Aug 1, 2009
Colombia, the land of the FARC, M-19, cocaine and kidnappings... happens to be absolutely lovely. Probably the most modern and civilized country we have encountered thus far. To be fair, we stayed away from the guerrilla hideouts in the mountains and apparently “ Plan Colombia”, the US financed ($ 1.3 billion) anti-narco plan, is working quite well.
In Bogota, we stayed with Senora Norah, Bo and Erin’s nanny’s mother. (random, but so fortunate ) Sweeter than an oblea (local street treat of two giant wafers with caramel in the middle), Norah took us in as if we were her own family. Lovely lady.
Bogota is alive like New York. Full of people with a purpose. A charming colonial center surrounded by modern buildings and commercial centers all set with the backdrop of the beautiful Andes mountains. You would be seeing beautiful pictures of Bogota, but some thug in Lima kindly relieved us of our camera.
From Bogota we flew to Cartagena on the coast. Cartagena is a walled city built in the 1500s. The old town is charming, covered in flowers and untouched, very reminiscent of Antigua, Guatemala. Except for the cars and the clothes you might think you had traveled back in time. Back in our “ summer clothes” we ate outside in the beautiful squares.
Our best Cartagena adventure was to the mud volcano, about an hour out of town. We discovered this natural wonder thanks to our new friends Tanya and Chris. It is exactly as it sounds. - A 2 story high volcano of mud where you can jump into the crater and swim around in luke warm mud. The mud was silky smooth and thick. Imagine trying to swim in warm toothpast. Happily we were very bouyant. We washed off in the adjacent green slimy lake and felt somewhat refreshed.
To our surprise, our trip there overlapped with their independence day, so we had a chance to enjoy some incredible fireworks while dining al fresco in the warm caribbean air. Fantastic.
This trip was an eye-opening, soul-searching, family bonding, world exploring, culture experiencing, and truly life altering time for us. We’ve seen, done, tasted, and experienced so much more than can be put to paper. But, for following the small amount we did put to paper, we want to thank you. We’ve loved hearing your comments, and reading your letters, and look forward to spending more time with each of you.
We are now safe and back in the states. We are squeezing in a quick summer vacation here in the Michigan dunes but will soon be back to work, school, and our regularly scheduled lives. See you all back in SF August 17th.
Gillian, Peter, Annika and Alex