Colombia Part 1: experiecing the Colombian way in El Peñol

 colombia, south america, el penol, medellin, backpacking in america, latin country culture, colombian way 
So, this time i’m travelling to Colombia. Being back in South America is perfect, not only it brings back good memories but also that nice feeling of familiarity, I’ve been here before, I speak the language and I can understand everyone. 

I landed in Bogotá, the capital city, but I didn’t plan to stay there for long. 12 hours were enough to walk around, visit the Museo Del Oro, meet some friends, go out for dinner in the area of Usaquen and get a feeling of the city. 

  
Bogota is huge, it has huge traffic and a lot of hills. I was expecting a city like Lima or La Paz but it’s actually more civilized – more like a city. No one tried to rip me off at the airport, I said 40.000 pesos for the taxi ride and the driver says 30.000 is more than enough. I was definitely not expecting that. I’m always alert to the rip offs, I love that bargaining game with the locals and I hate losing, especially when I’m travelling on a budget. So, first impression, I think Colombia will treat me very well!

Bogota is a big city, you see good cars and well dressed people, a lot of modern buildings, skyscrapers and working traffic lights. But there are a few indicators telling you you’re in South America. The humidity first of all. And then the vans overcrowded with people, with several destinations writen on the front glass and a man in the front with his head outside shouting the destination for the ones who can’t read. And then, on every street corner or plaza you have a woman with her small portable shop selling chewing gums, ciggarrets and phone calls from one of her several last-century mobiles for 2 pesos – the phones are tight to her with a chain – in case someone wants to still one of those antiques!!!

  
Anyway, after Bogota we got an internal flight for 20$ (!) to Medellin. We haven’t been in the city yet because we came directly to a friend’s country house – here known as Finca – in El Peñol. This is a huge dam where people build nice weekend houses spread around the margins of the lake. Each house has its own deck and boat and people spend all day sun bathing and playing water sports. 

   
 Colombians are incredibly nice and welcoming. Our friends and their families welcomed the 5 of us in their house the best possible way. They kept us entertained for two days with good typical vallenatos music, boat trips and water skiing. They introduced us to a new world of delicious colombian cuisine, including all sorts of arepas, typical barbecue and the famous Sancocho dish – a mix of meet and ‘pollo’, potato, banana, avocado, yuca and rice inside a bowl with a nicely seasoned soup. Amazing!

 Our lovely host Marce and her parents kept us happy with wine, beer and local ‘guaro’ – also known as aguardiente, extremely strong but with the power of keeping eveyone happy the entire day.

We all had such a good time in El Peñol, I fell in love with the colombian way! And now, even though they set the bar too high, it was settled that now it’s our turn to welcome everyone in Portugal 😄

 Next stop: Medellin!

 

view of medellin