Travel 2.0 across Colombia part 1. Bogota vs countryside

Colombia, travel 2.0. First of all we want to apologize to all of our readers for the delay of this post. We’re going to divide the pictures and the explanations of our experiences in Colombia in three parts. Part I will deal about the differences between the life in the city Bogota and the life in the countryside. Part II offers a concise explanation of the stories we learnt about Pablo Escobar and David Murcia Guzman. Part III attempts to explain the secret biologic weapon used by the US, known as the Leishmaniasis, to beat the Colombian Guerrilla, as we had the opportunity to know a Colombian man who is infected by this virus after being exposed to this weapon.

The capital of Colombia is Bogotá, a vast city with more than eight million habitants who live at 2.800 meters above the sea level, also known as Bacatá in Chibcha’s language. The Estratos are the districts into which Bogota is divided. A closer look to each of the six Estratos gave us the opportunity to appreciate one of the everlasting problems of this city as the districts are marked and defined by the wealthiness of their inhabitants. This affects the physical and social physiognomy of the city, since depending on your income you will need to pay more or less taxes. 85% of the people live within the first, second and third districts, who are the poorest; whereas the remaining 15% live in fourth, fifth and sixth districts. Everyone in town is aware of the main consequence, locally known as the ‘Barrios de invasión’. This is an expression that stands for the astonishing number of illegal neighbourhoods (literally) invading or growing up around each district of the city.

As in other massive cities, traffic is always a problem. Traffic jams in Bogotá are known as ‘trancones’, which in Spanish originally means bottleneck. Probably this is not a way of getting to know a city, and most certainly what we did is something that does not appear in any classic and traditional travel guide. One day we decided to drive around the city, to feel that we were actually sharing the same space as the citizens of Bogotá. Well, the result was that we spent more than three hours driving the car to try to get some place close and three more hours back.  As I said, this is not the most reasonable way of knowing a place, but we wonder until what point this experience, being within a frustrating traffic jam, does not offer you a glimpse, the real taste of what it means to be in Bogotá. It should also be pointed out that the government of Bogota is working on this issue by applying traffic restrictions known as ‘Pico y Placa’. It’s kind of hard to find the exact words in English but probably these would be ‘peak traffic and plate’, which basically means that depending on your plate number you can just drive in certain days.

How about the countryside? We are absolutely in love with the locals; sweet, kind, caring, humble, respectful, warm, friendly, affectionate, simple, transparent, cheerful, hardworking, resourceful, generous, funny, charming, understanding; in one word: HAPPY. Our journey to the countryside consisted in a good amount of hours by car and as soon as we started to approach to the countryside you could tell, just by looking at the landscape, that someone who lives here has to be special, different. As we did in Bogotá our intention was to get close to the way these villagers live. In other words, from day one we started to follow their daily routine, waking up before the sun rises, having unconceivable but energetic breakfasts, going out to work on the countryside, having unforgettable chats with the locals when there was time to rest; well, we do not know how to express this with words, take a look at our pictures and hopefully these will allow you to explain this experience with your own words!

We have to admit that our time there caused a profound change within ourselves, as once we were back home in Barcelona, the differences between what we learnt in Colombia and what we found here are too far from each other; it was as if our nostalgia was dragging us to those moments we have tried to picture and share with you. It is well known that nowadays the world is trying to stand up again after the big crisis of 2008, and it is also well known how everyone suffers in the West. This is something that we cannot neglect, but is also true that those villagers did teach us something that probably cannot be learnt in any school or university. If your present day situation is critical, probably theirs is even worst. However, their attitude towards their job, activities, at the end of the day, their life is overwhelmingly full of positivity. One of the ways this can be perceived is the way the locals treat you, a tourist probably coming from one of the big states that in a way have generated the economic differences in our world. To give an example, this is a quote from an amazing man that I met in Colombia:

I don’t know how the people will treat me outside Colombia, but I’ll treat people in my Colombia with my arms open

coffee tree

coffee process

From the tree to the mouth

60 kg of coffee fruit Good moment during the pulping of the coffee Panoramic at Cundinamarca, Colombia Señor Morales papa criolla at Sasaima market TRekking to the indian cavern Butterflies on the middle of the trekking Banana tree Yellow bird Colombian dog Black bird reposing Willys with 16 people inside Small river Reposing Milking the cow riding in four car full of bananas and amazing panoramic trekking day Colombian cow Playing football at colombia

Travel 2.0 across Colombia

Colombia, trip 2.0. We would like to invite you to follow our trip across Colombia on the other travel blog that we have. We’re updating day a day our trip, our adventures, our trekkings, our meals and of course our pictures.

Hope that you’ll enjoy it and hope to get your advices and tips if you travelled before to Colombia.

Wish that you’re going to have a nice day


Beautiful typical house at Colombia

Discover adventure Europe: must visit places

In my view Europe is an ideal place to embark on some adventure travelling. Not only is it easy to get around, thanks to its sophisticated transport network, but the landscape and climate varies so widely that you don’t have to go far to enjoy a variety of different experiences in a relatively short space of time. There are so many cheap flights on offer to Europe that you won’t have to spend a large chunk of your available vacation money just on getting there.

If, like me, you like to travel to out-of-the-way places and enjoy an active outdoors-style holiday, then you’ll love the following three destinations, all of which rate as some of my top ‘must-visit’ adventure destinations, where you can indulge in some really rewarding activities.

Jura, Franche Comte, France

I love this little-known region of France. Close to the German and Swiss borders, it offers many of the same outdoor activities and stunning alpine scenery of the latter country, but at half the price! Lake Chalain is the largest glacial lake in the Jura region. Popular with Dutch campers, you can windsurf, kayak, sail and canoe on the lake, or go hiking or mountain-biking on one of the many dedicated forest and mountain trails in the area. It is also a World Heritage Site with a rich prehistoric history, so you can feed the mind as well as the body. White water canoeists won’t be disappointed either – international white water rafting competitions are often held in the rapids of the Doubs River at nearby Goumois.

Mundaka, Northern Spain

Rated by many as being one of the top-10 surfing spots in the world, the ride from the sea into the Mundaka river mouth is definitely worth experiencing – the Billabong Pro held one of the legs of its 2008 international competition here, which should tell you something! The swell is amazingly powerful, with waves sometimes reaching up to 8 to 12 feet high, but the ride is incredible – long, fast but clean. Beware of the strong undercurrents though, especially when the tide turns. We got cheap flights to Bilbao and then hired a car from there. This is Basque country, so we found it culturally interesting and relatively unspoilt by over-development. The food here is also very tasty and relatively cheap – we ate a really hearty three-course meal at a small restaurant at the harbor for next to nothing. The nearby Pyrenees Mountains are also great for mountain biking.

Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway

If you’re a fan of hiking, mountaineering or trekking in dramatic wilderness, then this part of Norway, with its fjords and snowcapped mountains is a definite must-see, especially in summer when there is almost perpetual daylight, due to the northerly situation. I found it quite a physical challenge to adapt to the difference in temperature and daylight hours – it played havoc with my sleeping patterns – but for those who like to push themselves, this is definitely a challenge! Spitsbergen really comes into its own in winter when you can enjoy a display of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). I also highly recommend a cruise to the Arctic to see the polar bears and grey seals. Although I haven’t yet tried it out, the dog sled safari sounded like something really worth doing.

Don’t hesitate, book a flight to Europe and have some really memorable vacation adventures.

European summer festivals

Sonar, Barcelona. Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 of June 2012, Barcelona. Probably, the best dance and electro festival in Europe. Capacity from 50.000 people. Great opportunity to visit Barcelona and also enjoy this music festival.

Leeds Festival. Friday 24 of August till 26 of August 2012. It’s a wonderful festival with capacity for 75.000 people. Basically it’s a rock/pop festival with some dance and electrical concerts too.

Sudoeste Festival. Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal. Wednesday 01 of August till Sunday 05 of August 2012. Dance, electro, rock and pop are 80% of concerts on this small town on the Algarve, south of Portugal. Why not? Planing a trip to the coast of Portugal and being part of the Sudoeste Festival.

There are a lot of festivals in Europe during the summer. If you love to travel and those kind of festivals, the summer is the best opportunity to enjoy it all at the same time. These three festivals are small representation of all of them, probably from my point of view the best ones. 🙂

It’s important to know that if you would like to attend to one of them you must buy the tickets as soon as possible, check the way to get there, places to sleep and also the flights. Usually for these dates it’s impossible to get tickets, flights and place to sleep few days before the festival.

It’ll be nice to get the comments and the opinion of our readers about the festivals that you were or festivals that you know that are simply amazing. Here it goes me recommendation: Sonar Festival. If you like electro music and you would like to visit Barcelona, the days of this festivals maybe is the best time to visit the city. Also, Primavera Sound Festival. It’s also in Barcelona and it’s a good excuse for a five days visiting Barcelona. Enjoying the best during the day and also the night.

Backpacking Beautiful Barcelona

One of Spain’s most colourful and unconventional cities, Barcelona beckons backpackers to join in the fun. Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992; since then it has become the premier city to visit in Spain. Big draws include the architectural genius Gaudi’s many quirky works around the city, museums galore, terrific Catalan cuisine at all the restaurants and bars, a hopping nightlife and festivals throughout the year, especially the Carnival in early spring. Flights to Barcelona are available from many cities and various airlines. Colón Backpackers wanting to stay in the city will find a variety of hostels available. People of any age can stay at a hostel, although there may be a small fee for older adults. Camping outside of the city is also an option for backpackers. Three camping sites serving Barcelona provide amenities such as swimming pools and showers, a supermarket and restaurant. While located a distance from Barcelona city centre, all three are serviced by trains and busses for easy transportation into town. Make sure you check whether or not curfews are in place before venturing too far in the evenings. While in Barcelona, consider getting a Barcelona Card, which will provide free access to the metro, trains and busses and discounts at the city’s museums, shops, restaurants and other cultural venues. Barcelona Cards good for one, two, three, four or five days can be purchased at the Barcelona Tourism association. With getting around taken care of, happy backpackers can then begin exploring this unusual city on the Mediterranean. Barcelona must-sees include the Barri Gotic, the gothic quarter with the elegant 14th century cathedral. Narrow winding streets around the cathedral are home to exquisite shops and excellent tapas and seafood restaurants. La Rambla, Barcelona’s pedestrian-only avenue sports all kinds of interesting street-life with human statues, mimes and performance artists. Beware of pickpockets, but enjoy rambling down the street and stopping in a café for sangria. A tour of Gaudi’s architectural wonders is almost always a requirement for a Barcelona visit. Side trips to the Roman town of Girona or the monastery at Montserrat are easily accessed by train. Barcelona itself, however, brims with fun and lively things to do, more than enough to keep backpacking visitors busy for however long they linger in a beautiful Spanish city.

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