Te extraño, Colombia.

Cayley Mitchell - Barranquilla

Our home for 2015, Barranquilla

We are home. After a year in Colombia, a month in Peru and a few days in New York City, I am back in Johannesburg, wondering what to do next. Instead of concentrating on the future, however, I find myself reflecting more on the year that has passed. And I have to admit: Colombia, I miss you. Continue reading

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Cats and Capybaras in Cali

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Cali, the capital of Colombia’s Valle del Cauca department, is a city full of character and spirit. It was the last stop on our June trip, where we spent just two days before flying back to Barranquilla. The country’s Afro-Colombian heritage is really evident in Cali, where the people are warm and passionate, and the city buzzes with a seductive energy. Continue reading

Salento and Las Palmas de Cera

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After spending the day exploring the Hacienda Venecia finca and sampling some Colombian coffee, pretending to know whether the aromas were spicyearthy, or chocolaty, we left Manizales and made our way to Salento. Salento is a tranquil little town in the Quindío department, at the heart of the coffee triangle, and is the gateway to the stunning Cocora Valley. Continue reading

Two Colombian Pueblos

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After five days in Medellín, we left the big city and set out for the Colombian countryside. On our two hour bus ride, we watched lush green hills roll past the windows before arriving in the small town of Guatapé. This pueblo is built along the banks of a reservoir, created when the government flooded the area in the 1970s. Apparently, at the bottom of the lake somewhere lies the original town of Guatapé – a casualty of the nation’s hydroelectric power needs.

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The City of Eternal Spring

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A two week vacation recently marked the halfway point of this year-long Colombian adventure. It was a holiday that I desperately needed after all the work I’d been doing last semester. Hah.

This trip saw us venturing inland, leaving the costeños behind and travelling to the land of the paisas. We hopped on an early flight to Medellín on June 20th with the low-cost airline Viva Colombia, and flew back from Cali fourteen days later. Stepping off the plane, we were instantly relieved to escape the suffocating heat and humidity of the coast, and from there things just kept getting better. Continue reading

Our first adventure on the Colombian coast

Although I have yet to do any real work in Barranquilla, we recently had our first week of holiday. There are so many places we want to visit in Colombia, but for the week of Semana Santa we decided to keep things local and explore the coastal region.

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Last Saturday morning, five of us volunteers met at the bus station and left for Santa Marta. It was a relatively uneventful experience, although we had underestimated the queues of people we would find at the station, as everyone fled the city in search of sun and sea in Santa Marta. Once we’d hopped off the bus, we dawdled on the side of the road for a few minutes deliberating on how best to get to Taganga – a small village about fifteen minutes outside the city. We decided that a taxi between us would amount to the same as a bus, and so the five of us squashed in and off we went.

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