Archives for category: Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena transported me to a different time and place. Never have I seen such a cluster of fabulously maintained buildings, as well as narrow streets and plazas, all within the colonial walled city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site ( UNESCO World Heritage Site ).

Every step inside those walls was essentially a TravelingReal moment. The extremely colorful buildings continuously kept me in awe, which, in certain ways, is symbolic: South America is a colorful continent. Colorful in the literal sense, with the clothing and crafts made by artisans; colorful in its magnificent nature; colorful in its people.

And there you have it — Lima, Peru to Cartagena, Colombia. A perfect (unplanned) itinerary.

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Salento, Colombia

This part of Colombia is absolutely beautiful. It’s a funny thing: because I had already seen plenty of nature in Peru and Ecuador it never occurred to me that any other sight could produce such awe. But outside of Salento, the town I stayed in, there is an area of surreal natural beauty called the Valle de Cocora — an area where Dr. Seuss’ imagined trees, the national tree of Colombia called the “wax palm” ( Wax Palm), actually exist.

My Traveling Real pic takes place in a cafĂ© in Salento where a young man prepares fresh coffee. Intrigued by his coffee-making technique I learned that this brewing machine is an antique, continuously used since the early 1900’s!

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Colombia

Popayan, Colombia

At the bus station in Otavalo, Ecuador I met two friendly German women who were heading in the same direction and our first stop a couple hours from the border was the well-preserved colonial city, Popayan, known as Cuidad Blanca (White City). The City reminded me of another Ciudad Blanca I had known five years ago as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia, Sucre.

Leaving Ecuador for Colombia was exciting due to the great unknown that lay ahead. When I began my travels to South America never did I guess that Colombia would be my last stop, let alone a highlight! Why a highlight you might ask? Three words: architecture, coffee and nature. Popayan satisfied the first and second categories.

My Traveling Real pic is the cafe. Those coffee makers are the norm there- coffee pours out of one side and hot milk out the other. There was nothing quite like immersing myself in a crowded Colombian cafe that first morning in order to Really Know I’m actually in Colombia.

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