Reflections on Colombia

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Lucy

I saw a big dinosaur fossil and trees, sap and fish which had been turned into fossils.
We also met a dog named Goldie, we don’t know if it was his real name but that is what I called him.
I also ate a big bottomed ant. It was crunchy and tasted a bit weird. It was a famous dish in that part of Colombia. Here is a drawing of me eating it.

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Alisha

In Cartagena we learnt all about pirates and me and Lucy played pirates at the castle. Here is a quick drawing of Cartagena.

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Even though it has rained a lot in Colombia I have enjoyed been in the mountains because it is cooler and I have been able to wrap myself up in my duvet at night to get all snug.

I really enjoyed the dance show in Barichara. I took a video of it so I could watch it again and again but unfortunately my camera memory ran out half way through.

Gilly

We’ve found Colombia a great introduction to South America. The diversity of the scenery has given us plenty to see and experience.

The stand out places for me have been up in the Andes. Even with the cloud coverage in El Cucoy National Park, the views were stupendous. At the end of Central America I was saying to Steve what I was most looking forward to in South America were the epic drives, the journey to El Cucoy definitely fulfilled this. We have crisscrossed the central mountain range three times and although the drives have occasionally gave me palpitations, the vistas have been breathtaking.

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With the relatively recent improvements in security and economic growth the government is having a major upgrade of the road networks. Hopefully this will bring more economic opportunities to remote communities and help with continued improvements in security. Unfortunately for us it has meant lots of slow roads with roadworks. Obviously the other downside to our time in Colombia has been the farmer’s strike. Although our plans weren’t too drastically affected it did cause us a lot of stress and concern.

The main memory I will take away from here though is the lovely people. It’s not just the amazing scenery that gets many travellers raving about this place, it’s the welcome they get from the population.

Steve

Colombia is a country in transition. It is emerging from its troubled past and is developing rapidly. There are large investments going into infrastructure as we could see from all the road works and there is a large and growing middle class that means the country has all the facilities you need. There is though still a large poorer part particularly in the countryside.

It is a fascinating time to visit Colombia and as tourism is still quite new the sights are not full of tourists. The scenery in the country is spectacular and there is a huge variety of different landscapes from Caribbean beaches, to high mountain tops, to beautiful coffee highlands to deserts. There are also some wonderful colonial towns that have been very well preserved. We spent 5 weeks in Colombia and could easily have spent more.

Colombia’s biggest asset though is its people. They were the most friendly and welcoming people we have met on the trip so far. Everywhere we went people were helpful, friendly and genuinely interested in what we were doing. They were also very keen to know how we were liking Colombia and wanted to ensure we were enjoying it as much as possible. I hope as tourism increases they manage to retain this friendliness.

The countries in South America are much bigger than those we have recently visited in Central America and it means a lot of driving to reach the sights. It has not been easy getting around and traveling has been much harder. Whilst the main roads are generally good tar there are still lots of roadworks and the roads are full of heavy trucks. As the roads often wind there way over large mountains this can make driving very slow. There are few places to pass so you can end up been stuck behind trucks for a long time. When you get off the main roads the roads often become gravel or mud which can be a challenge in the wet season. Again there are many roadworks so these roads are been improved too. All of this combined with the issues of the farmers strike which involved some roadblocks has meant travelling has been much more of a challenge. But it has been well worth it.

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