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Southamerica

My days in Colombia are counted, so it is kind of difficult to decide where to go and what more I actually have to visit. Time and money limits as always. I’m still studying and since the university is like school, I don’t have too many possibilities to travel far distances in Colombia. I just wait until the end of my semester.

On a Sunday I had the chance to go with a good friend of mine to Tobia. My friend is a guide of adventure trips and so the plan was to do some canoeing and rafting there in Tobia.

We went to Tobia by bus, which took around 2 hours or a bit more. It is amazing how fast the landscape is changing in Colombia. You only drive out Bogota and then you find another climate and landscape. So we actually ended up in Tobia in a smooth…

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The two faces of Bogota

Bogota the big city, many times it is really difficult to leave all the air pollution, the noise and the busy lifestyle behind you. But there are ways! The only diffiuclty is to find them and to know about it.

But yes I heard about such an emergency exit. I asked some friends about it, they as well heard about it, but couldn’t help me further. Only this year in 2012 I found finally someone who actually went with me. This was good because finding the entrance to the emergency exit out of the big city isn’t that easy.

We needed to cross a funny and interesting subsurface way until we could finally enter into the natural “park”.

This “park” is not a park, it is “only” the mountain which is the borderline of Bogota. These mountains actually constrain that Bogota would grew more to this side. Anyway we went to a small door and we found ourselve in another world. We started to walk up the mountains, which actually was a really good workout and up the mountains we obtained a great view of the city and of course we gained a lot of fresh air.

 

That morning we only started really late our walk. Around 7.30am…so when we finished this little adventure trip we couldn’t leave the mountains through the same door because this door will be locked for security reasons at 10am. So we needed to cross a stream and climb over a fence and then we were back to city life. This was a great experience and the right thing to leave the city behind for half a day. Thanks to my friend 🙂 !

 

 

As well have a look at this article:

http://www.colombia.travel/de/official-bloggers/entry/christina-zimmermann/bogota–eine-der-gefahrlichsten-stadte-der-welt

 

Special Days in Bogotá –Stories out of context

Daily life in Bogotá doesn’t really exist, I would say. But of course I’m going regularly to my university and this is a kind of routine, so a bit of the daily life I have.

        

But nevertheless in Colombia there is not a daily order like in other countries. Every day is different and special. Especially the climate (four seasons during one day), the timetable of the busses and Transmilenios (TM) doesn’t work either and well, being late here in Colombia is kind of normal with this crazy infrastructure. But you always got to your objective somehow or somewhat. If you go by bus, sometimes someone is entering in the bus to earn some small money, so you can pass your time by listing to poems, self-written songs or life stories. But the busses don’t have their own lane on the streets, so with in the rush-hour-times it takes a long time to get to your place. For that reasons I’m taking most of my time the TM.

With this public transport you are normally on the safe side, but as well there are events which change the timetable and working hours of the Transmilenio. For example at the beginning of this month there was a strike in the public transport. So some streets were closed by the protests, so all the TMs took one way as you can the in the photo. As well you could find many police men in the station, who were there to prevent the worst.

The public frustration with the TM is increasing because the busses and the stations are always crowed and sometimes you even have problems to get out of the bus. As well the original TM plans anticipated 170km of lanes. But instead Bogotá only have 84 km of completed lanes. All this leaded to the strike…but the public transport system always is difficult to solve in such a big city. But surprisingly you get used of all this and in the end you are fine when you actually get to point A to B.

Funny and completely out of context is the story with the names. Here in Colombia almost everyone has four names (two names and two surnames). Well when they heard my name, they asked me “That’s all!?” or “Isn’t that a bit boring!?” or something like that “What do you do, if you have a double ganger, a person with the same name”…Well in fact I do have a third name and many persons of my nationality too, nowadays we have the trend of double names after a marriage moreover, but the names here seems to be without end. I always have the problems how to call the persons. So in the worst case I call a male person: Juan or Camilo and for the females I would guess: Ana, Angela or Maria…Well it stays difficult. But back to my third name….my third name is Anita. Whenever some of my German friends heard that name..he/she was singing “Anita,Anita” (Costa Cordalis) or just laughing over this name. But here in Colombia “Anita” actually doesn’t exist. Anita is a diminution form of Ana. So everyone was delighted over my other name and liked it very much. This was a completely different experience.

Some photos from my “daily” life in Bogotá:

Laguna de Guatavita

On a Sunday I went with two friends of mine to the Lake Guatavita, which is located around 40 km north of Bogotá. I always wanted to go there because I saw many fascinating pictures in the internet and furthermore the Lake Guatavita offers as well an interesting history.

The Lake Guatavita was one time honored by the Muisca, indigenes like the Incas. It is said that there the legend “El dorado” took place. In short words – the legend “El dorado” says that the king of the Muisca was ritually covered with gold dust at a religious festival held in the Lake Guatavita.

For that reason there were many attempts made to find gold in the Lake Guatavita. But none of the results were really successfully. Nowadays you can visit the Lake Guatavita as a tourist attraction. So you have to pay an entrance fee and then you can walk a small piece at the side of the lake. But before it became such a tourist place you could actually walk around the whole lake and spend the weekend there. It is a bit of a shame that you only have a small bit to walk next to the lake nowadays.

   

We started our tour from the “Portal de Norte” to the village of Guatavita. From there you can catch a van which brings you up to the entrance of the Laguna.

There you follow a solid and visible way to the exit. The walking way takes around 45min. It is indeed really short, but the view on the lake is great indeed.

         

From the exit you can as well take a van, which brings you back, or you just walk, what we just did because the climate this day was really great.

The village Guatavita is really worth visiting as well. The tourist center is really cute with all the white and nice houses.

        

The old village of Guatavita was submerged in the waters of the Tominé Reservoir and was rebuilt on higher ground again. The Tominé Reservoir, a big lake, is an important water supply and it is used as well for water sports and other water-related events. Moreove the people of the village or of other place nearby go there to relax and to spend the day at the Reservoir. It is a nice recreation from the city of Bogotá.

         

Official Blogger – Vitrina Turistica de Anato 2012

In the context of the new project “Official Blogger” we were invited to visit the event “Vitirina Turistica de Anato 2012”.

Every year this event takes place in Bogota in the “Corferias”, which is the center international for negotiations and expositions.

There at the exposition you can inform yourself about the tourist attractions in almost every Department of Colombia.

        

        

Furthermore many companies present their offers to the public, hotels, ecotourism, adventure tours or cultural and culinary details. As well you can inform yourself about other countries of South America or just enjoy the artists.

      

          

But as we are Official Bloggers for Colombia we were mainly collecting information about this awesome country. Well it is indeed amazing that Colombia is the first country that established this kind of project. So I really hope we can promote Colombia more to foreigners because Colombia is just great. And we Bloggers, we all fell in love with this amazing country.

      

So back to the “Vitrina Turistica de Anato 2012”: We were shown around and had of course plenty enough time to walk around and look at these things which we are interested in. In the morning time we had a little lunch break – delicious juices and empanadas.

           

Later on, Proexport offered us more of good food. We had pig, rice, salad and platano with nice fresh lemonade. This really was delicious. And for dessert we had a kind of Tiramisu which was tasting good too. All in all it was a really interesting day. Thanks very much for this opportunity.

     

Which I forget to mention…Last but not Least: We got a great black vest to start our day at the Vitrina Turistica. On the back of this nice vest stays “Official Blogger – www.colombia.travel”. Really great idea!

I’m confused…winter in Bogotá!?

On Sunday I went out to visit a friend of mines. I took first the Transmilenio and then I walked to the place where we wanted to meet up. And you should know that in Bogotá all the streets have a special number depending on their location. This order is kind of a raster, so it isn’t that difficult to find places, at least you always know, if you are on the right track or not.

Anyhow, I was walking from the bus station to this place and found myself in a quarter which was closed this day for cars. So many people cycled or walked in the middle of the street. In Bogotá every Sunday a different quarter is closed for activities like this. So yes, I enjoyed walking this street. In the end I was half an hour before the actual meeting time. So I sat and watched the people. Then suddenly it began to rain out of nowhere. Luckly my friend came and we sat down in a café and had both café late with milk which did not have lactose in it. Yes this as well exists in Bogotá – milk without milk sugar.

During this time inside, the sun came out again and it seemed to be a nice day. But short time before we actually left to buy some stuff in the supermarket. It started to hail. Only a bit, but when we arrived in the supermarket the hail was really heavy. The cars which parked in front, started to make annoying noise. Of course their alarm went on, because they were hit really hard by that hail. As well the roof in the supermarket couldn’t stand the hail. So water came in but nothing more happened.

 

Well it looked like it snowed on the street and felt like the world is going down. But these kinds of climate changes are normal for Bogotá. As I said, Colombia doesn’t have seasons like summer or winter but many seasons during one day…sun, hail, rain, wind…almost everything.

 

San Andrés

San Andrés is an Island of Colombia, although its geographical position doesn’t give a hint of this belonging. San Andres is situated 770km from the coastline of Colombia but only 190km from the coastline of Nicaragua. As well the Island is very small, but as usually little things have a great value. This happened to me with the Island San Andres. I could never imagine living in such a small place surrounded by only water…but this Island and its people have their charm. I fall in love.

        

The climate during my stay in San Andrés was really great. It felt like 30 degrees in the shadow, so that I really was happy about the wind. Not only to keep me a bit cool, as well I started to do windsurf and so it was my friend and enemy at the same time. The wind gave me the possibilities to navigate and to obtain velocity, but at the same time the wind changed its direction and its forces. So I landed a lot of times in the water.

         

Santa Marta and Cartagena were my first places at the Caribbean. I had a great time but there is no possibility to compare these places. San Andrés is so different to Colombia. I wasn’t really feeling that I’m still in this country. As well many people on the Island speak a mix of Spanish and English which is called creole. This has an historical background. The people on the Island are a mix of African, English and Spanish people. I heard that the people from San Andrés don’t like to speak Spanish because they want to distinguish themselves to the Colombians. Well I realized that the people from the Island talk to each other in their language, but with me they talked Spanish. And all of them were really nice to us Tourists. It is really great to live nearby to the people of San Andrés and not to be separate like in other places of the Caribbean.  But well as I said San Andrés is very special to me.

      

      

During the night time you can go to the city center, walking there or dancing in one of its discotheques. Or you can chill out in one of the reggae bars which are situated around the Island. During day and night time there are mostly motorbikes on the road. Motorbikes with up to 5 persons! It looks dangerous but for them it is normal. They grew up with this kind of transportation. One child is sitting in front of his father and behind him there are his three girls, but all are looking really happy and not anxious with their situation.  As well these people have an inborn talent. They can dance, sing and make music. It is just amazing. Their instruments are simple but they can play it so impressively good. One member of a band used an animal skull to play music; the other one had a self-made trammel. You just have to see it with your own eyes.

       

      

Although during my stay not everything went right and leaded to some moments of stress, all in all I enjoyed my time there to the upmost and my mind is still there on the Island.

        

Aswell I really want to thank my mum&dad for the great trip and the nice fotos we took together.

And last but no least: