Here is our family review of Colombia. Although we have only been here 2 weeks we have crammed a lot in and feel we have a bit of a flavour of Colombia. Despite what people might expect or typical views of Colombia we didn’t see any cartel drug lords or rampant corruption and violence instead we found a modern, young vibrant country which felt very safe and friendly. In fact at times we needed to remind ourselves we were in South America and not a Spanish city!
What was your favourite city and why?
Dad; My favourite city was Manizales. Although we weren’t here for long we visited a Colombian version of Greggs which is always a winner and we travelled around on cable cars which is infinitely more enjoyable than usual city commutes! I also liked the graffiti ( that’s cos I’m so urban and street).
Georgia: I was not a big fan off all the city’s in Colombia although i did like Medellin because the hostel was really nice and everyone there was really friendly. we also visited a since park which was really fun and all the kids wanted to speak to us and where really nice.
Alex: I really liked Medellin as we went to a cool artists park where we learnt all about the Colombian artist Bolero, him and the reasons that he draws really fat people! I also really enjoyed the hostel called Macondo guest house as they were all really friendly and the rooms were lush.
Dylan: I liked Bogota, we went on a funicular, it is a cool train that goes up really steep hills. It was scary but good fun!
Mum: I loved Medillin. Even though it rained ALOT it was warm and had so much potential. Apparently it is the city of eternal spring with termpatures always in the 20’s for the whole year, with minimal changes as its so close to the equator. We all wished we could stay there longer. It was young, vibrant with cool and intersting restaurants opening everywhere. It had a great metro system with cable cars and escalators to take you into the mountain sides of the city. Im sure its going to be a tourist hot stop in the years to come. The whole place felt very safe and welcoming as well.
What is your funniest memory?
Dad: We were on a family walk through a coffee plantation when up ahead, Kate and Georgia decided to go “off piste” through the coffee bushes. A moment later, we heard a dog barking loudly and then I saw Georgia and Kate sprinting back towards us looking terrified. We are expecting some menacing wolf/ weapon type dog to appear, but instead it was some tiny terrier! The look on the girls’s faces was a picture! Kate thought she had stumble in to some illicit drug producers field, I think the dog just enjoyed scaring gringos.
Mum: Around the second week we went to a chicken restaurant. Their special was a whole chicken and chips which everyone loves ( who doesn’t!) but the funny thing in Colombia is it comes with a cute little packet of plastic gloves for everyone, which everyone actually wears. Like the ones you get in a hair dye kit. We assumed it was to keep your hands smelling clean and fresh, not something the stringers are normally worried about but everyone enjoyed their chicken even more wearing the gloves and was very funny!
We arrived in Quito last night after having an epic journey from Bogota. We arrived in the airport with the flight scheduled for 8 pm. Alex had found some vouchers for fried chicken in a magazine so we decided to order that, our Spanish still being shocking I didn’t really realise what I was ordering and ended up with a HUGE amount, about 24 pieces of KFC! Unfortunately just after we ordered matt noticed our flight had been delayed until 2 am. We got offered food vouchers but annoyingly no one could eat anything as so full of chicken. However later we cheered ourselves up thinking at least we could get an ice creams and drinks. NO! we tried 2 different places and were told it was burgers or nothing. Again feeling a bit fed up I saw the airlines smart lounge and thought I would have a go at getting into there , bearing in mind our flight was delayed over 6 hours and we were only supposed to be on it for 1 hour! remarkably the women said we could all come in. Win! free snacks, booze, iPad’s and WiFi…everyone cheered up again but also No! Literally were in there less then 10 mins, one sip of free wine when we got called over the tannoy, they had found space on a different flight leaving in 20 mins. Immediately we thought the bags would never make it but also felt like we didn’t really have a choice so agreed and had to leave the lounge before we had enjoyed anything. Headed to the desk which was garage. People everywhere and this supposed extra flight no where to be seen. Waited nearly 2 extra hours there to finally board and then another hour on the runway. Surprise surprise when we arrived no luggage! nightmare. We now have it back but it is kinda funny that we kept thinking we were winning the comp to have it taken away. To get back at Burger king for not giving us ice cream , Georgia refilled her drink multiple times despite it not being free refills!! We all thought this was hilarious…( we may have been jet lagged ) Night shift workers out there will all know the past midnight hysteria over nothing! To top it all off, Dylan fell asleep for 30 mins and had an accident and we had no stuff and had to lug a soaking wet and smelly child around as well!
Alex: My funniest memory was when we were in Cartagena and we were walking around and we met this american dude who said that this place called Getsemani was terrible, so dad went home and researched this place. Dad said it would be great and would just not shut up about it. In every sentence he would mention it and it would be hilarious!! Also we went to the same shopping centre about three times we only went into town one time!!!!!
Georgia: my funnest memory was on Halloween after me dad and d had gone to get a take away dominoes once we were full of PIZZA we played a game of cheat and it was like the funniest thing ever because when ever Dylan cheated he laughed soooooooooooo much. it was megar LOLs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dad was also being really stupid and laughed to.
Dylan: In the toilets at the bus station there was a urinal with a mini football goal. You had to pee on the ball to score a goal, I really tried but couldn’t pee on it, it was fun trying though!! Dad said i got a hat trick?!!
Where and what was your best meal?
Dad: I think that my best meal was a great steak i had in Cartagena. I cant remember the name of the restaurant but I remember that it was absolutely chucking it down and we had a dramatic but funny cab ride home.
Mum: I loved all the food at the Hacienda ( coffee plantation). It was simple traditional Colombian food and I got to have avocado with every meal. In fact I had the whole families which was fab as i LOVE avocado. Was also great not to have to think about food as all meals were prepared for us, without any choice! Simple and easy!
Alex: in Cartagena we went to a AWESOME steak restaurant that the american dude recommended. It was amazing as we got a gigantic chunk of cow and perfectly fried chips. I went into a food coma it was so good. although after-woods we had to wait out in the rain for a cab that couldn’t even get through the rain puddles!!!
Georgia: I liked the food at hacienda but my fave meal was in Cartagena when I had spaghetti and it was so good but the steak there was epic to!!!!!!!!
Dylan: On Halloween I was miserable as we couldn’t go trick or treating so we had Dominoes and ate it in our hotel room and I loved it!
What was your worst memory/bit?
Dad: As Kate says below. Arriving in Cartegana with no accommodation 3 days into South America was a bit of a challenge!
Mum: Think its got to be arriving in Cartegana , at dusk to find there was no hostel that we thought we had booked. The kids were getting upset and nervous, we had no phone or WiFi and me and matt had to stay positive and walk around for hours trying to find alternatives! It was so humid we were literally dripping! Aside from that , arriving in Bogota after a night flight at 4 am and having to wait until morning to try and check into our hotel wasn’t a high point either although actually everyone was superstars and we sat in a coffee shop , necking great coffee and playing cheat for several hours!
Alex: My worst bit was in Bogota when we were in a night bus and we were supposed to arrive at 8:30 am but instead we arrived at 4 am and i had barely slept and i started to feel sick (i was in bed for the next two days). we had to sit in a bus stop cafe for 4 hours playing cheat and poo head. :(……
Alex i thought we had lols!!!!! ( MUM)
Georgia: i hated arriving i Cartagena with no hostel and nowhere to go but every one is so nice so they helped us but it was still horrible
Dylan: I hated it when you wouldn’t let me go swimming and make me walk around all day.
Favourite memory or best bit?
Dad: It has to be the coffee tour. I have loved coffee for years and drink loads of it! To see exactly how and where the beans grow, get picked and processed was a real treat and very interesting. I will never take my morning coffee for granted again!
Mum: Arriving and being shown our room in Hacienda Venecia. WE HAD OUR OWN ROOM!!! WITH A DOUBLE BED!!!! AND A DUVET!! ALL TO OURSELVES! This was the first time in 7 weeks that we had had enough space to Put walls between us all and even lay our bags out properly. My eyes actually welled up, the room was beautiful and had a private balcony where we saw loads of iguana and other nature within minutes. I slept soooo well, was heaven xxx
Alex: My favourite memory of Colombia was the chocolate tour. It was really informative and I learnt loads about the process of chocolate. I now never look at chocolate the same way as I can now see how the bar is made in my mind, but it could be the image of the un-roasted bean.
Georgia: My favourite memory was the chocolate tour at hacienda because we got to eat loads of chocolate But i loved the whole hacienda it was the best place we stayed at.
Dylan: I liked making chocolate as I got to eat as much as I liked.