Our travels have begun! Hooray! It’s amazing what I’ve witnessed and observed so far as I sit down to write this at the end of my first 24 hours here in Colombia. When I leave the confines of my comfy surroundings of home and venture out into the unknown, there’s always a grace period of anxiety getting to know a new city. As a “foreigner” you never know what’s good or bad, safe or unsafe, wrong or right. This can be slightly intimidating. But with each new place you can rest assured that I kindly warm-up to the city and with arms wide open give it a big hug. Even if I’m not crazy about the city, I can be happy knowing I formed my decisions based on the city itself and not on fear alone.
It probably goes without saying, but Kevin and I arrived safely in Bogota, Colombia. Even before leaving Orlando I had quiet mental reservations about how much I had packed, as I was now forced to feel the full and complete weight of it all resting comfortably (?) on my back. It was shortly after collecting my bag in Colombia that my determination in Orlando was correct. I packed too much. Packing too much for a trip to NYC??? OK! Packing too much for a 6-month trek across South America??? Rookie mistake. As time goes on, I’ll get into my groove and will slowly be leaving items behind in memory of me.
We took a cab from the airport to our hostel and were greeted by a very friendly hostel worker and her very friendly dogs. They found a quiet solace underneath the desk. It was quite overcast and foggy which was a bummer because behind those clouds was beauty just waiting to be revealed…. We settled into our room and then ventured out to grab a bite to eat and drink. Since it was dark and rainy we stopped at the first place we could find. We ate hamburgers and French fries…. Totally American, but don’t judge us… We were starving. We left there and headed to a bar with really great live music… Some of the songs that were even sung were in English, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I like having 5 minutes a day where I understand anyone other than Kevin. We also enjoyed some hot wine. It was delish! Similar to an apple cider, but better because there was alcohol!
It’s already obvious that my greatest challenge will be that I speak VERY little Spanish and the people here speak VERY little, to no English at all. Luckily, Kevin is somewhat fluent. Without him, I’d be the worst tourist on the planet. I find myself constantly smiling and nodding and then wondering to myself, “What did I just agree to?” My number one goal by the end of this journey is to be fluent in Spanish. Each day I’ll spend some time studying the language and will do whatever I can to learn and understand it.
It’s incredibly weird having no timeline… When you vacation, you constantly rush through each day. Can you really even enjoy travel that way? Each second wasted on a vacation, is time wasted. A normal amount of time spent on a vacation is roughly 5-10 days, so in order to make the most of your travels, you have to constantly be on the go. Kevin and I are lucky because in so many ways this isn’t a vacation….. This is our life. We can do everything, or we can do nothing… The choice is ours.
Wednesday, the weather in the city was beautiful. Sunny skies, cool temperatures and a bit of a breeze. The perfect walking weather… Which is perfect for us because we walk everywhere! Before leaving the hostel, we enjoyed Colombian coffee and croissants for breakfast while chatting with several other travelers. An artist from South Africa, a buyer for Louis Vuitton from Paris and a photographer from Colorado. All amazing people with the same thirst for travel as Kevin. We spent the day walking throughout Bogota experiencing the hustle and bustle of the city. Mid-morning we took some time to relax in a small coffee shop with some café con leche and a small pastry. It was so tasty and the conversation between Kevin and I was flowing as always. We spent several more hours walking before heading back to the hostel for some downtime. After some naps and some photo editing, we headed back out to get groceries for dinner which turned out muy bien.
Thursday we were up early for coffee and breakfast but, retreated back to our room for several hours to be productive with some reading and of course playing Candy Crush. Around 11:00 we grabbed a taxi to take us to Monserrate, which is a mountain that dominates the city of Bogota. We paid our admission and were ushered into a line to wait for the train that would bring us to the top. Luckily it was a very short ride and lucky for everyone around me I didn’t get motion sickness. Wouldn’t want to be the girl that yorked all over a bunch of Columbians in a tiny train car, would I? We reached the top where it was drizzling slightly, but very windy and chilly. We followed a small pathway to the top where we could see the whole city of Bogota. It was very overcast, but the views were amazing. City for as far as the eye could see. I snapped some shots and thanks to some very friendly folks, Kevin and I even snagged a few photos together. Before we knew it the clouds cleared and the sun was shining on what would turn out to be the most beautiful day. To end the day, we went to la bodega and purchased some pasta and alfredo for a small dinner at our hostel. We also made our way to the Center for Transportation and purchased two, one-way bus tickets to Santa Marta, Colombia which will be our next stop on this adventure across South America…. Please remember us and pray for our sanity as this is an almost 20 hour bus ride, but what awaits us is warm, sunny, beach paradise! That’s our tiny silver lining. Until next time, buenas noches-
Kev & Ash