Reflections on a Colombian vacation

2017-03-02
On the way to Houston airport

Kim relaxing before starting home


Just a quick photo of my lovely wife waiting for our flight to return to the USA. 

So how was our trip/ adventure/ vacation? In a word, one of our BEST! It seems like we have been gone longer than a month, and that’s a good thing. Each phase of our trip was like dream. 

Bogota was noisy and hectic, with crazy crazy traffic, but the murals and the Salt Cathedral were well worth the effort. 

Salt Cathedral was amazing


Then came the Amazon. For me a dream come true. I remember watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom as a kid and vowing that one day I would make it there. It was everything I hoped. 

The Amazon River. Can you believe it?


The real shocker for me was Cartagena. Normally I don’t like big cities, but there was something so romantic about it. I loved the outdoor cafes and just walking around the old city. 

Cartagena. The name says it all.


Next came Playa Blanca. It was a party island, but it also had its quiet beautiful moments. People filled the beach from 11am to 4pm. The hottest part of the day. They could have it. Kim and I enjoyed the rest of the day everyday. 

Playa Blanca


And last there was Isla Grande. As soon as we landed in this place we knew that we were going to run out our vacation there. At first we stayed a few days at a backpacker hostel. We really enjoyed it but it was inland and the beach is were it’s at for us. So we moved to Hotel La Cocotera and it was a little slice of heaven. 

One of our favorites. Isla Grande


A surprise for us was just how little Colombia had on common with Central America. It felt incredibly safe. Only once in the whole month was there a fellow up to no good. He lasted about 5 minutes before the street vendors chased him away from us–with a stick! 

I look forward to coming back to Colombia. Maybe even next year? 

¿Quién sabe?

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A last walk around Cartagena

2017-03-01

Cartagena, Colombia

Hotel Stil Cartagena (evening in Bogota airport)

Our last meal.


Last night we did our usual walk. A beer in the square, followed by a nice meal of cervicie and wine at a outdoor café. Then it was on to Mr. Cools for a hand made rum raisin gelato. I could do that every night. 


This morning after breakfast at our hotel, we decided to take one last walk around the city. This time instead of the “Old City”, when we stayed last time, we walked around Getsemani, an older neighborhood with an eclectic collection of backpacker hostels, funky restaurants and businesses looking to take advantage of the trendy atmosphere. There were interesting antique doors, and murals just about everywhere we walked. It’s not too hard to get a terrific photograph here. All you have to do is snap a photo, turn around, and snap another. 

All you had to do was take a photo–

Turn around and take another.


By 11 am it was too hot to be on the street so we headed back to our room. 

Let’s remember that everyone is not so fortunate!

A ride of a lifetime  

2017-02-28
Cartagena, Colombia

Hotel Stil Cartagena

A nice sunset for our last night on Isla Grande


 We arrived in Cartagena late yesterday afternoon. It was windy when we left Isla Grande. The boat that picked us up was very full with about 35 people. I though that it had about 15 too many people. We had a hard time finding a seat. I thought that the sea might be rough so I wasn’t surprised when the boat took off with a fair bit of shaking, but then our pilot slowed the boat to a crawl, and made the announcement that we were in for a very wet and rough ride, but not to become frightened, which of course had exactly the opposite reaction.  

The boat had twin 250 hp outboard engines. Our pilot put the throttle to the max and soon we were at once airborne, and then came violently crashing down. There was a fair amount of screaming. One woman in front was even trying to jump off the boat. Other passengers were trying their best to hold her back. 

Once again the pilot stopped in mid sea. The swells were enormous, so that the boat rolled and pitched in a manner that looked like half of the passengers were soon going to start throwing up. People again starting shouting, but this time “¡Hale, hale! Siga, por favor!” Which is just what he did. I have never been on a boat in such rough seas going so fast and had as much confidence in a captain. As the tall and muscular and shirtless blackman stood working the wheel quickly from side to side I could see that he was at one with the sea. He was in the zone. After awhile I started to get into it. I briefly though about getting out my camera, but then another full bucket of sea water was dumped on me I decided to leave it in the waterproof bag that I had put it in. 

An hour later we pulled into the dock at Cartagena. Soaked but safe. 

I was last to get off, so all I got was a picture of an empty boat with a lot of memories.   

Safe and sound in Cartagena


Kim enjoying a well deserved alcoholic beverage after our adventure.

It’s our last day on Isla Grande!

2017-02-26
Isla Grande, Colombia

Hotel La Cocotera

All night long the wind howled. This morning it was cloudy, and the usuallly calm surf was choppy. We swam anyway, and because of the cloudy day we were able to lay on the beach in the warm sunshine extra long.
After a nice breakfast on the windy porch Kim took up her art supplies and I took off on another hiking adventure. 

The town square–kinda.


I went through Orika, the small town. It has a town square but it was pretty sad. On the other side I came a cross an almost abandoned Aviary. The were a few birds there, and the ones that were there looked healthy, but once again there was nobody who seemed to be in charge. Just a couple of small kids hanging around. 

A few peacocks wandered the grounds.


Who pretty much ignored me. 


I followed a small path which ran thru the swamp, and was pleasantly surprised to be back  in town. It is a small island. From there it was a short trip home. And tomorrow we start on our journey back home. It will be pretty sad to leave this place. 

Here’s lookin’ at you kid.