After the lost city trek we headed to Cartagena I took the easy option so the guys didn’t moan and we went in style on a $60,000 (Peso) air conditioned mini bus. I always feel like I’m cheating when I take the tourist option and not the local buses but I just wanted an easy life today as I was exhausted. We all sat separately so that we could be with ourselves, I think we had seen enough of each other on the trek. I got sat next to an old Spanish guy and we had a broken Spanish conversation, we seemed to have a right laugh but I had no idea what he was talking about jajaja!
Cartagena Old Town
So anyway we stayed at La Villana in the old town, the hostel is really cute with hammocks and it has a really friendly chilled out vibe. I got recommended this along with a lot of other things from a friend I am grateful to and strangely miss. The town itself is so pretty, cultured and full of life. I felt safe walking around in the day and at night which was such a nice change to Santa Marta.
There are loads of little shops and restaurants and horses and carts going around the town. We went for a meal which was really nice I had prawns and they had steak. Then we went out of the tiles for a proper night out. I probably drank too much of the two for one cheap drinks in the hostel and felt a bit pissed so calmed down after that, we went to a roof top party and I was talking to some Brazilian guy being friendly as you do, when he just stuck his tongue down my throat. Luckily he was cute but it was unexpected and unwanted! We then went to Eivissa rooftop bar on the Plaza and managed to swindle our way in for free… A smile goes a long way in any language! We seemed to be palming unwanted guys off left right and centre, well I was trying to dodge them at least. Turns out most of the women were prostitutes so the guys were making a beeline for us because luckily they knew we weren’t looking for guys to pay us for sex. (We do it for free, jokes). The next day I got up early and went to the beach on my own. I definitely needed some alone time, I had the best day I went to the beach and got table service with a sun lounger, had calamari and beers (which my mate in England said is apparently very British) I made Bezzies with the waiters and got talking to some locals who ended up giving me sweets as they were on family vacation. I also people watched and then walked back as the sun was setting it was such a fun day…. I decided to leave the girls to go out that night as I didn’t feel up to it and when I’m in one of them moods the last thing I want to do was interact. It turns out they fell out so I am glad I didn’t go as I would have been in the middle, I however got a full 8 hours sleep, smug or what.
So the next day me and Charlotte went to the mud baths, Kelly didn’t wake up, it was for the best though I think they needed time apart. The baths were the strangest thing ever, you go in in your bikini into this clearly man made volcano and loads of people all fumble about bumping into each other and there are Colombian men massaging you, and before you ask no, they aren’t even fit! I was really freaked out saying no no massage, so they leave you alone, it felt strange but it was funny and we met lots of people. Then you climb out and these women wash you down in front of everyone get really into all your cracks and crevices, she literally pulled my pants to the side at one point I jumped back in shock and hoped no one saw! Then we went for dinner where we had classic Colombian food, fish and rice with fried plantain which I enjoyed and then got time to swim in the sea and wash the remains of the mud off! That night we got a flight with our new mate Boscow to Medellin, unfortunately the flight was delayed so we had airport beers instead of going out in Medellin.
I instantly loved Medellin it’s down in between mountains and yours ears pop you go so low down. The taxi driver was playing electro and house music so I had a good feeling about the place. We stayed at Palm Tree Hostal and got a private room for the same price whoop, I loved it because it was cute and they were so friendly but it was a bit out of the way. I did feel a bit bad but the girls daren’t moan much because I do all the planning and hostel booking.
Day 1 walking tour and techno
We went and met Bosco and had baileys ice coffee and these pizza cones which were corn cones which were lush. Then we went on a walking tour which I found so incredibly interesting, the guy doing the tour was a Paisa himself which means he’s from Medellin. He was really honest and we could ask him anything we wanted. Although we learned that they hate Pablo Escobar, he brought so much death and destruction to the country, we had to refer to him as the famous criminal or Harry Potter style he who must not be named. So you should definitely watch Narcos on Netflix it’s ace and it helped me to relate to things in history he was talking about and showing us. Basically the famous criminal kidnapped his uncles and also killed some of his friends (not personally but during his reign of terror) and he may have helped a couple of hundred poor people but that was nothing compared to the thousands that he killed and the childhoods he took away from so many because of how dangerous a place it was to live during that time. However he didn’t suggest that killing him was the answer and that it made the country any better because it didn’t up until 2002 when the country started to change for the better. He basically said that the Paisa people and Colombians in general have such a positive outlook on life and no matter what happens they look for the good in everything and will cling onto the tiny bit of hope and happiness to make their life better. He then also said that his mum told him never to offer opportunity to people for them to steal from you and told us to put out bags on our front as we were entering a dodgy area where people were smoking things worse than crack and sniffing all sorts of substances. People watching at its best! We also ate the best panadas during this tour. Anyway then we went out round the bars and to Calle 9+1 which is a techno club. It was ace we partied until the sun came up… I feel it was a very fun day and had sampled a lot of local produce, which is always fun when you’re in another country right.
(The guide in the photo is Juan and he is a Pasai from Medellin. He is so passionate and such a lovely person and I would highly recommend doing the real city walking tour)
(An artist made this sculpture to stand in a new area made specifically to restore the area and hold gigs and music concerts as it was rough and not well looked after. Unfortunately during the first gig someone set off a bomb and blew up the sculpture killing several people including a child and an unborn baby. Several parties claimed the bombing and to this day no one knows who it was, the artist made another sculpture but insisted the old one remains so that they never forget what happened and the people that were lost. The bird signifies the new life and new beginning of Colombia.)
Day 2 Guatape and the big rock
Soooo when you’re really hungover and had about 2 hours sleep you should get a 2 hour bus journey and then climb a massive rock with a massive hill and then 740 steps to the top in the boiling heat right? Well actually yes that’s right, it was such a fun day. I was so glad we didn’t take a tour and did what I said and just made our own way there, it’s so easy to navigate the metro and it’s like less than 3000COP to go as many stops as you want. Then the bus was easy too and the scenery was great. It was difficult walking up the rock and again being scared of heights is never easy but I love a challenge. The view from the top is out of this world and well worth the climb up. After we went into the little town of Guatape which is the cutest thing ever, it’s like a little town that’s stuck in time located by this reservoir. I imagine it’s one of them places where people don’t leave and outsiders don’t move there. It was Bosco’s last supper with us so I pushed the boat out and got steak but I felt so guilty (about 6 English pounds so don’t judge me too much) then we got this jumbo chocolate for the bus home which if you go Colombia you’ll love it! We didn’t get back until late so we didn’t go out. Unfortunately the girls fell out back at the Hostal, I feel so in the middle and thought that this was our time to part ways. I’m all about peace and love so just want an easy life :(
Day 3 Game Day
OMG this was the best thing ever I had so much fun, dare I say too much fun considering we had a night bus to catch! (Much to the girls dislike as they later said they’d Said don’t mention the bus to Grace so we can stay another night and go out). We all bought t-shirts and bracelets and sat out drinking beers while all the fans arrived. Unfortunately they didn’t serve beer inside, they don’t at the football due to fighting already being an issue, I love this idea so it makes it more about the football than the piss up like in England. Although I’ve been told they get coked up before the game, they would have to because they don’t stop singing for the whole 90 minutes it’s unreal. They also hang off the balconies holding onto nothing but the flags it’s so dangerous. The atmosphere is just amazing like nothing I have seen before. We sat as close to the fan stand as possible and sat chanting and dancing for pretty much most of the game, we were supporting Atletico National who scored and won 1-0 yayyy team. If you ever visit Colombia I would highly recommend this it was the best thing I did, stuff the tourist things and planned days out, this was real Colombia and I Loved every minute. That was until the game ended everyone disappeared and reality hit, ok so do we pay £12 for a night bus or spend at least £100 for a flight, 1 more night in a hotel all for 1 more night out in Medellin. Yes my time was cut shorter than I wanted but the sensible girl in me said Grace it’s time to leave. I told them to stay and genuinely didn’t mind going on my own but they knew I was right and followed. The bus was like I said £12 to Bogota and took like 8 hours it went so fast and we slept most of the way. I am so sad to be leaving Colombia but I feel that one day I will return. But for now Colombia adios.
I came away from Colombia thinking nothing but peace and love and realised that I just need to be happy! So this was it I said right I am off to volunteer when we get to Ecuador I can’t cope with you two moaning and arguing so it’s time we spit up and did our own things as its ruining my travels, it’s a lot harder than I ever thought travelling with 2 girls, one of which I have only just met. I am very laid back and hate any conflicts, Kelly is really nice and Char has been my friend for years so I love her but together they just clash. It was a long day when the flight was delayed so we spent 12 hours in the airport and in total 29 hours travelling. Time spent unknown where they would go when we split up…. Only time will tell.
Much love. OTA xxx