Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#Ceetheworld: Colombia

      If we were meant to stay in one place,
              We'd have roots instead of feet. 
Let's debug the myth that says traveling is overly expensive because if you're looking to stretch your dollar, South America is where to go with the exception of Brazil ( I'll be that way too if I hosted the world cup once). With a budget in mind, I chose Colombia.

My trip started off in Bogota the city's capital. Bogota is a typical city, it does have  a lot of the museums and good markets which I visited but in terms of culture you don't see a lot of anything really. Rumor has it Bogota is full of people from different countries so the preservation of the culture in this particular city has diminished. It's hard to find a true Colombian.

I started my day off at the market. For a 3rd world country the market is super clean and super organized. Colombians are apparently miners of gold and emerald and I saw those everywheerreeee. If your girl is an emerald chic you know where to go. You're welcome! Saw everything from authentic leather which they burn in front of you to prove it's authenticity. I wonder if Ferragamo will let me burn their $4000 price tag jackets for proof??

I got to see a man hand making his art by carving it and then placing the ceramic in a 1000 deg oven to bake it before painting the sculpture. His art is definitely unreal and the outcome was seriously breathtaking and dirt cheap. I then visited the gold museum which is right across from the market. If you're a historic type of person this is your spot. I went to satisfy my gold curiosity which I did but besides everything being in gold (which is a pretty big deal) there's nothing else to see.

This picture does no justice to his art

Let's talk language barrier for a hot minute. The majority of the people do not speak English so google translate will save your life literally. This was my first time being hit by a language barrier because in Greece and Mexico most people spoke English or had a good understanding of it. It was almost good to see that they stayed true to their language. Oh and people rarely say holla in Bogota they're a lot more formal.

I got to go to the botanical garden on one of the days. All the labels were in Spanish so this ended u just being  nice walk and sight seeing for me.

I had 3 days to spend in Bogota trying to eat the food and take in the culture and we already agreed the culture in Bogota is a bit meh. The food is great, they do season their meats really well and use a lot of spices in their sauces and soups, so the flavor is definitely savoring. Now when it came to pushing the food down, their juices are freshly squeezed I'll give them that but then anything alcohol related was a bit of an issue. At lunch at Andres DC in Zona Rasa (which I recommend btw it also becomes a Latin bar at night) I ordered a drink with my food and next thing I know a manager walks up to me and says I can only have one drink, a bit confused I'm thinking oh maybe I ordered the strongest drink. I tasted my drink and there was like zero alcohol in it  and I would know cause I don't even drink much. I later on found that because they had elections on Monday the entire country yes you read right was on an alcohol halt from Friday to Monday after voting ended. That meant I didn't get to experience any night life in Bogota, of which on a normal night, Zona Rasa (club/bar zone) is extremely lively! My nights were spent at the hotel lounge cause at least there, there were no restrictions cause they figured we were tourists who wouldn't vote anyways.

I got to go to the Simon Bolivar park which is the Colombian version of NY Central park. Street food was around every corner, from roasted corn, to lemon juice, to beef kabobs aka soya but I stuck to restaurants. Uber is illegal in Colombia but available. Illegal in the sense that they require documentation from the government which most don't have so the driver will tell you to seat at the front so it doesn't look like a paid ride lol. I did taxis for my entire stay, they're everywhere and very cheap. I did get ripped off twice where the drivers doubled the price LOL I kinda knew what they were doing too but the difference was like $2/3 so I let it go but after that I started telling the drivers my price right when I get into the taxi so we're all on the same page. Last thing is Bogota is full of security and dogs everywhere sniffing bags as you walk into buildings and hotels. In case you're worried about cartels.

I left to Cartagena on Monday. It's an hour and a half flight from Bogota and mehn the city's structure actually blows you away plus it's culture infused. It's obviously not 21st century buildings but the character stands out. The first thing that hit me was actually the weather difference. It went from 60s in Bogota to 90s in Cartagena. The people are more laid back so Holla's are very common and there were no dog sniffing purses anywhere. I spent most of my time in the famous old city which is a city hidden within city behind thick walls. It's a Mykonos narrow streets meets NOLA bourbon street vibe. Funny enough a building in the old city had a sign that said Bourbon St haahha. I'm actually curios to know who copied who. If you do know let me know in the comments below.

Peep the sign

The old city is behind a thick wall and was used in ancient times to protect the civilians from the war. They also had canons at every angle to fire back obviously those are just there now for decorative purposes. It's full of restaurants, boutique hotels, shops, bars, clubs etc literally a city within a city. I didn't even walk the entire old city and I did a pretty good amount of walking. The restaurants can get a bit overwhelming so I'll recommend my faves; El Burlador Gastrobar that has live entertainment and Porton de San Sebastian. The food and service at both were soooo good and they delivered. I had an exquisite paella at Burlador (You know it's good when they tell you it's a 45 min wait) and Porton has a fish soup as an appetizer that is phenomenal! perfect pepper soup without the pepper! Nightlife, Café del mar is a popular local spot filled with both tourists and locals, it's also outdoor and overlooks the other side of city over the wall but my fave will have to be Alquimico. Their drinks were spectacular, Cartagena's very own speak easy and they have a roof top with a spectacular view.

Traditional Colombian regalia and "banane deux a 50frs"

The architecture is pretty spectacular

Cartegana also has an even  older city (I know it's a lot hahaahaha) called Getsemani which the city has preserved in terms of what shops and restaurants open there. Getsemani has nothing but local restaurants, shops and hang out spots. Be ready to use hand signals and good ole google translate. Getsemani is colorful and has narrow one way streets as well. You can find local food every where but Getsemani has a lot more of the local restaurants.

Streets of Getsemani. Quite wider than those of the old city.

Getting my cab to go back to my hotel
Cartagena has two iconic landmarks; Castillo san felipe which is an old castle where again they had canons to defend the other side of their city and underground tunnels and los zapatos viejos which is a shoe monument dedicated to one of their own. I climbed San Felipe in 100 degree weather and almost regretted why I didn't listen to the 'buyam sellam' who said; "aqua necessito" LOL. They did have a stand at the top where I got a cold freshly squeezed lemonade with no sugar. So good! Los zapatos is literally a 5 min walk from the castle so I walked and got my picture in the shoe :). I grabbed lunch at  La Colonia right next to the castle. You can't miss it. Their pollo stew is very tasty and lemonade was fresshhhhh. I think that's when I realized chick fil a's lemonade is all sugar *shakes head*

El Pollo stew
Castillo San Felipe

Los Zapatos Viejos
Night time I went right back to old city for dinner (Porton), grabbed a horse carriage ride around the city and headed back to good ole Alquimico and a roof top after that. The only thing I wish I had done was dance salsa in the streets to the beats of the drums lol but there's a next time. If you do consider visiting Colombia, I'll say skip Bogota and do Cartagena and Medellin. If I knew what I know now I would have gotten a boutique hotel in the old city. Looking at them and their prices from the outside it seemed pointless so I got a hotel in Bocagrande a newer extended part of the city ( still a 15 min cab ride to the old city) but after being there I do see why the boutique hotels are more expensive. You're literally inside of where you need to be and walking access to soooo much.

Dinner at Porton (Paella and beef kebab featuring plaintain tape tape)
Old City by night
Remember after all that you are a clueless tourist in another man's land so having your GPS is great to ensure your driver is taking you where he should. The hotels do have private cabs which are a bit more expensive than the yellow cabs but still very affordable.

Cartagena was definitely a fresh of breath air and I will be back to visit that's for sure! I hope I convinced you to visit Colombia and if you do be sure to let me know :)

PS: There's a few videos on my IG highlights. Be sure to watch those!
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4 comments on "#Ceetheworld: Colombia"
  1. I love this! Teaching young women all over the world to let loose and explore��.
    You’re such a role model sis! Your content is heartfelt and unique!

    1. Thanks so much my baby! I hope I can reach out to many more. Definitely don't delay your adventures start now!


  2. Your photographer did a great job! as always great post ... waiting to visit Columbia with this post as guide :) #Klozet!

    1. Hahahahahaha what's a trip without a bomb photographer. You should totally visit :)


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