Climbed up Montserrate to see Bogotá from above. With Bogotá at 2,640m (8,675ft) in elevation and Montserrate at 3,152m (10,341ft), it was comparable to a hike in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado!
I told a friend that the “biggest” piece in the gold museum was a boat made of gold. I meant “big” as in “most notable” instead of “large size,” but she interpreted it as the latter and expected a life size boat made of solid gold.
Instead, she got this. Actual dimensions: 20cm x 10cm 😂
The gold museum in Bogotá features many elaborate and large gold apparatuses that indigenous populations used to wear as nose rings.
It’s hard to imagine what they would look like on an actual person, so I did a small Photoshop project to aid the imagination. Not sure if it is any clearer though…
The friends that I traveled with in Colombia wanted to visit Cartagena, so I used points to book a flight from Bogotá to Cartagena. The only option was business class, and it didn’t require too many points. Score!
But alas, I accidentally booked for Feb 27th instead of March 27th, and I only realized this an hour after said flight had already departed on Feb 27th. I spent an hour on the phone trying to change the date, and miraculously was still allowed to – but had to pay an extra $30 to get DOWNGRADED to economy. Why the big price difference? Turns out March 27th is during Semana Santa, when many people in Latin America get vacation. Makes sense.
Fun fact about Semana Santa, as told to me by a taxi driver in Bogotá: if you have sex during Semana Santa, you will get stuck together. Since I didn’t know the word “pegado,” the poor man had to try to explain this to me at least 4 times, in ever simpler ways, until finally he got the point across with this: “Cuando un hombre y una mujer tienen relaciones durante Semana Santa, blah blah blah penetración, no lo puede sacar.” Ah. Thanks for the warning!
I haven’t been able to really practice martial arts since I began my travels, but in Medellín I met someone who knew a bit of Jiu-Jitsu. We found a small patch of grass near the hostel and grappled (by which I mostly mean he laid on me until I gave up struggling), much to the entertainment of 5 workers on their lunch break nearby.
That night, I woke up itching from bug bites and realized that new ones were appearing UNDER the sheets. In the morning, I found out that the same thing had happened to my training partner as well. Uh oh.
The hostel not only changed our sheets, but also fumigated. Twice. I ran all my clothes through the dryer, and thankfully the combined efforts seemed to get rid of whatever bugs we brought back from the park. They never did ask where the bugs came from, but I’m so glad they were understanding. Sorry for all the trouble!
The rock of Guatapé is about 200m tall and the 11th biggest rock in the world. On one side of the rock is a zig zagging staircase of 650 steps that takes you to the viewpoint at the top.
The rock is privately owned and located between the towns of Peñol and Guatapé. At one point, the owners decided to paint the word “GUATAPÉ” on the rock. The citizens of Peñol were not big fans of the idea, and petitioned to get the rock marked as a heritage site to stop it from happening. Fortunately, they succeeded. Unfortunately, not until after a “G” and part of the “U” had already been painted. And since you can’t make any changes to a site once it’s been declared to be heritage, the rock will forever confusingly read, “GI.”
Image source here
Many fellow travelers recommended booking a day tour to Guatapé through the hostel, so I signed up for the tour over the weekend since I had classes on weekdays. The problem was that the tour started at 7:30am on Sunday morning, and I went out on Saturday night until 4am.
The first few hours of the tour were rough. I planned to sleep on the bus, but as we made our way up the windy mountain road out of Medellín, it took all my energy to not be carsick. After breakfast I felt marginally better, but it wasn’t until after we had climbed the rock of Guatapé and had lunch that I felt up to the task of actually speaking to anybody. Thankfully, because that’s when I met some wonderful friends that I saw again later in Bogota!
The tour included: an arepa/egg breakfast, stops in the town of Peñol, a boat ride on the reservoir (where you can see the remains of Pablo Escobar’s #2 finca), the rock of Guatapé, a bandeja paisa lunch, and an hour in the town of Guatapé. Total: 100,000COP, or around $35. Recommended, but not while hungover!
Throughout Colombia is the warning to “don’t give papaya,” meaning not to give people the opportunity to take advantage of (e.g. rob) you. Why papaya? Who knows. Maybe because it’s a soft, mushy fruit?
While learning to make empanadas, we found a boardgame named “Colombia que linda eres.” We couldn’t find the rules anywhere but it looked like a Sorry! game board, so we developed our own Sorry! based rules. There were just a few twists that we imagined based on the extra additions to the board:
– if you roll a double, you can knock another player’s piece off the board
– if a piece lands on “Seguro,” it can’t be knocked off
– if a piece lands on “Salida,” it gets knocked off the board to the beginning
– you have to land exactly on “Llegada” to win
Surprisingly, despite our weird made up rules, the game still seemed to work! But Colombian friends who know the real rules for the game, please let me know!
Learned how to make empanadas! …by which I mean I learned how to wrap empanadas, since the filling was pre-made and they didn’t trust us with the frying. But the corn flour wraps fall apart super easily, it was harder than it looked!