I miss Colombia. I miss Colombia a lot. I have never visited a place that creates such a great emotional response within me. I can just think about my time there and get giddy. The truth is, I fell in love with Colombia and I long to be back there. I console myself with the memories I formed there and these are my favourite:
The Beauty Of Colombia
Colombia is the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world. Colombia is the beginning of the mighty Andes mountain range. Colombia has both Pacific and Caribbean beaches. Colombia has deserts, coffee regions and various different climates that never ceased to blow me away. Road trips felt like I was on a documentary for the BBC. Once, driving through Valle de Cauca, I lost count of the waterfalls I saw. Another time, driving on ‘The Trampoline of Death’, I drove through Amazonian rainforest, then paramo ecosystems, and then back to tropical cloud forests all in one day! Colombia is beautiful beyond words.
San Andres And Providencia
I know that I’ve spoken about Providencia before, but I have to mention it again. San Andres and Providencia are more ‘Caribbean’ in culture than they are Colombian. I’ve been to other Caribbean islands but there was something about the locals that was so endearing that I enjoyed my time there compared to other islands I’ve visited. I also really enjoyed speaking Creole/Patois/whatever you want to call it here. It just felt so, natural. I appreciate the fact that Providencia is also a glimpse of what the old Caribbean was like.
Volunteering In Buga
I volunteered for one month at the Buga Hostel and their microbrewery. This was a challenge because prior to going to Buga, I did not like beer and now I am a beer drinker ;). Being in one location for so long also allowed me to meet fantastic people, people who I genuinely found it hard to say goodbye to. Meeting these people was definitely the highlight of my trip and I hope I am as fortunate on my next trips to meet people just wonderful as they. By the way, on your next trip to Colombia, check out Buga for the small town vibe and the microbrewery for some great beer ;-).
The Colombian People
There are great people everywhere, but Colombians have a special place in my heart. I shared a bottle of rum with dairy farmers because they were impressed with my Spanish. I needed a taxi and none was coming so a local stopped another local and I got a lift into town for free. I was shown family photos and stories over dinner. I was invited to chill at their house. I was told they can help me find a place to live if I move there – and the list goes on and they all make me smile.
Pasto’s Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black White Festival)
This carnival was the MOST fun I’ve had in my adult life. I truly want to make this a yearly tradition. I want to rent a Airbnb property, get all my friends together and go to Pasto for this carnival. I think this carnival is overshadowed by Barranquilla’s carnival which is a shame. I love that it was a family affair – everyone gets involved. The carnival is a big street party of paint, foam and flour. On the black day, more foam and paint is used in the street fighting whilst on the white day there is more flour used. Some may disagree with me on this but I truly noticed that there was more flour on the white day. It’s a whole week of festivities but the best days are the last 3 – black day, white day and the guinea pig festival. I tried guinea pig, it’s not for me.
Christmas in Cali
Now, for my first Christmas away from family, this was actually the BEST Christmas I ever had. I made The traditional Jamaican Christmas drink sorrel and everyone enjoyed it (yes, 876 we large! Up! Up!). Friends had rented a mansion in Cali, we had a fancy dress secret Santa and then to top it all off we skanked to Grime. Yes, I can tell my grand kids their grandmother was dancing to Pow in Colombia. Honorable mentions are 21 Seconds, Wot you call it and Oi. My Christmas was amazing!
Flight from Providencia to San Andres
Finally, my utmost favourite memory was my flight from Providencia to San Andres. This has to be told as a story:
Her: I hope you enjoyed your time here in Providencia. What time are you flying?”
Me: My flight leaves at 7am.
Her: Oh, the plane doesn’t leave at 7am anymore. It leaves at 11am. You can stay here for a little bit, go to the beach, then go to the airport.
Me: Oh, that’s great!
Me: I would like to check in for the 7am flight.
Him: But it’s 10:30am. Why weren’t you here from 6:30am?! What if the plane left you?
Me: I was told the flight leaves at 11am and not at 7 anymore *starts to get worried*
Him: [whispers to his colleague] Give me your bag and go into the waiting room.
20 minutes later, I was on the 7am flight that left at 11am. That is definitely my favourite memory.
- Getting recognised on the second day of the Pasto carnaval
- Drinking in Parque Lleras
- Laughing so much with friends that someone asked to have some of the drugs that I was ‘on’
- Having to feed the German on time
- Puma the Cat
- And so many more!
Colombia was definitely a dream come true. I can’t wait to go back!