Friday, February 15, 2019

Roll On, Colombia


A visit to the northern tip of South America, for a wedding and some exploring.  Uber Pool ride, three flights, and a three hour van ride, to reach wedding location - Santa Marta.  Made for a long day.

Take off of flight 2: Charlotte to Miami

First stop: Santa Marta

Santa Marta: Day 1

Located on the coast, Santa Marta is the second oldest city in South America.

Many of the wedding participants stayed downtown.

Looking north, from hotel, to the Caribbean Sea.

The downtown is a pleasant place to walk.

Murals are everywhere

A stop for lunch

Guests around the pool

In the evening we went to a magnificent house, overlooking the water, for the wedding party dinner.

Wedding party dinner participants arrive to a setting sun
There was music during the dinner, from a performing family!

Family sang in Spanish, English and Italian
Musica maravillosa

Sun says goodbye for the day
The dinner, and all of the merriment, were wonderful.

Mother of bride, flanked by usual suspects

From left: relative of bride, bride, father of bride

Father of bride, flanked by usual suspects

We were back to our rooms at a civilized hour, conserving social energy for tomorrow's wedding.

Santa Marta: Day 2

Today we walked to the Museo del Oro Tairona.  The ground floor has artifacts made of metal and stone.


Cayman Man performing dance in annual parade.
Looking out from second floor of the museum.

Pleasant murals greeted us, as well as plazas, including the one around the cathedral.

Pleasant colors

Cathedral Basilica of Santa Marta

Fruit cart

Hotels along waterfront

The Wedding

Guests were requested to turn off their phones during the ceremony.  So I have no photos of the actual wedding, but took some shortly thereafter, and at the marathon known as the reception.

The wedding took place on the Santa Marta Marina:

Wedding site

View from the wedding

Violin music before ceremony

Sunset at the marina

The Reception

Entering the reception


Bride and father

Active dance floor

Lead singer in band

Beaming mom and stepdad

Second band

Bride and groom dancing

Bride dancing

Wearing masks and dancing
Monday's newspaper

Monday's Santa Marta newspaper had several photos from the wedding.  Thanks for the bride's father for catching this.

Bride and groom

Bride and groom, flanked by parents and step-parents

Santa Marta: Day 3

The temperature hit 90 today, so being outside was a bit of a shock, after experiencing the low teens several days ago.

Brunch by the Water

The smart people were in the water

Quinta de San Pedro de Alejandrino

The death place of Simon Bolivar, liberator of several Spanish colonies.  There were several paintings and sculptures of Bolivar.  There were also several art galleries with interesting works.

Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar
Simon Bolivar

Ser eterno es haber sido, Adriana Mendéz de Bustillo, Oil on Canvas

Toro de Luz, Alex Sanchez (Aleph) El Salvador, 1959; Acrylic/cloth 1994
Respira Rafael, Respira, Pablo Buelvas, Photograph, 2016

[Failed to get the details]

On the grounds there were plants and creatures.

Day of the Iguana (apologies to Tennessee Williams)
We hoped that this creature, and his three friends, were not hungry.


In the evening several of us walked into the heart of Santa Marta for some street food.


In Transit to Villa de Leyva: Day 4

A long day of travel, broken up by a visit to the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira.

After the visit to the Cathedral, we stopped for lunch.  Some of my fellow travelers asked why there was a thick layer of pond scum on my beverage.  How indelicate!

Pond Scum on the rocks

Fried plantain; avocado on steroids with mushrooms, corn and sauce; fries.

Villa de Leyva: Day 5

In the morning our group of 17 tourists from the US visited three sites just outside of town: Convento Ecce Homo and Museo el Fósil.

Then it was time for lunch.

In the afternoon we walked around town.

Entrance to Convento Ecce Homo

Interior Courtyard of Convento Ecce Homo


Carved stone, used in fertility rites

More pond scum

Plaza Mayor

Iglesia del Carmen, near town square

After the day of tourism was over, several of us retired to a colorful wine bar.

Bogota: Day 6

A 180 km bus ride took us to the capital city of Bogota.  It is very modern, often feeling like Europe or the west coast of the US.  With modernity comes traffic, which it does not lack.  There are many buses, some on their own separated lanes.

Huawei has found a place where it obviously gets some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Meals on wheels, and electric scooter, in bike lane.
[No caption needed]

Oceans free from fracking

After getting settled, we rode a bus to the base of the funicular that would take us up to the summit, overlooking the city, of Monserrat.

Base of funicular

We were warned to be on the alert for questionable characters.

Looking down at the heart of the city.
Flower on tree
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Church interior
A darker shade of Jesus

Bogota: Day 7

Today we walked around the old part of Bogota.  We saw murals, interesting buildings, two museums: the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum and Bolivar Square,



I don't make this stuff up

Gold Museum

Botero Museum

Fernando Botero (born 1932 in Medellin) is a Columbian artist.


Bolivar Square


Cathedral of Columbia

Palacio de Justica


Triple articulated bus, on guideway

Columbia produces between 70 and 90 percent of the world's emeralds [wikipedia]

Taking a lot of liberties!

Medellin: Day 8

We traveled to Medellin (which I thought was pronounced meddy yeen, but is in fact pronounced meddy zheen), had lunch and set out to explore.

Plaza Botero 

Palacio De La Cultura

Unidentified building

Area 13

Houses on steep hillside

Cable Car Ride

The Medellin Metrocable is part of the city's transport system.  It is mainly used by commuters, though lots of tourist known about it.  It is just over 2 km in length.  We caught it during evening rush hour, staying on, at the turnaround, to return to our starting point.

Buses at cable car station

View from the platform

The sun set, during the ride, and the city's lights came on

El Peñol & Guatapé: Day 9

The two villages, very near each other, have the Piedra el Peñol located between them.  We also took a boat ride on the El Peñol Reservoir.

El Peñol

The exterior form of the church is intended to mimick the nearby rock.

La Piedra del Peñol

The rock is a popular pilgrimage.  The determined can climb its 712 steps.

Staircase to heaven (or ...)
Half way up.  Time to pray for those knees.

Group's fearless organizer, blogger

The view from on top


A colorful village.

Duncan wannabe

Embalse del Peñol

A short boat ride on the reservoir.
Glass boat house

A Pablo Escobar house
A Pablo Escobar house
A Pablo Escobar house
Rock we have known and loved

Lawless pirates on the high seas

Santa Elena: Day 10

A flower growing operation on the edge of Medellin.

Our host, loading the flower carrier
Final floral design

Don't try this at home

Never "volunteer"

Pollinated flowers of this tree change color



That's all, folks.