the road. Big big trucks. Buses. Motorbikes. And even bicycles. Vehicle behind vehicle. In both directions. Still, one tries to overtake the other. Is there a curve ahead? Never mind. Give it a try. Best were the flashing white light and the big loud horns on our bus that came into action when the driver tried to overtake a truck in the dark night. Awesome!
However, there is one important point to add: Despite all the traffic and the overtaking manoeuvres I felt totally safe during the whole ride. Although they traffic conditions here leads more or less automatically to a more risky driving style, all drivers are far less aggressive. That basically means that they slow down or even brake although it would be there right to drive. Fantastic attitude.
Two more experiences that you travel for:
- A couple sitting one row before us in a bus in Bogotá. Though they seemed to be very poor and in need of a shower and some new clothes they were full of joy and happiness. Very kind to each other, singing together and enjoying themselves. Even laughed at and with us. How great!
- The guide in the Catetral de Sal took us aside after the mining tour and apologized for not translating everything into English. Although it was not his fault at all as there were two stupid girls in the group who claimed that they could do the translating much better (which they could not!). Friendly friendly people here in Colombia!
The decision to head for the Caribbean Coast first was great! Really great! More about this in the next posts…
I miss you all! Big hugs, Michael