I'm big on rewarding myself for "being brave, or doing the right thing or just feeling like I need a reward." The latest one was a reward/milestone trip. Last February through June, I spent a great deal of time recovering from surgery, radiation and the ravages that those entities place on one's body. I was/am one of the lucky ones in that I did what I was told (mostly) and have had a good report from my doctors. No visible cancer. My surgeon confirmed that this week.
The reward: a trip in February to Colombia. Not Columbia, South Carolina, not Columbia University or Columbus, Ohio, but Colombia, the country in South America. Most often the questions from uninformed friends were, "why are you going to Columbia? Aren't you afraid you'll be kidnapped" and other such queries. For the last 4 or 5 years, we've wanted to travel there, but but chose other trips instead.
Enough of the excuses, we thought and off I went planning our trip with our Buenos Aires, AR, travel agent (that's another story). What better time to go than February a year after my surgery and recovery. We read a lot about Colombia but just coudln't get the essence of the country. Our travel agent, through a Colombian agency, put the trip into perspective for us and gave us a plan.
We knew we (I) didn't want to go the jungle, so that eliminated one area of the very large country. The plan was to visit Bogota, a city of 8 million, Medellin, 2 million and Cartagena, 1 million. Flying and not driving between cities was a must because of the mountains. (Eg, flying time: 1 hour; driving time: 19 hours). Besides that, driving is not recommended for tourists. Flying also increases the cost. Being frugal travelers, that fact gave us pause. We downgraded our hotels to fly and cut out other "niceties"...flying was the only way since I've been on long bus trips and they don't work for me.
Keep in mind, Bogota is about 4 hours from Atlanta and in the same time zone. Airfare: about $800. California is 4 to 5 hours with a 3 hour time change and it's about $350 if you get a deal. Why? Ask the airlines. I do know that I felt a lot better arriving in Bogota than I do in San Francisco or the west coast because of the time difference.
My plan is to talk about each city we visited and what we liked/didn't like about each. The next post will be about Bogota. Please join me!