A Travellerspoint blog

March 2010

Last days in Bogota

Goodbye South America

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We had come better prepared for the wintry temperatures on the bus but despite our efforts we were still absolutely freezing. For this reason it was bitter sweet when we arrived in Bogota at 4:30am. On the one hand it was nice to be somewhere a little bit warmer i.e. outside but on the other we didn't want to head into the centre in the dark, it just didn't seem safe. For this reason we sat in the terminal with hot drinks until the sun began to rise.

Once in the centre we went straight to the hotel we'd stayed at before, we did have a reservation but we were three days early, luckily for us though they had a room.
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Once inside it we went to sleep for a couple of hours. The rest of that day we were pretty inactive, we just managed to make it to the cinema where we saw The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Heath Ledger's last movie which was ok. It was nice to see Heath in something, and I liked the fantasy behind it but some of the acting was a bit dodgy and the story flagged in places. Still it was a good way to spend a lazy afternoon.

The following day we first went to the tailors to check in on Adam's suit and were told to return in the afternoon. Our next stop was the leather area to pick up our jackets which were ready and waiting. First impressions were good although since then we have both found flaws, I'm not sure whether it's the jackets themselves or the fact that we're not completely comfortable wearing them. I think putting on something like that when you feel otherwise disgusting, wearing dirty clothes and in my case a pair of ripped trousers being held together with duct tape it is hard to not feel a little odd. I didn't really like the fact that mine had shoulder pads in it which Adam has since removed for me so I'm feeling a little happier but I am reserving my full judgement until I am slightly more polished human being. Either way they were great value for money. When we returned to the tailor he had an unfinished jacket for Adam to try on which turned out to be good because Adam could make more adjustments and have things move in the direction he wanted. It was now Monday and we were instructed to return again on Thursday afternoon.

The following day we caught the bus to another shopping mall in a really posh part of town and here we saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D which we both enjoyed. I thought the 3D was much better than in Avatar and it seemed to fit the story really well. I find it difficult to fault any film which combines Tim Burton and Johnny Depp so my review is not exactly fair but even with that said I think it is definitely worth seeing. After the film we walked around the mall which was very expensive, I tried on a £600 Diesel leather jacket just to see if I liked it better, I didn't. Then we headed back to our part of town and looked in some of the touristy artisan arcades where we bought the obligatory magnets. I seriously don't know what we're going to do with all of them but they're a nice keepsake.

Most of our time in Bogota this time round was spent shopping as we checked out different areas. One of these was San Andresito which seemed to sell absolutely everything but mainly trainers, there were a zillion of them and as we didn't want to buy trainers this was a bit annoying. Instead we looked at boots, belts, clothes and more, which all could have done with being a little cheaper but it was still good. My knees did not appreciate all this trudging around but as our trip was coming to an end we needed to make sure that we saw as much as we could in the time we had. As getting around town can become quite expensive if you take taxis we made sure that we took buses and got to grips with the TransMileno buses which in the end weren't so confusing.

On Thursday we returned for Adam's suit and it was much more finished but he still had the chance to make changes which was good because the tailor seemed to be erring on the large side. I think this may be normal though as you can make big smaller but not the other way round. Again we were told to return the next day. Finally on Friday afternoon after the morning at Unicentro one of the largest shopping centres in Bogota, Adam's suit was finished and it was great. The tailor had pulled it out of the bag in the end and everything was spot on. We're both interested to see how the Indian and Colombian suits compare when we get home.

Our final weekend in South America passed by in a blur as we tried to get everything we wanted before it was too late. We presumed Sunday would be pretty much a right off as far as shops were concerned and we had planned to visit various museums and art galleries instead. So wanting to make the most of our last day we got up early and walked down to Plaza Bolivar which seemed to be closed off.
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After making it through the security check we realised that there was something official taking place and that's when we saw the voting booths. These congressional elections which were apparently the calmest in 25 years would put the kibosh on all our planned activities. We walked up to the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) and we found army men, booths and a closed museum. We were both really disappointed as we'd really wanted to go in there. Next we tried our luck at the Modern Art Museum but that was also closed as was the National Museum. We were not having any luck. There were some markets and street stalls set up so we had a look round them and bought a couple of bits and bobs.

In the afternoon we tried to get the funicular train up a hill which looks out over Bogota but after a steep walk we were told that it was closed.
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Not our day. Now resigned to the fact that our Sunday had been a bit of non starter we went to our regular, local chicken restaurant where our faces are known and had our last chicken dinner.
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After our last supper we returned to the hotel to try and fit everything into our backpacks, which was quite a challenge. Then we attempted to go to sleep early as we had to be up at 3:20am, this was also a challenge!

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 06:58 Archived in Colombia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

A little stop on the way South

in a town on the rivers mouth

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Mompos was our chosen destination, it is a colonial town and a UNESCO world heritage site on the banks of the river Magdalena. To get there we had to take two buses, a boat and a finally a taxi. We thought the boat was going to take us all the way there and were a little bit disappointed when about 20 minutes into the trip we were told to get off. I fell asleep in the taxi though and so for me it didn't take too much longer to get there.

We'd read and heard that Mompos was meant to be really, really beautiful. Lily for one had gone on about how pretty it was, so we were a bit confused when we arrived. However this is one of those times when you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Once we'd found a room in a cheap hotel we went out to explore. It is a little rough around the edges, the white buildings aren't bedazzling and it does feel slightly run down but this is really part of its charm. To us it felt real. We went down to the river and walked along it for a while which was very peaceful and pretty.
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On our way there I bought a pair of hand made silver earrings, which were very intricate in their design. Being a silver or goldsmith is a very traditional profession which still survives in Mompos today.
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Simon Bolivar the Liberator spent a large amount of time in Mompos and said 'If I owe my life to Caracas, then to Mompos I owe my glory.'
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It is quite a small place so it didn't take too long to walk around and by the time we had finished we were absolutely starving. We found a nice restaurant to eat in and the people were extremely friendly. While we were eating we began to discuss what we were going to do the following day. We wanted to get to Bogota but we had to figure out what the cheapest way was. Our choices were to go through either Medellin or Bucaramanga (the way we'd come). As we looked in to it more and more we came to the decision that it would be cheaper to go back through Bucaramanga which would mean missing Medellin but neither of really had the energy for another city. How to begin our journey was a little confusing though as it seemed the only buses out of Mompos departed at around 5am and if you didn't get a bus you could get a jeep but you had to book in advance. We looked on the internet and also tried to ask the people at the hotel but in the end just decided we'd get up very early, go out on to the street and hope it would all become clear.

Which of course it did, we tend to stick out with our massive backpacks on and sure enough the few people out and about asked us where we were trying to get to. So by 5:30am we were on a bus heading for El Banco and then just outside this town we got off and climbed on to another bus bound for Bucaramanga. This leg of our long day of travelling took about seven hours but it seemed to pass quite quickly. Once in Bucaramanga we booked our bus to Bogota for that evening at 8pm, and as it was now only 2pm we had 6 hours to kill. With this in mind we headed into the town to have lunch and a bit of a walk around. It unfortunately wasn't very attractive and there wasn't a lot to do. My knees were painful so we couldn't do too much walking, we tried to locate a cinema but none of the films were on at the right times so in the end we were on the way back to the bus station. We ended up killing quite a lot of time on the bus though as we missed our stop and were taken on a little tour which went through some nicer parts of the city. In the end our waiting time seemed to go by quite quickly, I think we've become experts at time wasting time and lengths of time seemed to have taken on a completely different meaning. Still as always it was nice to be on the bus, the last long haul bus of the entire trip which was an odd thing to realise.
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More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 06:41 Archived in Colombia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Being Beach Bums

and the final tour is a winner!

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Although we were sold one ticket each from Santa Marta to Cartagena we had to change in Barranquilla which thankfully was quick and painless. We still hadn't quite made our mind up about whether we were going to stay the night in Cartagena or continue on to Covenas, our next beach destination. Once we arrived though we came to the decision that we were too tired to continue and it would be a shame to miss a supposedly vibrant, Caribbean city. So after a twenty minute taxi ride, and a quick walk around we'd found a cheap place to stay in a pretty good location and they owned a parrott.
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We decided we would get up early in the morning to have a proper look round the town and just went out for an early dinner.

In the morning we got up about 7:30am and walked straight down to the historic quarter of Cartagena and I was really quite pleasantly surprised. It was very pretty with brightly painted buildings complete with wooden balconies, which lined narrow streets leading to palm tree filled plazas.
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At this time it was very quiet and we wondered round without being bothered. We had read that one of the major negatives of Cartagena was that tourists were continually harassed by touts but it appeared we had caught them napping.
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The only thing that followed us around was a little street dog which we named Lester.
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He followed us all along the historical city walls and then a little way through the streets as we made our way back to the hostel. I didn't want him to follow us too far because it would be too sad, so when he got distracted by a bucket full of water we picked up the pace a little.
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We couldn't help looking back a couple of minutes later and we spotted him down the street, he saw us too but he may have wandered out of his patch because other dogs started barking at him and he didn't come any further.

Once back at the hostel we literally picked up our bags and jumped on a bus to the terminal. Here we were directed to get off at a junction and were asked where we wanted to go. When we said Tolu we were rushed on to another bus and I was a bit concerned it wasn't actually going where we wanted. In the end though it worked out perfectly, in fact it took us all the way to the small place called Covenas where we wanted to stay, which is about 20kim west of Tolu. Covenas doesn't really have a centre, or not one that we found anyway, instead it is strung out along the Caribbean coast line and we had to walk along it for quite some time to find the hotel Adam had read about on the internet when doing some research about quiet beach side spots. Covenas is not really mentioned in our guidebook and hasn't really been discovered by foreigners, it is just for Colombians at the weekend and during holidays. We arrived on a non-holiday Monday and therefore it was pretty much deserted.

We stayed at the Los Corales Hotel which is owned by a Swiss man in his senior years, he's been in Colombia for over twenty years and he said running the hotel was his hobby. Nice hobby!
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Covenas beach is lovely, definitely the best we found along the main land coast. On the first day we were there we just relaxed on the beach.
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The hotel had a couple of deck chairs and a little shelter so we plonked ourselves down and did a bit of sunbathing. We also spent quite a bit of time in the sea which was lovely and warm. We did get a little bother from some touts but they generally took no for an answer and I didn't always say no, some of them had some nice things. Adam got talking to one of the touts called Orvil who had been learning English for a couple of years, he was from Cartagena and was down in Covenas for a month or so. Tough gig, wandering up and down a fairly deserted beach, we felt bad for them. Later in the afternoon Adam began to dig a big hole and during this process was joined by a energetic Labrador who tried to molester him a number of times, it was quite funny to watch.
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Eating cheaply wasn't really an option, we'd bought a bit of food with us but for main meals we ate at the hotels restaurant which was really lovely but a tad more expensive

Our next day in Covenas we went into Tolu to have a look around the town and also find out about trips to the San Sebastian Islands which from the pictures we'd seen looked lovely. Tolu was nice enough bu nothing special, I was glad we were staying in Covenas. Although I'm sure it would be much more lively in holiday season. We easily found somewhere offering tours to the islands and we booked to go the following day for £17 each including lunch and entry to an aquarium. Of course as soon as we'd booked it we had concerns about whether this tour was going to actually live up to the description. We had our fingers firmly crossed. After a little bit of shopping in Tolu we returned to Covenas where we spent the afternoon on the beach and Adam built a sandcastle.
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In the morning we got an early bus back to Tolu where we had a quick breakfast before boarding the boat. It was packed full of what I presumed to be Colombian's tourists, and when the boat picked up speed (it went really fast) they all started whooping and stuff. Given that most of them were over fifty it was quite funny.
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It took about thirty to forty five minutes to reach the first island where the aquarium was situated. As it was including in our ticket we were of course going in but the rest had to choose whether or not to pay the entrance. One of those people was an Australian guy called Robert who had been cycling through South America for 17 months. We had a brief chat to him before going in, he decided not to as did most of the other people so it was quite a small group of us who entered. It actually wasn't only an aquarium but also an ecological park and first of all we walked along to see some turtles swimming about in natural pools built in the ocean. I've never seen a turtle that close up and it was really quite special. They were so graceful and surprisingly inquisitive.
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After the turtles we walked through the interior of the island and saw loads of red squirrels, a few rabbits, a big bull, monkeys and lots of birds.
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The guide was chatting away in Spanish so obviously we didn't pick up too much but it was good nonetheless. There were a few fake skulls scattered about, perhaps in reference to the old tribes which lived on the islands, and one of the “Colombian” tourists, an old guy kept pointing them out to us which we thought was sweet.
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There was then a little nautical themed museum in a coconut shake, an area with more elaborate birds such as a peacock and a giant Ostrich who didn't look real, more like a puppet.
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At one point while we were having a little break from walking we were approached by a guy who asked where we were from. He was from Medellin and was here on holiday with his wife and daughter. A very nice guy who spoke decent English, and we both thought it was kind of him to talk to us. The final part of the tour was the aquarium and we entered it through a tunnel which started with the mouth of shark!
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Inside the first few tanks contained fairly unimpressive fish and lobsters but then the main attraction was a huge tank which had at least two dolphins in it.
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We couldn't quite believe it, all we'd seen for about £4.50, it was pretty impressive.

After the aquarium we got back in the boat and went to drop someone off at the most populated island in the world based on size, it was truly crazy. I couldn't quite wrap my head around why everyone wanted to live in this one spot.
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There must be a reason. We didn't stay long enough to find out though, instead we went off to the final destination for the day, one last island. Here we were to have lunch and relax on the beach. The sea was finally that beautiful colour we had been searching for and for the first time it did feel as though we were in the Caribbean.
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Once on the island we had a little dip in the water and then decided to do some snorkelling. It was only us and the guy from Medellin who got in a boat and were taken out into slightly deeper water. Then it was masks on and over the side. The coral unfortunately looked a little dead and it wasn't teeming with life like you would hope but there were a couple of interestingly coloured fish. Two things saved the little outing though, one was the guide picked up and showed us a puffer fish which was really cool and secondly he told us to hang on to a line attached to the boat and he dragged us along through the water. That was fun. The rest of the afternoon was spent eating a lovely lunch and then finding a quiet spot to relax in the wonderfully clear water.
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Here we were joined by the Australian guy Robert, it was nice to chat and hear about his experiences although all too soon we were called to get back on the boat. Robert was staying on the island for a couple of days so we left him to enjoy the tranquillity.
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Although we didn't make our mind up until the following morning that ended up being our last day in Covenas. We wanted to get back to Bogota as we had things to sort out but as we did on the journey north we were going to break things up a little bit.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 06:40 Archived in Colombia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

A bit of Caribbean Flavour

and another tour disaster

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We had to change buses at about 10:30pm in a place called Bucaramanga and from then on things weren't so comfortable. This wasn't due to the condition of the bus, it was all because of the a/c which was turned up so high our teeth were chattering. Obviously this didn't make for the best sleeping conditions and although the bus was so empty we could have two seats to ourselves, we still got hardly any sleep. I was very thankful when we arrived in Santa Marta and we could swap the Artic for the Caribbean.

It was early morning and with such little sleep we just wanted to crash for a while. With this in mind we got a taxi to take us in to town and ended up staying at the first place we looked at, our decision was made a little bit easier as it was dirt cheap. Unfortunately sleep did not come easily to either of us and we were both quite hungry so we decided to go out. First we walked down to the sea which was very close and with a certain image of the Caribbean in my head I must admit I was a little bit disappointed. The sea was not turquoise, the beach was not a blanket of white and there were not a trillion palm trees. To be honest Santa Marta beach is not very attractive, it is pretty small and nondescript with a port right next to it. We did get to see a massive cruise ship arriving though which was kind of cool and later on we saw the cruisers all milling about in an enclosed pen.
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After a little walk along the sea front we went to inspect the town which was alright but again nothing special. Some narrow streets lined with fruit and juice sellers, then a busier market area selling all sorts and a few churches dotted about. Santa Marta was a little bit rough which went against my images, its name seems to imply something slightly grander. When lunch time arrived we did find a really good restaurant; the food was extremely tasty and the price incredibly reasonable. There were even some parrots which helped us feel like we were somewhere exotic, they had they're winds clipped though which we thought was a bit of a shame. The rest of our time in Santa Marta was just spent mooching about the market and figuring out where to go next using the hostels Wifi.

Thanks to our research we made the decision to head fifteen minutes down the coast to El Rodedero which is where most Colombians head for their beach holidays. When we arrived there were plenty of people on the street trying to help us find accommodation, most of which was apartments. We checked a few out but they were generally in pretty bad condition and the prices were high, especially if you wanted a sea view. In the end we got a fairly good price on a ground floor one close to the beach, it was a little bit like a hovel with windows so high up you couldn't see out of them but it would do. That first day was spent getting our bearings and taking it easy, as we planned to take a boat trip to Playa Blanca (White Beach) the next morning. We were much happier with the El Rodedero beach, it was much bigger and was flanked by a palm tree lined walkway.
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The water was perhaps not as clear as we'd imagined or hoped but there was definitely a much better atmosphere. Again finding inexpensive food was an issue, we had been expecting there to be an abundance of cheap fish but this didn't seem to be the case. Instead that evening we ate kebabs and pizza cooked on little mobile stalls set up along the sea front and went to bed feeling a bit naughty.

It wasn't difficult to find about trips to Playa Blanca, as soon as we stepped on to the street we were being asked. During our research we'd found out what a ticket should cost and so we were a bit miffed when someone tried to sell us two tickets for the price of hiring an entire boat. Adam suggested that we walk down to the dock and wait to be approached again. The tactic worked and soon we were on a small boat with other holiday makers on our way to Playa Blanca.

Considering that neither Adam or I are exactly beach bums, i.e. we get bored of sunbathing quite quickly, we had a really good day. The sand wasn't white, but it was soft and a little bit gritty so it didn't go everywhere which I saw as a definite bonus.DSC00159

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We hired a couple of deck chairs under a little shelter and set up shop for the day. We'd brought a bit of food with us so we weren't tempted to eat in one of the pricey beach side restaurants, but we did buy a couple of prawn cocktails off a little man called Pedro who walked up and down the beach with a cooler box. Apart from sunbathing and consuming classic 1970's cuisine we lolled about in the warm water quite a bit and listened to music. Feeling a tad lazy before heading back to El Rodedero we decided to climb the steep hill behind the beach as apparently there were great views to Santa Marta from there. Well we couldn't really see Santa Marta, it was quite some distance away and was shrouded in cloud but it was nice to be up high nonetheless.
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Once back in El Rodedero we set about scouting out some new accommodation because the dingy apartment was making us feel depressed. We found a good hotel and although it was a bit more expensive, the room had big windows and a balcony so it seemed like a good option, we would make a decision in the morning.

Although the hotel was really good we still kind of held out hope for a nice apartment, high up with sea views and so we allowed a boy to ferry us round to different buildings. Despite walking round for what seemed like forever we only saw one apartment which on first sight looked quite promising but when you looked closer it was horrible. The main problem was it just hadn't been taken care of, the kitchen was a state, the beds were all broken and crammed into small rooms. There was a large balcony and if you looked passed one high rise you could see the sea but Adam quickly established that it would be in the shade for most of the day. All in all it was not for us and in the end we checked in at the hotel.

For the rest of the day we just stayed in El Rodedero and did some more of our usual um-ing and ah-ing over what to do next. Parque Tayrona is a national park about 30 kms from Santa Marta and is supposedly beautiful. You can sleep in hammocks under shelters which are on, according to some, the best beaches in the world. All of this sounds lovely on the surface and we were tempted but there were a few other factors to consider. The best beaches could be reached by boat but then you have to hike for around an hour and a half to get out and by now my knee was as bad as it had been in Bolivia so this didn't really seem like an option. Also sleeping on the beach may be nice but there are mosquitoes and my seaside nemesis, sand. Mainly due to my knee being bad the following day we're were lured on to a tour. The one which was described to us including visiting three beaches, Playa Grande, Playa Cristal and another one I can't remember. This was a little pricey and so we walked away but were followed and told it was cheaper to go on this rustic, open sided bus. The price for this seemed more reasonable and on we got.
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It drove around El Rodedero for ages picking people up from various hotels and they really packed us in. Just before we were about to head off a guide of some sort got on and we all had to say our names and where we were from. We got the loudest cheer as we were the only ones from outside South America. As we headed off to Santa Marta where we picked yet more people up, we were given a very, very brief tour in Spanish and I felt a bit an unsure of what the day would hold. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, perhaps I was just a bit down about my knee but I had a feelings things wouldn't be as simple as they appeared to be.

We stopped at a small lookout on the road to Taganga which is a seaside village/town popular with backpackers.
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The sea did look a little more inviting here and I felt a small glimmer of hope that we might end up on a beautiful beach. In Taganga we climbed into the first speed boat and this is where things went downhill. We barely went any way along the coast before pulling into a tiny beach which was ironically named Playa Grande (Big Beach) and everyone filed off. Here we were directed into a large wooden shack, of which there were many, all of them restaurants and we sat at a wooden table. Then something was explained quickly in Spanish and a women came round with a couple of exorbitantly priced fish on a platter so we could choose which we wanted for our lunch. We just declined. We left the shack and looked at this tiny beach we were all packed on to and were incredibly disheartened. This is not where we wanted to spend the day. We sat on the beach for a few minutes and Adam perfectly described the sand which was like the grit you find at a building sit and pondered what to do. After a little bit of discussion I went up to one of the guides and asked when we would be going to Playa Cristal. He looked a little confused and then said, we weren't, 'solo Playa Blanca'. Great.

We came to the conclusion that we would rather sit on El Rodedero beach than here, so we quickly jumped in a boat going back to Taganga and were soon on a bus bound for Santa Marta. By now it was lunch time so we went back to the restaurant we'd visited on our first day and had the best almuerzo of our entire trip.
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I couldn't actually believe how lovely it all was and it only cost £2 for fish soup, a main of fish with lots of sides, a little desert and two glasses of juice each. Yum yum.
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Once we had eaten we stood waiting for a bus back to El Rodedero and I noticed that the one we got on also went to the airport. We had read about a beach near the airport which was meant to be much more laid back and really only visited by locals, so this is where we went. The other draw was the fact that planes are basically meant to come into land right over your head which Adam really wanted to experience. Playa de Aeropuerto was much, much quieter and a hundred times nicer than Playa Grande. We only stayed there for a short while because well, we got a bit bored and there didn't seem to be much going on at the airport, we could have waited a long time for a plane to take-off/land. It was nice to see it though.

Once back in El Rodedero we sat on the beach for a while but it was really busy as it was a Saturday and so in the end we went back to the hotel. In the evening Adam popped out to buy a whole chicken and we munched that down in the room while watching cable tv. Then it was fairly early to bed as we were moving west to Cartagena in the morning.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 06:34 Archived in Colombia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

A little stop on the way up North

this is where we saw the dinosaurs

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Our little stop was in Villa de Leiva, a colonial town about 3 hours north of Bogota. On a Sunday (the day we left) Bogota transforms itself into activity central and many of the roads are closed to cars and are instead flooded with walker, bikers and rollerbladers. It is quite impressive and we saw a lot of people raising their blood pressure as we departed.

We arrived at Villa de Leiva in the late afternoon and walked through a large part of it in of search a room. The buildings are very similar to those we saw in Popayan, white and a lot of them single storey. Villa de Leiva's biggest claim to fame though is their plaza which apparently is one of the largest in the Americas and there was a giant inflatable space shuttle in it while we were there.
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This is just a weekend thing though, when the town comes alive as it is flooded with tourists and weekenders from Bogota. We just caught the tail end of this as it was Sunday afternoon but you could definitely feel that it was a tourist orientated place, which gave it a very different feel from Popayan. Also for this reason finding cheap accommodation was basically impossible and we ended up spending more than we have anywhere in Colombia. It was a nice room though.

We achieved very little for the rest of the day apart from feeding ourselves. I never thought that I would get sick of eating out but it really has happened and so we try to mix it up with going to the supermarket but when you have no cooking facilities your options are somewhat limited. I have to say though the tuna and mayonnaise sandwiches I gobbled down that night were like an amazing treat.

By morning we had already come to the decision that we would move on again in the afternoon. For this reason we got up quite early so we could have a proper look round the town which didn't take too long as it isn't very big.
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We saw a sheep tied to a fence and stopped to have a little chat, I of course had to touch it. Then we had to leave pretty quickly because it was baa-ing at us a lot and I was getting sad that it didn't have any friends.
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We briefly looked in a few of the artisan shops but decided it would all be overpriced. After our look round we went back to the hotel to collect our bags and went in search of a taxi as there was one other thing we wanted to see before leaving.

The valley to the west of Villa de Leiva is abound with fossils and in 1977 they found the fossil of a a dinosaur, a Kronosaurus. It now has a museum built around it and after some hard bargaining we got a taxi to take us there. I wasn't quite sure what to expect and was really impressed when I saw it, it's massive and really quite well preserved.
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We were the only ones there so we could get photos without other visitors which is nice and there were lots of other fossils to have a look at.
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They found another Kronosaurus fossil in 2000 which has also been placed in the museum, this one is a bit smaller though. They were strange looking things which lived in the sea when the whole valley was underwater, hard to believe anything like that ever existed.

After our little historical interlude the taxi took us back to the bus station and we made the 45 minute journey back to the town of Tunja which sits of the main highway north. Here we managed to secure a couple of seats on a pricey bus to Santa Marta which was leaving in an hour or so. Just enough time to eat a rather disappointing almuerzo and by some snacks for the trip. The sting from the price of the tickets was somewhat eased when we boarded the bus as it was very plush, certainly the nicest we'd been on in Colombia. We just hoped the next 16 hours went by quickly.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 06:33 Archived in Colombia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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