Tag Archives: Santa Marta

Unwinding up North

We spent a few days on either side of our hike to Ciudad Perdida, relaxing in Northern Colombia. Oscar has been an absolute champ lately and has been running like a new van since getting off the ship in Cartagena. Mum thinks its because we have finally accepted that he has gender identity problems and is actually a menopausal woman, dubbed “Oscarina”. Mark’s Dad has a theory that it’s a fuel blockage which builds up over time, this is starting to seem more likely.

colombia north 01Oscar dropping us off at the hotel in Santa Marta. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Animals follow Dad around where ever he goes – this pussy is territorial, watch out Mum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis parrot thought that Mark’s hair looked like a good place to build a nest.

So far in Colombia every town and city has had something named after Simon Bolivar. He played a big part in the fight for independence in a number of latin american countries, including Colombia. He died in Santa Marta and we toured the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino where he spent his final days. The house has been meticulously preserved. I felt a bit creepy peering into the bedroom and bathroom of a man who died almost 200 years ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe grounds of the hacienda – i’ve never seen so many iguanas in one place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA On our way to Lulo for the second time, best arepas ever!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Shauno trying to fix his beloved hiking stool. I still laugh thinking about him falling off it.

In an attempt to avoid the crazy Semana Santa (easter holiday) crowds we headed to Playa Costeño. Shauno was a big fan of the cheap communal meals, keeping it simple with only one option. He wasn’t as keen on the portion sizes though, and feared starvation. Mark and I braved sea sickness in the choppy Caribbean for a surf, but mostly we just lounged around napping and reading our books.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABackseat bandits.

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The north desperately needs some rain. Mum informed us that “dust” will be one of her lasting impressions of Colombia. This was definitely apparent up in Minca, where were stayed in some beautiful Ecohabs. Despite the dust, it was a beautiful setting and a great way to end the trip with Mum and Dad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEchohabs with their amazing flaura and fauna.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKakaw – the chocolate place. Most of their products are sourced from the jungle. Dad’s description “rustic”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmigos

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChasing waterfalls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACocktail hour with Shauno

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAViews

It was fun travelling with Mum and Dad for a few weeks. Along the way I realized that travelling with aging parents, is probably a bit like travelling with children. The biggest challenge is getting them to keep their pants on.

colombia north 26Speedos this far from the beach = underwear

Posted from Villa de Leyva, Colombia.

Sweat and the City (The Lost City)

After 2 weeks in Chile and Argentina sightseeing, wine tasting, struggling with jetlag and the worst cold ever, it was time to fly to Cartagena to catch up with Mark and Bec.

We had left the itinerary up to them, as we were keen to experience the brown bus life. They suggested we hike to the Lost City and as Shauno is into suffering, we were up for it.

The drive to the trail’s start was a mini-epic of a dusty, rutted uphill dash with the driver seemingly in drug running mode. Curiously, we waited until the hottest part of the day to set off. 5 minutes later we jumped into our first swimming spot.

Ciudad Perdida01Mules readying to perfume the track

And then…. it was uphill with the sun beating on our sweat soaked backs.  The heat intensified by its reflection from the grey dust of the track and at times amplified by the 2-3 metre deep ruts worn by mules and people. There was a pungent smell of hot dust mixed with mule urine and dung.

It was a brutal beginning and ultimately a brutal ending. The rest was easy, apart from the hard bits.

Ciudad Perdida02Dusty leaves, dustier throats

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                 Side walls to the cauldron

We were twice as old as most everyone else and it showed!

Nights were spent swinging from the ceiling but alcohol was not involved due to the fact there was no refrigeration.

Shaun ran a small morning clinic treating blisters on the feet of young ladies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5 star luxury

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunrise from the hammock

We hiked though thick jungle and along the way swam in pristine natural pools, marveled at the beauty of the birds and butterflies and glimpsed a shy armadillo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWiwa preschool class photo

Ciudad Perdida10 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ciudad Perdida12A moment of distress. Nothing that chewing some coca leaves and lime can’t fix.

Ciudad Perdida13 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Porkers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Many rivers to cross

The final ascent after 2 days of sustained sweating was a cheeky climb of 1200 steps into the fascinating world of the indigenous people. Their culture and society was rich and well organized. Their gold too much of a lure for the Spanish conquerors, and their destruction inevitable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASuffer baby suffer

Ciudad Perdida1Our guide, looking comfortable as always

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe money shot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFour’s a crowd

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFree coffee/internet cafe!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADos cervezas, muy frio, por favor

We learnt a few things…that it was as tough as the Kokoda Trail (a jungle trek in New Guinea) and that it would be Sal’s first and last jungle trek. And now Becci-Rae can bond with her brothers over trekking with their Dad.

Posted from: Barranquilla, Colombia. The brown bus is headed towards: San Gil and Bogota, Colombia.