Finally we will get back to word. A very active time and the sudden slack Make the hard disk of our netbooks prevented this until now. But we are doing well and happy to tell you about our experiences in Colombia ...!
Welcome to the land of coffee! Here grows and prospers not only the coffee excellent, but also plants, which belong to probably the biggest problem facing the country. The reputation of Colombia rushed far ahead ... negative of all those who have not visited the country itself and through the positive band of fellow travelers, so Colombia connoisseurs. More curious why we were to spend the last three weeks in South America here.
The border crossing was 'according to (Ecuador), Ipiales' without the expected queues, Tulcán. Our senses are always sharpened as soon as we enter a new country: What struck us at for differences? How are the people? Are there any special features? In Colombia, definitely we noticed many police checks on during the bus rides first. These are necessary because today in the south skirmishes with the FARC comes. However, we were not worried because they do not relate to the tourists for luck, or if then by accident. Another striking when traveling on the bus are the movies. They are all action-loaded to very violent and brutal. "Rambo" is only the first name. And the maximum sound volume in broad daylight when children are on the bus ... maximum questionable for us. It only helps to wegzusetzen as far from the speakers and listen to his own music ...
Our first stop was in, Popayán '. The colonial city rife with white buildings, mostly decorated with flowers on the windows ... we (have never been there, we were indeed, make us but at least so ago) was like having a particularly well-dressed Andalusian city. The accommodation left nothing to be desired, even free coffee was included. This example was followed by several more hostels, much to our delight.
After a short stop in, Cali 'went any further in Salento', a village in the middle of several coffee plantations. We lived on an eco-farm near the village. Actually, we should at 5.00 clock in the morning to milk the cows, but we over them extensive "urbanites" and were happy for it on the fresh milk in the coffee to Zmorge!
Visiting a coffee plantation belongs to the highlight of the stay. A member of the family business showed us around and explained the whole process of the growth of the plant to the enjoyment prepare coffee in the cup. The operation is small and relies completely on organic farming. Since no chemistry is used to help a variety of plants between the coffee bushes to repel the parasites: a sophisticated system! Since the production is low, the coffee of a cooperative is sold and exported directly. Only lucky we were able to cost-spot freshly ground coffee the same, very tastefully!
Another trip we took to the Valle de Cocora '. The walk took us into the valley where we were able to observe hummingbirds and after a short climb, had a wonderful view of the real attraction: the wax palm (National Tree of Colombia). Majestic them seemingly from nowhere in the height ... but see for yourself!
From, Perreira ', we planned a hike, finally, we must not get out of practice! The first time we were allowed to drive in a "Chiva". These are oversized, especially with wide, colorful, ancient buses. We would expect such a maximum at an amusement park. If the many seats are occupied, people can easily stand behind it and banging his fist against the bus as soon as they want to come off. It's that easy! The vehicle took us to the village of "El Frio" from where we started for lunch after a fresh trout. The first night we stayed at the campsite "La Pastora", where we met with unexpected luxury. He is equipped for example with a fireplace cottage, which we as a substitute repurposed spontaneously to the tent. Perfect to dry our wet shoes and spend a toasty warm night. On the 2nd day we covered about 1,000 vertical meters, which then helped us to a good nights sleep. We got to go to know established Colombians, who gifted us with a specialty: Bocadillas mhmmmm,! The third day took us through the beautiful forest back to the starting point.
Despite not allzugutem hygienic condition we boarded the night bus directly to the capital, Bogotá '. Here we recovered first from the relatively narrow range, cooked themselves and even once bought sausages and cervelats by the Swiss butcher a ... exorbitant prices, but we lächzten so after that we would have paid a lot more! And they were really worth a great pleasure! Every Sunday is Museum Day, ie free entry to all museums. We first visited the famous Gold Museum. The audio guide led us through the very modern exhibition. Gold, gold and gold again, as far as the eye can see! Also a reason why the country was so interesting for the conquerors. After the Gold overdose it went to the police museum. A very young police officer in training led us through. Several rooms were Pablo Escobar dedicated to a drug cartel boss who was shot dead by the police in, Medellin '. We saw photos of the corpse, the last clothes he was wearing all his dead colleague ... so actually a lot more than we would have liked. The pride was not to be overlooked, not even in the room with all the different weapons that the police have or had. Perhaps the visit was also so amusing because he still underlined our not too good opinion of the police here. They are almost all very young, no one could describe for us a path, let alone read a map and the discussions with them did not change the picture too. But still: There are very many, and with the greater security by seems to work it.
Our attention was next, Zipaquirá ', a small town just north of Bogotá'. Here is one of the main attraction of Colombia: However, a cathedral amidst a Salzmine.Eines was a bit disappointing: The original cathedral from 1954 can no longer be visited, because of the danger of collapse of the gears. It was built in the salt mine in honor of "Nuestra Senora del Rosario" (the saint of miners). In 1995, then became the new, Modern Salt Cathedral opened. Various artists have worked with and created an impressive work. Once a week, a fair is held, but our guide even told us that it was not a holy place. A building for the tourists so, including shopping at the end of the tour! It was worth it but still, our guide explained to us in detail the production of salt, even with a few words in German, as like the tourists (including us).
In the peaceful village, Villa de Leiva 'we met an Austrian, who lives in Colombia since 1986. Next to the hostel, where we lived, he owns a farm. It breeds trout and planted organic vegetables. He has a farm worker, which 22,000 COP (Colombian Pesos = 11 CHF) earned during a working 7.00 bis 17.00 clock clock, the hourly wage you can calculate yourself, just for comparison ...
In San Gil 'we had the best accommodation ever: Situated on Plaza (So Close to the cheap beer and with an appropriate view), very nice staff, modern kitchen, WIFI and the best: Free BBQ on Friday night! In addition, the city is also well located for the most beautiful colonial village near to visit. First, we went by bus to Baric Harra ', from where we walk on the historic route to, Guana' immigrant. The rolling countryside and picturesque villages are unique. On the way back we covered ourselves with one of the specialty, barichara ', the' Sabajon ". This is a sweet liquor, similar to Baileys ...
Another night bus brought us to the Caribbean coast, after, Santa Marta '. At the bus terminal we packed up and went to just the bare essentials on in the famous and much-visited National Park Tayrona. After the first visit we knew why: the beautiful scenery, the crystal clear water, the large, spherical stones on the beach, the large palm trees ... gorgeous! We camped very close to the beach, always cooked itself and spent the days with walks along the beaches ... the jump into the water could not be missed, even if the expected cooling in the warm water failed to ... On the last night unfortunately played out a sad story. Three Swiss were robbed at our campsite. Probably even by the owner himself ... the police were not surprised and not particularly helpful. Funny just that exactly passed this every night for a drink on the camp ... our antipathy was confirmed. In addition, corruption seems to be a further problem of the country to a ... Good that our guardian angels hold us still are!
After a relaxing day in the park we visited the city, Cartagena '. The heat was almost unbearable, the day's theme "do not move simply" remained omnipresent. We met a journey colleague after a long time and we agreed together and with rum with her at the Plaza to our next destination one! For this we had to also make some preparations. Among other things, change money. The best currency is Euro. We were not badly surprised when the share price at the exchange office was better than the official on the internet. David's research confirmed our suspicion: Not infrequently, drug money are mixed with the crowd. For us, it's all right. Good thing that money can not talk!
We left South America with a laughing and a crying eye. We enjoyed our time to the fullest and enjoyed very much, on the other hand, we were looking forward to a change of scene. Colombia was perfect as a conclusion. We met the friendliest people ever and all fears were pointless: We felt safe at all times. We have just under nine months, a good overview and also already know which places we would visit again! At the airport they wanted us then almost did not let her go, but this is more due to the close monitoring. Our souvenir from Easter Island (a Moai from wood) had to be unpacked. Then he was exactly least scrutinized. It was tested on openings and even several times by several people smelled it ... Finally, they could not find any contraband. But they had a reason that Karin still "scan" had to ... not that they ultimately still takes along a souvenir THE body of South America! The flight we still caught ... in another dream destination: CUBA!
Hebeds guet and ignores the fog! We can soon hear from us again! Best regards two of us!
Picture Gallery Colombia: