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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...
............

Log entries 11 - 20 of 1938 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10



Oct 29, 2017 12:00 AM Lovely streets of Cartagena

Lovely streets of Cartagena It was so hot during the night in my 20-dollars room! I was happy to take the shower in the morning and walk to the old city. At 8 am the city was only awaking. It was great pleasure to stroll around almost empty streets, enjoying the rows of old houses with wooden balconies decorated with flowers... Unfortunately the churches: San Pedro and cathedral were closed. A long segments of the city walls are also open for walking, so you can enjoy there morning breeze and take the pictures... Definitely Cartagena was worth a second visit, especially in such a calm atmosphere...
I returned to my hostal for a shower, and then it was a time to go to the airport. The last expensive solution is to take a dirty public minibus from the stop opposite the monument of India Catalina. On the bus is not written "airport" but the name of the company VehiTrans. I paid my last 2000 pesos to the driver and ask people to tell me where to get of after some 20 minutes drive. After disembarking the bus you have to turn right into the little street which is heading to the terminal - some 400 m.
Uff! The interior has a/c in thd airport. I was flying to Fort Lauderdale on JetBlue - an American low-cost carrier from the upper shelf... Nice 2,5h flight, they serve a soft drink and chips!
It is evening now and I am waiting in FLL airport for the another low-cost flight to Europe (on Norwegian). It is raining in Florida. Very sad wether here! It is hard to imagine, that in the morning I suffered from such a strong sun!



Oct 28, 2017 12:00 AM Cartagena de Indias... Colombia

Cartagena de Indias... Colombia Today I took a long distance bus to travel from Santa Marta to Baranquilla and onward to Cartagena (cost: 12000 + 12000 pesos). It took me 5.5 hours by the second class roads (they still charge money from the drivers in the gates - like on the highway!) Baranquilla located in the mouth of the huge Magdalena River is not very welcoming. I saw quiet big sea port from the bridge. In Cartagena bus station is located on the outskirts of the city, so I was forced to use MetroBus (little bus with no a/c - 2000 pesos), to get to the old part of the city - listed on UNESCO list. I found my Casa Salome hotel where cheap but dump room was waiting for me and I crossed the bridge to the old city to check if something changed within 4 years. Yes, I have been here 4 years ago. No changes, except the high crane over Castillo San Felipe (they do some renovation there). On the old city walls I met pretty local lady selling flowers - see picture! Old Cartagena is still charming and very authentic.... Tomorrow I will still have few hours to walk around!



Oct 27, 2017 12:00 AM Taganga, not Taganka

Taganga, not Taganka Taganka is a quarter in Moscow, Russia known for the oustanding theatre and famous prison. But today I was travelling to Taganga, close to Santa Marta in Colombia.
Minibuses to Taganga are going along carrera 5 in Santa Marta every 10 minutes. You flag it, jump on and pay 1600 pesos to the driver. Nobody issues the tickets. Once out of the city the poor road is climbing the mountain giving you panoramic view of SM - stay at the right window! Then on the other side of the mountain you wiil see beautiful bay with a fishing village. It pays to shout "parada!" here so the minibus stops and you disembark for the great pictures. Then you can walk down to the village saving your energy. Taganga village is not clean. Streets are dusty, they do not have pavement, tired dogs are wondering around. But Taganga has many cheap hostels and a row of waterfront restaurants offering fresh fried fish. On the beach, which is definitely not white you will see twenty or more fishing boats. The skipers offer boat tours, but you must wait for the group. Very picturesque place!



Oct 26, 2017 12:00 AM I returned alive... :)

I returned alive... :) ....after 8- hours sweaty trek - probably the hardest in Tayrona National Park.
Tayrona lies where Sierra Nevada Mts are touching Caribbean Sea. Great scenery, nice beaches in the coves and big boulders like on La Digue or Virgin Gorda...
First you take minibus for 8000 pesos from Mercado Grande in Santa Marta to the main park gate in Zaino.
Park service awaits you - they are well organized in charging money, but that's all. No discounts for foreigners, for Colombians only... You pay for entry 44000 pesos - like 15 USD. Then 4 kms to the coast by road (extra 3000 for microbus - if you want) and you will reach Canaveral long beach. You have to come back to the jungle to continue to Arecifes (nice view point on the boulders but then the path goes back to the palm forest. One more beach and after 3 hours I reached the most picturesque place: Cabo San Juan.
It was just pleasant, flat walk in the heat. Now you have to return. Most of the people go the same way. Alternatively you can pay 50000 for the little boat to Santa Marta area. The most difficult is climb to Pueblito and go down to the side park gate in Calabaz.
That' s what I did. In the guidebooks the description is "walk through the tropical forest" And here is reality: first 1,5 hours I was climbing on the boulders to the pass. Category: difficult. Then, on the other side of the pass you will find tiny native village Pueblito. Water and tea available. Then you go up and down on the muddy, bad, poorly marked trail. On the fork below Pueblito no sign and I took right patha. This mistake cost me another hour of up an downs. Luckily I met a couple of other tourists - also lost and we went back to the left path. Shame on you, Tayrona National Park!
Finally we reached Calabaz on the main road in the dark at 6 pm... This was a real challenge!



Oct 25, 2017 12:00 AM Rum in papaya - that's it!

Rum in papaya - that's it! Do you remember my invention from the Philippines? The big, ripe papaya costs here in the market less than a dollar. The bottle of local rum costs like 5 dollars. So why not to enjoy? Just adjust the amount of the rum you put into papaya according to your individual taste... :)
Enjoy!



Oct 24, 2017 12:00 AM Basic room in Santa Marta

Basic room in Santa Marta I stay in a basic room in Jackie's Hostal. The room is really basic: it has bed, little fan and an empty floor. No single nail in the wall to hang your shirt.... But I slept well - naked under the blowing fan. It is very hot and humid here!.
After included breakfast (eggs, toasts, juice an coffee) I took a long walk around the old city enjoying narrow streets, palms and flowers. The basilica of Santa Marta stands here in the main square and is worth to see.
They have here also free and very interesting museum explaining the history of the city. There is also well-guarded hall inside with the golden and silver artefacts found in the ruins of the ancient towns in the region. Recommended!
In the middle of the day street eateries are busy - I order arroz con pollo served warm in banana leaves and I liked it. Such a dish costs less then dollar!
On the Malecon - the waterfront promenade you will see the row of palms and the monument of the Spanish founder of the city - it is nice place to stroll in the evening. SantaMarta is great place, but very hot!



Oct 23, 2017 12:00 AM By bus to Santa Marta

By bus to Santa Marta Bells from nearby Giron's Cathedral woke me up already at 5.30 am. I took a cold shower and went to the panaderia (bakery) around the corner to buy my daily bread. Everything is close in this old, atmospheric town founded in 17th century by Spaniards. It is pleasure to stroll cobbled streets, to see everyday life of provincial Colombia.
Over the red roofs of one-floor houses I see the mountains with some clouds covering the summits.
It will be long day - I plan to go by bus to Santa Marta. They say it is 10- hours drive...
(later) There were only 12 passengers on our bus. The ride cost me 81 000 pesos. Again I was enjoying the views of the green mountains and later - almost flat pastures with herds of cows.
We reached Santa Marta at 8 pm - it was already dark. The taxi from bus terminal to centro historico costs 7000 pesos - it is official price, no bargain...



Oct 22, 2017 12:00 AM Medellin to Bucaramanga by bus

Medellin to Bucaramanga by bus The North Bus Terminal in Medellin is a huge institution. I managed to change money there at the Western Union office. Then I found the office of the bus company offering a bus service to Bucaramanga. Ticket for 8- hours travel cost me 60000 pesos...
There are low cost airlines in Colombia, so why do I travel by bus? -To see more!
At the beginning the road was climbing the mountains almost to the level of the clouds. Then in innumerable serpentines we were descending to the level of the pastures and rolling hills. We crossed on iron bridge big Magdalena River. After 5 hours of driving green new green mountains appeared and between them - the dam and big artificial lake. Great views!
I decided not to stay in the big city of Bucaramanga, but leave the bus 7 kms earlier - in the colonial town ofGiron.
And here I am - in the stylish old mansion Nieves with a view of the white cathedral. Street guitarist is playing boleros under my wooden balcony. What else you need to be happy?



Oct 21, 2017 12:00 AM San Andres to Medellin

San Andres to Medellin Catamaran arrived on time and after 3,5 hour on the choppy sea I am back on San Andres trying to organize an excursion around the island. The lop road has 30 kms, so it is not walking distance. Later in the day I will fly to Medellin in continental Colombia.
(later) An old man called Lincoln gave me the little tour of the island in his junk car. Then I boarded LAN flight to Medellin. This city has spectacular location in the deep valley. Going from the distant (40 kms - 9500 pesos) by collectivo minibus it is worth to be at the right window for the views!
I found my Caribe hotel near North bus terminal and took the metro train (2300 pesos) to the center. Medellin is a huge City of many contrasts. You will be impressed by the sea of barrios covering the slopes of the mountains on the both sides. In the certer grey brick churches are closely surrounded by grey buildings from different periods. It if hard to say that it is nice city... Heavy rain in the late afternoon pushed me to go back.



Oct 20, 2017 12:00 AM East Coast & Catalina

East Coast & Catalina It was raining again in the night but hot sun was already shining when I started a wal along the east coast of Providencia. This part of the 17-km loop road is more flat and gives more sea views. Three Brothers little islands where frigates nest are also visible. In the settlements I saw old and new churches - among them run-down oldest Baptist church on the island. Now I also know that the only beach on the east coast is in Manchineel Bay - close to the southern end... It is very nice -with palms and white sand, but became very narrow during the high tide. So go there, if you like cozy places.... After few days islanders know me already "I saw you on the road" "You were filming on the rock!" It is so nice - I like their smiles... They usually speak 3 languages: English after their ancestors, Spanish and Criollo Ingles - a kind of broken English...
In the afternoon I went to the little sister island of Providencia - Santa Catalina to see remains of the little fort build there by Captain Morgan. Three old cannons are there and at the bottom there is a little, shady beach. It is worth to walk tiny path west (some 20 min) to reach the interesting rock formation called Morgans Head - it really looks like giant head!

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