Tag Archives: colombia

Valentines Nights & Cat Frights!

Some random things happen whilst traveling but this has got to be my worst!! Lady and the tramp style valentines dinner & being attack by a cat.Throughout our time travelling and chatting to other travelers hearing some of there mishaps we always say for the last 3 years we have been really lucky nothing stolen or any of us injured ect.

The meal was just a  funny situation although we could be food snobs since we know the industry but we also are laid back and understand it was a busy night in a hostel not a fine dining restaurant but the cat was definitely one of the worst things happened to me whilst travelling..

The Meal..

We managed to get a nice candle lit table of two for valentines somehow without trying in a busy hostel full of people. We got a nice salad surprise to start off with,which was so fresh! We ordered dinner which was veggie pasta and were told they were cooking it fresh to order. Then while waiting on the pasta being cooked, the owner came over to us with one portion and joked that he challenged us to share a romantic bowl of pasta until the next bowl was ready in 5 mins (lady and the tramp style haha). About 30 minutes later the hostel helper came over with desert before we had our second bowl, they had most definitely forgot about the meal. The desert was an alphajores with a brandy flavored chocolate sauce. The pasta was worth the wait as it was “Delicioso”.

Catastrophical..

We have slept in various accommodation and throughout this trip I have been thankful for how well I can now sleep in so many different types of places, whether the bed is un-comfy or it’s a noisy hostel somehow now I just instantly fall asleep but I was in a lovely deep sleep and suddenly awoke around 1am. I turned to Chris and said “oh it’s so hot in here”

In a flash I turned on my back and half asleep looked at the curtains and thought to myself they are pretty see through then wondered how I couldn’t see the mosquito net surrounding us. It was the first time having a mosquito net and Chris liked it but I felt caged in it. Instantly something grabbed my foot it was agony and I screamed. Chris had just moved and thought he had caught my hair under his arm like he does sometimes. I was shouting I’ve just been attacked. It felt like a monster grabbing me as I moved my foot slightly and its teeth clawed into my skin! He started laughing and thought I was kidding. I told him to turn the light on a rat or something has attacked me. Then he put the light on and the hostels cat is looking quite comfortable at the foot of the bed!!

The hostel owner was shouting Gata gata! And Chris shewed it out of our room! There was a hole in the mosquito net of the door and it must have climbed through. Even when I knew it was a cat and it was out of our room I was terrified to get to sleep. I didn’t want anything else to get in or attack me. I lay awake listening to the noises of the jungle,the dogs barking and cats screeching.Sending my mind crazy overthinking instead of sleeping, in case I needed to go for a tetanus, texting my mum and panicking her.  I literally slept for 2 hours when the sun came up. In the morning when I looked at it I realized it must of just grabbed my foot with its paws and scratched it slightly. It did break the skin, but I survived and it didn’t get infected. Now i will be keeping an eye on those evil cat eyes watching me!!

The catastrophical name came from a few nights later in Santa Marta and an older man living in our hotel had cats follow him upstairs into his room every night. We would hear him laughing with his neighbor and shouting “Its Catastrophical”. As it wasn’t following me I can see the funny side and hopefully I will eventually get used to seeing random cats again!! 

What funny/ scary travel stories do you have we would love you to share them with us!!!

 

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Was it worth it Wednesday?

Where have we been?

Santa Marta, Cartagena & Medellin (Colombia)

Moving countries next week!

Where have we stayed?

1 night @ hostel Miramar 60,000 pesos, £15 small clean room, relaxed atmosphere, free breakfast, good wifi

3 nights @ unnamed hostel: 50,000 pesos, £12.50  Private room, Shared Bathroom, ok wifi

1 night @ Playa Blanca: 50,000 pesos, £12.50 Room in a hut, Bed literally on the sand, Share Toilets, No Shower, No wifi

1 Overnight bus: Free Sleep (if you can call it sleep)

1 Night @ Hotel Neuva Samatarini: 38,000 pesos, £9.50 Clean hotel, Private bathroom, Our first warm water shower in Colombia.

 

Transport:

Santa Marta-Cartagena

Cartagena – Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca – Cartagena

Cartagena – Medellin:

Total transport: 

What have we done?

Chilled at the beach: Free

Cartagena Free Walking tour: 20,000 £5 donation

Nights out @ Havana, Bahai club:

 

Total cost of Experiences: 

What have we spent?

Still on a £50 per day budget  £350 per week.

Total Accommodation: 298,000 pesos, £74.50

Total Food: £73.50

Total spent: 

 

What we loved?
What we learned?

  • Never ever EVER go on an overnight bus straight from the beach in beach clothes, forgetting to take jumpers and throws out of your backpacks, especially when its an express 12 hours no stopping to get into the bunker.  its blasting out air-con!
  • That we can salsa… But need lots of practice! or maybe a lesson or 2!
  • One conversation with someone on a bench in the middle of a city can lead to an amazing friendship!
  • It can be very difficult to find a vegetarian restaurant in a new city!

How’s the Spanish going?

Chris is now able to have some jokes in Spanish! As we were drinking our coconuts on the street a man  was trying to tell her they were too small. So when Chris went to pay the woman she asked for 7000 pesos, we usually only pay around 2000 or 3000 pesos each. He laughed and pointed at the huge one and said “No Senorita, Muy Cairo, 7000 par uno grande”

We made a friend in Cartagena who had little English, and with our little Spanish we were able to have 2 full amazing nights out and lots of wonderful conversations. There were miss-communications but we always figured out what the meaning was eventually.

When Nic was trying to order a melon fruit juice the waiter brought over a Milo milkshake!

Carrrrrrrrnaval!! -Barranquilla

 

First day: Local experience

We got a taxi from the hotel with the group we had met up with last night. The taxi took us to the grandstand where the tickets were 80,000 cop, £20 each but we walked down 3 blocks and got tickets there for 10,000 cop, £2.50. This was a much better experience as we were in with the regular locals who were a lot of fun. As tourists we attracted a lot of attention especially as we were dressed as traditional Colombians. This attention usually consisted of “hey gringo” and spray in the face with an espuma (foam spray) then having a packet of cornflour tipped over your head. This was all in good spirits and part of the Carnaval fun so we bought an espuma  6000 pesos, £1.50 and started a few foam wars with the locals. We had a few kids sitting beside us and a four year old boy sprayed us non-stop for most of the day!!!  The locals were sharing their snacks with us and one family even gave us a whole container of arroz con yucca y queso (rice with yucca and cheese) which tasted really good. We consumed plenty of cervezas and finished off the rum from the previous night, it had gotten really warm after a few hours in the sun. We had an absolutely fantastic day as we had no idea what to expect and it was no stop fun all day.

 

Second day: Tourist experience
We got a taxi back to the grandstand area and got tickets here for 15,000cop £3.75 the mood in the crowd today was much more calm this may have been due to everyone being up late partying last night. We did get a much better view of the parade as we got front row seats. The parade also went on a lot longer today and we were there from 1 so we hoped to see the end but left at 6 as there was sill more parade than we could see all the way down the street.

 

The Parade
On both days the parade was so colorful and the music was energetic on both days getting the crowds tapping and on their feet boogieing.  The floats were decorated in flowers and came equipped with massive speakers blasting salsa and other various local music at full volume. The dancers were all dressed bright and beautifully in traditional outfits from all over Colombia. It was wonderful to see all generations participation from children to the elderly demonstration of their skills. Each region had a group of traditional dancers showing off their tribal roots. It was great to see although we didn’t fully understand what it all symbolized, we could still observe and appreciate the pride and passion that Colombians put into their celebrations. The performers were so happy to be there the had huge smiles from ear to ear. They would run up to the crowd for cheers and would pose for photos. They would even come over to get some water or a shot of rum from someone in the crowd.

 

Hotel San Macros
We got very lucky and had trouble with booking a hotel for carnival and ended up booking 3 hotels. We were going to have to change hotel on the Saturday and Sunday but luckily for us they squeezed us in at San Marcos both nights for the same price as we had paid for the other nights we were staying saving us around £100 from moving and a lot less hassle. The staff were so nice here especially the owner who organised a group of guests to go out for a party on the Friday night. He came with us as our guide also making sure we all got in the taxis and paid the correct price.
Nightlife

Friday: Plaza de la Paz & La Troja

We went to a stage in the la Plaza de la Paz where they played local live music. The crowds were big and everybody was in good spirits as Carnaval was kicking off. We stayed at this place till around 10 the we headed to a street party at La Troja 8 on carrera 8. The club was so busy it had people crowded inside spilling out onto the street which created a huge street party. The massive speakers blasted the music around the streets and the crowd danced all night long.   People were selling beers on the street from eskies and there was a bottle shop across street where Ron got a bottle of rum that was called Ron Medellin so it was quickly renamed Ron’s rum. Firstly we finished off the 250 ml then he went back for a 500 ml which made its way out to Carnaval the next day. The only thing about the street party was that el baños (the toilets) were inside the club and it took us over half an hour to squeeze in we even gave up and turned back then decided to go again. All along the way we were being scooshed with foam. Definitely a fantastic night with great people to begin carnival madness!

 

Saturday: Carrera 8 clubs
We headed back to La Trojas as  we had such a good night last night but it was much quieter tonight. So we walked down the street to check out some of the other clubs out. We were a bit of a smaller group tonight so it was easier to get in and move around in the chaos of Colombian parties and being ‘gringo’ attracted some local girls to dance with us we even got a number to meet them for carnival the next day but we were hungover and didn’t manage to meet the again. A lot of people like to party on the street so we bought some beers and joined on the road. We even managed to get free salsa lesson after being asked to dance and looking like we had two left feet haha. . We had another fun night but we were all pretty tired from a full day of carnaval.

image

Sunday: Calle 74 Carrera 45 @ La Troja
Tonight we headed to a recommended local after party in the street where the dancers from the parade were going to party but when we got there they had taped off the street I’m sure they would have let us in but we didn’t just want to turn up uninvited so we asked the taxi to take us to the clubs and he dropped us at la troja, but in another area from the previous nights. It had a no other clubs around so it ended up being another huge street party with loud music, foam and flour!!  We had another awsome night dancing and getting photos with locals as we had dressed up again for out last night there.

 

Locals

Each night locals were all so friendly and genuinely interested in where we are from when we say Escocia they usually ask about our skirt then tell us that Colombian ladies were a skirt but never the men. One guy even said highlander. One of the most popular drinks in Colombia is Old Parr whisky from Edinburgh we could hardly believe it especially as we had never heard of it before.

The Markets

The local street traders were just a short stroll from our hotel. Each street had a different thing to sell, one row full of fruit and veg, one with shoes, and cobblers, one with meat, one with clothes, lots with carnival accessories and outfits. Needless to say we got wonderfully lost wandering around the markets. From 7 am they get all set up then packed down around 7 pm. And then the night shift team comes to clean the streets and the full street is empty and very clean after all of the busy hustle and bustle of daytime trading. We met a lot of people worried about going around the markets but we enjoyed it and didn’t feel intimidated one bit. Everyone was friendly and even with the lack of communication we had a laugh with the market traders Shouting “hello Johnny” out of nowhere we heard a voice “do you speak English” a little boy said “good afternoon”

 

Food
We pretty much ate arrepas for breakfast and fresh fruit from the markets then grab a kebab stick at the carnaval plus our arroz con yucca y queso on the first day. We also ordered food from a local takeaway hoping for a salad but we got some lettuce on top of half a box of chips and processed chorizo with ketchup all over it not the healthiest of meals we couldn’t even finish it. The bakeries near by the hotel were a hit and a miss if you got there early when it is freshly cooked it was very tasty but sometimes it had been lying all day and wasn’t the best.

Was it worth it Wednesday?

We have decided to plan a weekly post on an update of our weekly budget, accommodation, experiences and lessons learned. During our first few weeks we have been pretty laid back about our blog and have so much still to write about, it’s hard for us to be focused on writing when there are so many fun distractions on the road. So we have officially gave ourselves one deadline. Every Wednesday we will give you the lowdown on our week. You can let us know if our week was worth it?

Where have we been?

Barranquilla & Taganga (Colombia)

What have we spent?

Our rough budget is £50 per day and we expected to go over this week due to Carnaval but we are slightly under which is great after a few crazy party days!

Accommodation: £101

Food: £60, Rough price of main meal is around £1.50- £3

Transport:

Bus (Barranquilla – Taganga) £4each,

Sharing taxi’s during carnival/ bus station: Roughly £15

Experiences:

Alcohol: around £40 (2 beers at carnival were £1)

Carnival outfits: £8

Nic’s Dress & Hair piece £4, Chris’s Poncho £4 ( hat & Rum were gifts from friends, muchas gracias amigos)

Carnaval tickets: £11

It was £20 for grandstand tickets outside the gate so we walked a few blocks to another gate and paid £2.50 for a local experience and the second day we got grandstand for £3. Happy savings!!

Total: £243

Daily spend roughly: £34.71 per day for both of us to eat, sleep, party at carnival and escape to the beach!

We now have £15.29 per day (£107.03) to add to any extra travel or experiences most likely towards scuba diving!
Where did we stay?

5 nights in San Marcos hotel (Barranquilla) £17 per night pretty cheap for carnival nights, met amazing people and hotel staff were awesome!

2 nights in a local house with room for rent £8 per night double room, clean and great wifi.

What we loved?

I think its obvious that our highlight this week is carnival!!

Post in progress to hear about the madness!

What did we learn?

We have learnt how extremely friendly Colombian people are. Along our travels in Colombia we have not felt intimidated. Every local person has been so nice helping us out and worried about us, reminding us to look after our things even with little English/Spanish or via hand gestures. Colombia is amazing it provides the perfect atmosphere to party with the locals being so welcoming and also one of the best places to chill in the world as the lifestyle is so laid back it really is a unique country and should be on everyone’s bucket list (we love Colombia so much we haven’t even scored it off ours)

 

 

 

 

One month in one post..

Countries Visited: 4

Argentina: 10 days, Uruguay 4 days, Brazil 4 days & Colombia 7days + Next month!

Transport

5 Flights:

Glasgow – Amsterdam (2hrs), Amsterdam – Buenos Aires (14hrs)

Rio De Janerio – Lima (5hrs), Lima – Bogota (3hrs 45mins), Bogota – Monteria (1hr 15mins)

1 Ferry:

Buenos Aires – Colonia (1hr)

3 Buses:

Colonia – Montevideo (3hrs)

Montevideo – Porto Alegre (14hrs)

Porto Alegre – Rio De Janerio (24hrs)

Total  travel time: 68hours

Read about our border crossings here!

Accommodation

Casa De Santiago & Casa De Pancho: We were very lucky to stay friend and his brother in their apartment in Buenos Aries and then in his mothers house in Dolores.

Blanes Hostel: 3nights @ £22 per night

VeiwPoint Hotel: 1night @ £24 per night

Pousada Favelinha: 3nights @ £17 per night

check out our post in Rio to see how it was living in a favela!

Casa De Vivi: We met up with our Colombian friend vivi and spend 2nights in her sisters beach front apartment at Covenas beach and then in her mothers lovely house in Sincelejo.

Its has amazing to catch up with friends and even better to see them in their home countries and have wonderful tour guides haha. We have been so privileged and of course it does help whilst traveling on a budget so we would like to say a massive thank you and one day we hope to return the favour in Escocia (Scotland) Muchas Gracias Amigos!!!

Next month we are on our own so look out for dodgy hostel post, possibly might even try couch surfing!

Highlights:

  • Arriving in South America & meeting our friends from TI again
  • Leaving the wonderful Scottish winter weather behind for a Colombian Summer.
  • Drinking Yerba Mate
  • World wonder 2 ticked off the list, Christ the Redeemer
  • Getting our blog up and running after 2 years of talking about it.
  • The vast differences in the environments we have encountered.

 

Lessons Learned: 

  • Sometimes whilst travelling no matter how much you try to plan ahead it ends up outwith your control. Due to limited availability and being unable to book tickets online we ended up with a 2 day journey and mere 3 nights, 4days in Rio instead of the 5 we had planned which wasn’t going to be enough in this amazing city. On the plus side another trip to Brazil will be on the cards one day!
  • Not having enough Spanish to have full conversations had been a drawback although we are slowly learning! It has definitely restricted many conversations with some wonderful locals we have met. “hello how are you” conversations are just not deep enough to gain the knowledge and insight that these people have to offer us. LEARN MORE SPANISH!