Part 1 – Shared via email on January 29, 2021
I thought I would let you enjoy a bit of sightseeing from the comforts of your armchair (or wherever you’re reading this from).
As you can tell from the flag, this is a photo from a restaurant in Colombia (with an “o” not a “u”). It’s one of the countries I lived in for a while, but I never set any of my fiction stories there. Based on the time stamp on my photos, I was there in 2016.
I mostly stayed in Medellín, a city famous for its year-long spring weather and infamous for its drug lord history. It’s tucked in a deep valley, which unfortunately creates a bit of a “pollution pocket” so clear skies without smog were quite rare during the months I spent in the city.
Food is one of the things I typically enjoy when I travel and Colombia had some great dishes like this amazing soup:
It’s called Ajiaco, and here’s a recipe if you feel like experimenting:
(I haven’t made that particular recipe, so I don’t know how authentic it tastes.) But it’s thick and hearty, with potatoes, a piece of corn on the cob, avocados, chicken, capers, and sour cream. Delicious!!
That tiny round thing on the rim of the bowl is a small arepa. Colombia always has arepas with everything. It’s their “bread equivalent” and I don’t personally care for arepas. It’s just a corn-based carb filler. (Please don’t hate me if you personally love arepas. I find them extremely plain. There are “sandwiches” made with those as well. Learn more about this Colombian food staple here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arepa)
If you like your food spicy, then Colombian food will NOT hit the spot. (Go to Mexico for that.) Here’s a photo of a feast I had with a Colombian friend I made while there:
There’s beans, some hearty soup, super thick bacon with the skin, two types of sausages, fried egg, fries, and a very dull and pale side salad. I do love my avocados, so we enjoyed those as well to try and balance out our nutrients a bit. That was a LOT of meat and protein!
But I don’t just eat food when I live in other countries. I do walk around a bit. Here’s a photo of very nice wall art I saw in a popular park.
Part 2 – Shared via email on February 19, 2021
I spent most of my time in Colombia in the city of Medellín, but I took some time off work and went on a day tour to explore a bit of the countryside around the city. Here’s a photo of a REALLY big rock (a monolith, really) in Guatapé. It’s called El Peñón de Guatapé and you can read more about it here. This image isn’t photoshopped at all.
Let me tell you that it was QUITE the workout to get all the way up to the top. I had to pause a few times to catch my breath. According to wikipedia, there are 740 steps to the top. I certainly didn’t count them. I do remember seeing a Virgin Mary altar at some point along the way. I didn’t take a photo of it. (There were so many of them everywhere in South America. More on that in future travel memories.)
But the view along the way and at the top was mesmerizing and well worth the climb.
That’s what it looked like all around the top. There are also shops with food/trinkets for sale.
From my understanding, the country chose to purposely flood this area when they built a nearby hydroelectric dam, which created really cool looking “shorelines” around all of the “islands” that you see there.
Also, as you can kind of tell by the photo above, that monolith is the only tall stone in sight.
The same tour took me and a handful of other tourists to nearby villages. Here are some photos of colorful houses we saw.
Note the border design on the front walls around the doors. The pattern was unique to each house and had something to do with the family living there.
Here’s a beautiful church in a plaza.
And one of the many gorgeous sculptures I saw while in the country. I believe this one was taken in Medellín, but I forgot to include it last month.
Don’t ask me why, but I like to take photos of beer brands when I go to new countries.
Here’s the selection from one particular bar.
Notice the prices that look extremely expensive, but that’s because the Colombian peso isn’t worth much. One US dollar is worth about 3,500 Colombian pesos at the time of writing this update.
But I don’t just drink beer. I also drink gin from time to time (and particularly way back then), so I took a photo of this sign from a pub that claimed that their gin tonics had super powers (to live in the moment and make you forget, of course!).
I’ll share travel memories from a different country next time. Stay tuned to find out which country I pick!