Colombia

Yeah so it’s been much too long…my first message to you all in sooo very very long. But as a good friend of mine said whom I refer to as Peach Perfection, I’m…”worth the wait”. Thank you PP. But I’m getting better so here we go!

Day 3 of my adventure through Colombia (yes the “forbidden” country) one unlike the safe and predictable U.S. locale. Let me be the first on my block to tell you Colombia is surprisingly comfortable, yet exciting, mysterious, a dark past for sure but a place that feels similar to Madrid, Paris, Rome a la South America! Hello Colombia! Where have you been all my life? Why did it take me so long to know you? Bogota is where I walk through the door of this sultry city. But first! It hits me! Over 8000 feet above sea level and my mind and body has entered a woozy state of “altitude” transformation. So I take it easy. I walk a little slower. I sip a cup of Coca leaf tea (yes, the one connected to the white stuff but in its pure, legal, non tampered with sold over the counter form and given to children) to neutralize the effects…ahhh…I’m much better now. On to seeing this beautiful area where I stayed called the Zona Rosa at the lovely Victoria Regina on the coolest little tree lined Side Street which is similar to an Upper East Side brown stone area in Manhattan…but we’re in Colombia! And there it is. The restaurant I will not only love unconditionally but return to night after night for the Ceviche Mixto and Chilean champagne! One of the…if not THE…best seafood restaurant I’ve stumbled upon called “Central”. We’re greeted by one very smooth and intelligent head chef (standing in that night as a sort of maitre d', public relations greeter, interpreter) Santiago! He immediately came to our non Spanish speaking rescue and guided us to that amazing ceviche! We quickly became friends. A simpatico was formed. And next we were invited by Santiago to opening night at a friend’s rock and roll club. Not exactly our music style but who cared – we were honored to be included so off we went!

Our view of Bogota was a combination of old world cobble stoned streets, Botero museum, gold museum, gondola ride high above the city where a church stands governing its people. The upper class part of town with its style and sophistication. The “other side of the tracks” one is told not to venture into as there are remnants of a seedier time…so kept to “our part of Bogota” and didn’t look the other way.

Next stop Cartagena! NOW this is something special. And the jewel is within the walls of the Old City; cobble stone streets, horse drawn carriages, plazas, churches, sidewalk cafes, musicians, cigar rollers, open air markets, boutiques, upscale restaurants which don’t get going till quite late at night and here is what I adored the most; charming, intimate boutique hotels and villas, all within the walled city many with rooftop pools and terraces and amazing views of the city. Cartagena makes me think this may likely be what Havana, Cuba is like but decidedly European! And Cartagena is right at the tip of the western Caribbean so the sea meets the walls of the old city.

And our next stop would be Medellin made famous by the artist Botero! Here you’ll find his primary museum which houses not only all of his amazing works; sculptures and paintings but some other important pieces in his collection by Picasso and other really amazing artists.

 

What striked me as quite surprising about Medellin is the landscape. It’s called the city of “Eternal Spring”. Upon arrival at the airport I was greeted by a freshness of spring. Green pastures and lovely hills. Then making my way to the heart of the City was to descend upon a metropolis nestled in a valley surrounded by amazingly high mountains. A stunning picture.

Colombia is definitely a place I will return to see more of and next time will include the Coffee Triangle! Juan Valdez I understand is waiting with a cup the famous beans in hand for me.

Speak Your Mind

*