Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
34Trip End Ongoing
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So Cartigena saw the arrival of Betsy, and the departure of Paul (hard to say which i was happier about ;).. A beautiful city, with massive old stone fortifications surrounding the old town - built after a fairly successful raid by Sir (? - he was nothing but a pirate!) Francis Drake. After 3 months in Central America, Cartagena was a shock.. hi-rise buildings, tourist stores (and prices), and modern facilities! Another shock was the absence of english speakers! -I think in 1 month of Sth America, my spanish has improved double what it did in 3 months in Central!
So a week of luxury was successfully endured.. (We decided we could treat ourselves after 7 mths apart) and a beautiful hotel was followed by 2 nights on an amazing secluded carribean island diving
Dispués, we headed north to Parque Nacional de Tyrona.. A beautiful isolated park where we trekked in 2 hrs to be met by some of the most beautiful beaches i've seen. Isolated beaches with huge boulders, and accomodation in hammocks. I'll let the photos do the talking...
Much as we could have stayed on there for weeks, we discovered that we had a pressing need to get to Ecuador: Betsy couldn't speak a word of spanish, and as a result, i was acting fulltime translator/interprator. Whilst my spanish was improving in leaps and bounds, this situation wasn't entirely satisfactory, so Quito became our intended destination.
Of course in a country with rampant guerilla activity, it'd be a shame not to spend a couple of days exploring the backcountry..
First stop San Gil, where my fist experience of white-water rafting was perhaps enhanced by the saftey instructions being delivered in spanish, with very little comprehension by the two antipodeans.. Then onwards to Barrichara, a tiny wee colonial town, and Villa Leyva, a marginally bigger colonial town. This trip was memorable for James deciding (after lengthy negotiations with the busdriver) that this bus would get us to the terminal fine, and us ending up at some other town's bus station just fine.. As well as Cindy, a hot young columbian minx slipping me her phone number whilst i was sitting on the bus with arms around B. I guess she was only human..
We finally made bogota, only to discover that it would be 6 times cheaper to take the 26-hr bus trip to Quito than to fly, and so no sooner were we there, than we were off on one of those famously memorable trips. A shame, as Bogota seemed a really cool city, and we would have loved to spend more time there.. However, despite a couple of interruptions from various armed chaps, the leg to the border actually passed surprisingly well and we escaped Columbia intact! (Now how many of you were expecting that?!)