Exploring a new continent

Colombia-Travelogue  |  Travel time: March - June 2010  |  by Dominik Weber

After working for too long without a real break, I decided to go on a long planned backpack trip. After changing the departure date and the destination several times, I decided to go to South America. Starting in Colombia, then Peru and finishing in Bolivia. At least, this was the plan but once on tour, you never know what to expect.
This report is for all people asking how I am doing, but also for those who are thinking about doing something similar. I hope I can inspire them.

19 March Travel to Bogota

That night I didn't really know whether I should sleep or not. I was packed but just in two hours I had to go to the train station in Karlsruhe. Ok, I took a little nap and woke up just before 4am, just before my alarm was schedule to ring. I got to Karlsruhe on time and my mum was a little bit sad seeing me leaving. The Train left on time and I got my flight from Stuttgart to Paris without any problems. In Paris at the lounge, I had my last European breakfast with yummy guava juice. How silly was that - as I realized a few hours later. In Columbia you can get all kind of fruits, so far I only noted quince that doesn't exist here. My Airbus 340 was waiting for my just outside the window.
The flight was eventless. Although 11 hours long, it didn't feel like it. Lunch (with champagne to the apetizer, white wine to the chichen, red wine for the chesse and Cognac afterwards), three movies and some sleep before we arrived in Bogota. I was only impressed by the route we were flying: from almost South England in a bow one across the Atlantic towards Cuba. During the flight, for the first time, I was thinking what I might expect in South America.
We had left Paris almost on time, but arrived in Bogota with a few minutes delay. I got my immigration stamp into my passport, picked up my luggage (it had arrived with me!), had to drop it off for an additional x-ray to make sure that nobody brings any weapons into this country (not, that they don't have any yet...). From there, I could already see Natalia who was waiting for me.
I haven't seen Natalia for over a year, just before she left London, so with all honesty, I didn't really know how that might be to see her in her home town. But already after one day, I realized that my concern was unnecessary: She was a great host and very careing (I can honestly write about my concern - she told me she was in the same position ).
On our way to her home, we stopped at a shopping mall - I got a first impression of the city. First of all, the city made me breathless. Every 10 minutes or so I had to breach very hard - no wonder, the city is in an altitude of 2500m and I was simply not used to it yet. Hope it will be better after a few days. I was surprised how modern the city is - I expected something else. Big shopping malls, construction everywhere, but you can read in every tourist guide that there are large slums around the city. Perhaps I will see them another day.
Natalia is living with her mum in a nice flat in a safe and good neighborhood. I got a warm welcome there, moved into the guest room and we went out for a beer (BBC - Bogota Brewing Company). Something that I will drink more often during the next days, but more about that to follow.

© Dominik Weber, 2010
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The trip
 
Details:
Start of journey: Mar 19, 2010
Duration: 13 weeks
End of journey: Jun 15, 2010
Travelled countries: Colombia
Peru
Bolivia
The Author
 
Dominik Weber is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 10 years.
Picture of author