I have had issues with wi-fi on my laptop for a while, so I am behind in updates. This will be a brief update.
We are back in Bogotá for just one night after visits to Cartagena, Barranquilla and Cali. Kidlet and have flown four airlines so far here in Colombia! Flying domestically is quite pleasant, easy and stress-free.
Cartagena’s historic core is fantastic and so romantic. It is hot there but evenings are perfect with the night breeze. I would love to return again for a get-away with Hubster or some girlfriends. Unfortunately, when I left the core – which we did to go to the local’s bus station – I saw that much of the surrounding area is, as a Colombian resident described, “fifth world.” Not all of what I saw outside the core is that way, but the contrast is stark. But I did love Cartagena, as did Kidlet. I even managed to locate the most famous Gabriel Garcia Marquez literary locations, and kidlet visited her first castle.
Next we went to Barranquilla – out of cost concerns, actually. We couldn’t afford to stay in Cartagena any longer and Kidlet wanted a beach.
Unfortunately, Barranquilla didn’t deliver on beaches and we couldn’t make it to Santa Marta or Tayrona due to Kidlet’s bus ride intolerance and flight schedule limitations. We stayed at a family hostel in Barranquilla and visited the zoo but mostly we just tried to stay cool. The humidity on Barranquilla was so overbearing for me I dreaded leaving the hostel during the day.
We spent two nights there with an Italian-Colombian household full of travelers and then took the 6am flight to Cali, where my friend’s mother invited us to stay near her finca/holistic day spa.
Cali is the second largest city in Colombia, and like Cartagena, has a large visible Afro-Colombian population. I felt pretty comfortable there, even though of the six days we spent there, only two were really spent in the city. We visited the Cali Zoo which was quite good (far superior to Barranquilla’s), the archaelogical museum, and the museum of gold of Calima, as well as a few other sites.
Our guide, Noemi, works for my friend’s mom, and she took us around on a hilarious-in-retrospect transportation adventure! And also, we danced with hundreds of other people in a popular Thursday night plaza dance party.
We ate healthy food in Cali and enjoyed the rural life, which included walking dirt roads in the dark, many many many ranging dogs (and chickens), countless bug bites, swimming in the river and a rustic cabin in the woods. (Okay, I did not much enjoy the dogs or the bugs.)
Now we are in La Candelaria neighborhood, which is beautiful and close to the bus station (I think). We found a lovely hotel that I wish we were staying at for another night, but alas. Reservations await us at another farm in Villa de Leyva. I enjoy farms but I like having easy access to the town. We’ll see if our place in Villa de Leyva offers that.
Nine days to go in Colombia! And for now, good night.