Imagine living three months on the Caribbean coast – tropical climate with almost 40 degrees every day, strong sun, almost no wind – Monteria. You are sweating even while you are showering… And then imagine coming to place with around 15 degrees, cloudy sky, cold wind and rainy weather – BOGOTA!
Yeah, I suffered from so called “climate shock”. Bogota also known as a “fridge” – “la nevera” in Spanish is characterised by its not that friendly weather conditions, very frequent rain, colder wind – something that cannot be found on the Caribbean coast. In addition to unfavourable weather, the altitude of Colombian capital is around 2 600m that unfortunately caused me headaches, feelings of fatigue and lack of energy for the first three days of my stay. Bogota as any other world capital is also characterised by its multiculturalism, overcrowded streets full of people with rush, more dangerous districts with higher risk of getting robbed and much more. However, in spite all of these facts mentioned above, I must admit that “rolo” people (“rolo” or “cachaco” is a nickname for person from Bogota) that I have met, where incredibly friendly, nice and willing to show me around. My friend Orlando gave me a ride on his bike to show me Bogota from different perspective, discovering all of the interesting districts of Bogota including amazing views over this city. Another friend of mine, Andres, invited me for hot chocolate which was served with cheese that was supposed to be dipped inside of hot chocolate and be eaten at the end. Honestly, although I didn´t like that idea, I tried it and came to the conclusion that this “ritual” of eating cheese with chocolate will not become my favourite.
Andres also went up with me to Monserrate (altitude around 3 100m) from where we got the opportunity to watch amazing sunset and to enjoy wonderful views over whole Bogota.
My last night in Bogota, I experienced the atmosphere of so called “septimaso” – the street “Septima” which was full of street dancers, bands, artists, sellers and much more… To the highlights of Bogota sightseeing belongs as well the Plaza Bolivar which contains beautiful cathedral, Plalace of Justice, square full of pigeons and charming atmosphere.
Although I couldn´t imagine living in this all year long cold and rainy city, I am glad I visited Colombian capital, met new friendly people, experienced “septimaso” and enjoyed views from Monserrate.
My next travel destination was Medellin, so called city of eternal spring. And honestly, Medellin has amazing all year long climate, around 25 degrees, sunny weather, fresh wind. I arrived to this beautiful city located in the valley of Aburra, surrounded by beautiful mountains during the biggest and most important social event of the year – “Feria de las Flores – Festival of the Flowers”. Upon my arrival to Medellin, my new couchsurfing host Diego was waiting for me with his bike and suggested a day trip to Guatape, small but charming, probably most beautiful village I have ever seen, with amazing views from “Piedra del Penol” over the mountains and incredible lakes.
After this amazing introduction of travelling in the region of Antioquia, I was sure I would have blast for the rest of my days in Medellin. The first days of my stay I was exploring Medellin by walking through the centre, visiting exhibitions of flowers on Plaza Mayor, enjoying views from Pueblito Paisa, visiting famous natural park Arvi, attending daily events and concerts of the festival, meeting new people from different countries…
Diego, my couchsurfing host, provided me with one of the best CS experience I have been through so far… Not only he came and picked me up at the bus terminal upon my arrival and went for the all day trip to Guatape with his bike, he attended all of the events and concerts of the festival with me as soon as he came from work. I felt at his home like at my home, he offered me to stay at his place as long as I wanted and made me feel very comfortable. Thanks to him I tried paragliding with brilliant views over Medellin and its mountains for the first time in my life.
The same day we attended street parade of classic automobiles and the evening concert of the Colombian popular pacific band Choc Quib Town.
During my stay in Medellin I got the change to go Santa Elena to experience the charming atmosphere of the festival by admiring and talking to so called “silleteros” – people who are preparing the flower “silletas” for the world famous parade of silleteros that takes place the last day of the festival! So called “flower silletas” can have a weight between 50 and 120 kg and are carried by each “silletero” on their back for hours and hours during the parade. Unbelievable, right?
Conclusion – although Bogota alias “fridge” and Medellin alias “city of eternal spring” are incomparable in certain way, both of them are charming and I consider myself to be lucky I had the chance to visit both of them and meet incredible people who I will never forget.