Well, getting from Bogota to Medellin was interesting. I’m now battle tested and ready for the Amazing Race. Maybe 2017.
First, our last day in the city. Our first stop was an early run to the market. We walked through a neighborhood we shouldn’t have to get there – so far the sketchiest bit of the trip. Two stops on the way, McDonald’s where they do real espresso, and a street stand for more pane.
The market itself was exactly what I expected, but cleaner and surprisingly no flies – unlike almost any market I’ve seen. We tried the traditional breakfast, intestine soup. Not my coup of tea, but good broth. The fruit dish below may be the best fruit salad I’ve ever had.
We met up with Marta’s son Pedro, who took us outside the city to visit the original Andres (even more insane than the one we went to Friday). This is in the middle of nowhere and at peak, it turns into a club that can fit 5,000 people. Apparently it is the place for young, hip Bogota 20 somethings to be on a Saturday night. People hire “Angels” who drive them in their own cars so they can drink in the back on the drive there, and then not worry about getting home after. Uber, but with your own car.
Here are some more delicious empanadas and sauces. They are all about the sauces here.
After Andres, we went to the salt mines. There are two tourist attractions like this in the world, Poland and Colombia. After being to both, Poland has the edge, but the cathedral was impressive. Here are a few pics.
A mellow Sunday night, and we headed to the airport early Monday.
Part of the adventure of traveling is things not always going as planned. When I travel at home or abroad from the US on a US carrier, I know how to fix things. I call my priority status phone number and rebook. Easy. When in a foreign country where you are mediocre at best at the language, and have no ability to speak on the phone, It is not as easy (which makes it more fun).
We got to the Bogota airport about two hours before our 12:40 pm flight to Medellin on Viva Colombia (local discount carrier). In line, we realized there was a $10 per person fee if we didn’t have printed reservations. Steven spied a Internet cafe and $2 later we had boarding passes. We couldn’t check in yet, so we got in the orderly line. We waited about an hour before someone came up to tell us something in Spanish. I thought she was saying overbooked and offering to bump to another flight to which I said I don’t speak Spanish well. The English speaking attendant let us know that our flight was actually canceled and they were rebooking everyone on the 6 or 10 pm. We only had 30 hours in Medellin before heading to Cartagena, so losing a day would have really cut down our time there.
After some quick internet searching by Steven as we waited in line to rebook we decided to see if we could cancel and take our chances on two earlier flights that appeared to be under $100.
So we ran (or walked as fast as I could – Steven helped with the bum hip by carrying my bag as he ran) for the first airline that had a flight, which turned out to be 10 minutes before our original flight was due to leave (giving us about 15 minutes to buy a ticket and get checked in before the cutoff for that flight). After a stop at the wrong airline’s ticket office, we found Latam. No line and tickets were only $15 or so more than our cancelled flight once you take into account bag fees. We left with no documentation, but assurances we had a reservation. We were skeptical that is was all going to work, but after we were able to check bags, we had some hope we’d save the day.
No line at security and everything seemed golden. Until I decided to be a good samaritan and turn in the travel wallet with UK passport I found in the bathroom stall. Apparently the wrong move. Security made me stay and wait. He took photos of my passport and ticket and said I wouldn’t miss my flight, but that I had to stay. He kept looking at the money in the wallet with the clear inference he was holding me until I filled out paperwork or the owner claimed it and confirmed nothing was taken. Luckily she came by within 5 minutes and we were on our way.
We even managed to book accommodations for Cartagena (our next stop after Medellin) while in line for the flight – a shared room hostel. I’ve traveled a lot, but sharing a room and bathroom with strangers will be a first. Steven assures me since it is simply a reservation I can walk away and check into the nearest seaside resort once we get there and check it out.
As for the actual flight, it was quick (40 minutes), turbulent, and involved screaming. It is pretty clear people don’t fly much here. But that is for another post on air travel. Which brings me to a new goal. By the end of this trip, I will try 10 different airlines, including flight lessons or charters. I’m up to four by this Friday (American, Latam, Avianca, and Viva Colombia).
Next stop – 30 hours in Medellin.