As I mentioned in the other post from this weekend, there are two main things to do in Cali: dance salsa and eat. In addition to salsa classes, my hostel also organises (almost) daily street food tours and I really wanted to go on one because I had heard it is great. But I was unlucky, there were no tours on Sundays, nor this Monday because it was a public holiday. No worries though, I googled a little bit for places to go and things to eat, and decided to do a tour on my own. I got company of my new friend, S from Switzerland, and together we took a map and started walking towards our destination: Mercado La Galeria Alameda in downtown Cali.
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22... That is exactly how I felt in Cali: young, care-free and having so much fun that I'm still smiling at the memories.
Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca region and Colombia's third biggest city, is a lot of things. It is famous for its salsa culture and called "capital de la rumba", thus the best place in Colombia to party. It has its unique gastronomic traditions, and the next best thing to do in Cali after dancing is eating. Also, Cali is currently ranked the 10th most dangerous city in the world, but luckily I didn't even notice it. In many ways, Cali was an interesting city to see. However, people always make the place, and why I spent such wonderful three days in Cali is because of the great people, "Calenos" and other travellers, that I met.
I'm back after a week of detox from my life and from all technology! My travels don't always (ever) go smoothly. After Bogota I was supposed to leave on Tuesday for Santa Marta and Palomino, since it was Semana Santa and I had many days off from work. This time I didn't even have airline companies to fight with because Santa Marta is easily accessible by bus, but somehow it still got complicated. On Monday evening I got suddenly very sick and vomited non stop the whole night. On Tuesday I could barely move, it was horrible. I don't know if it was a stomach flu or a food poisoning but I haven't been that sick in a very long time (I swear this was even worse than after my accident when I was high on morphine and other medicines and threw up everything I tried to swallow). So no way I could have taken the bus for five hours. I stayed in bed the whole day and then on Wednesday, with high medication, I finally made it to Santa Marta. I had absolutely no energy left when I got there so all I could do was to enjoy the rooftop pool at my hostel, Masaya. I'll have to go back another time to really see the city. S joined me later in the evening (she wasn't sick but her bus left some three hours late and at her hostel they gave her a bed without a mattress, no smooth start for her either) and the next day we traveled to a nearby beach destination, Palomino. Four days away from the city, with no cars to be seen, and staying literally 24/7 on the beach was exactly what we both needed. Now I am back in Cartagena, tanned and feeling a lot better already, except that I still can't eat much.
Here's some pics from our trip. Credits to S, my dear photographer, for most of them.
As you can see, sick or not, life could be a lot worse. :)
Day 85, Bogota: A visit to a salt cathedral in Zipaquirá, photo-shooting with cows, and some more food-tasting.
Early yesterday morning T came to pick me up from my hostel in Bogota and we drove an hour or so, to a nearby town called Zipaquirà. A friend of his, J, joined us on the way and we then spent the day exploring what Zipaquirá is famous for, a Salt Cathedral. It is an underground Catholic church, built in the tunnels of an old salt mine. Although the Zipaquirá Salt Mine is one of countless salt mines in the world, the Salt Cathedral is one of only two, the other being in Poland, and thus a must-to-see when traveling to Bogota. It was an interesting visit, here's some pics we took on our way:
My trip to Bogota, the capital of Colombia, on Thursday afternoon did not start as smoothly as I would have wanted. I was boarding the plane at Cartagena airport, we were already walking from the gate to the plane, when suddenly everyone turned around and started walking back to the airport building. Déjà Vu, that was almost like what happened to me and J in New York although back then it was only us two who were kicked out from the plane and also we had already traveled for quite a while so we were tired and angry. This time I was only curious to know what was happening and soon enough I got a new reason to add on my list “Flights are delayed because...”: They had closed one of the runways in Bogota so there was nowhere we could land and thus, we could not take off. Some 5 hours later, when we were finally ready to go I was getting tired and angry and feeling sick after a free hamburger I had eaten. I had finished the book I was reading, discovered every corner of each shop there was (it is a very small airport I can tell you) and spent my money on a perfume. Vive Viva Colombia! Not the best first experience with this airline company.
When I arrived to Bogota airport it was almost midnight and I just wanted to get to my hostel. There were two taxi lines, one with at least 50 people queuing and another one with, well no one. An officer from then non-existing line spotted me immediately and asked if I wanted to take a taxi. I asked what the difference was in letting him take me to a taxi or standing in the line as everyone else. He told me that his taxi was a “special service taxi” and that I would not have to wait, and that the price would of course be the same. I didn’t believe that for a second but I was so eager to get out from there that I decided to pay rather than wait and hopped in the car with him. We arrived to the city and soon after I realized that we were driving in a very scary-looking neighborhood, with narrow streets, run-down houses and no people to be seen. For a moment a panicked a bit, I had heard various persons telling me how dangerous Bogota is and suddenly I was sure that this guy was not taking me to my hostel but somewhere else where he would rob me or rape me or god knows what. Of course this was not the case, a moment later we came to my hostel and he let me go. However, I didn’t feel much better when he asked me why I had chosen that hostel in Chapinero instead of a nicer place in the historical old town, Candelaria. Looking around, I was wondering exactly the same thing...
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!