Tuesday, January 9, 2018

COLOMBIA

La Candelaria de Bogotá

La Calera, a suburb of Bogotá

Museo Botero, Bogotá

Museo del Oro, Bogotá

Catedral de Sal, Zipaquirá

Catedral de Sal, Zipaquirá

Catedral de Sal, Zipaquirá

Andres Carne de Res, Chía

With the owner of Andres Carne de Res in Chía, Andres Jaramillo

Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquén, Bogotá

Usaquén, Bogotá

Plaza Botero, Medellín

Public transit in Medellín

Comuna 18, Medellín

Comuna 18, Medellín

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

Guatapé

El Peñon

View from El Peñon

El MAMM, Medellín

Casa Cochera del Gobernador, Cartagena

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias

Getsemaní, Cartagena de Indias

Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias

!Viva Colombia!

Just about a week has passed since I returned from a journey through Colombia and I'm ready to go back.  I experienced a little bit of everything on the trip - city, nature, culture, art.  Quite a few questions about my trip came through via Instagram, so I thought I'd share my itinerary as well as a few tips.  I had to narrow down my list to make it manageable because there is so much to do and see!
  
   Have you been to Colombia?  I would love to hear about your experience!

I spent three days in each city: BogotáMedellín, and Cartagena.  More time would have been wonderful (as always!) but it did seem manageable to cover the highlights in 9 days (+ travel).

Bogotá

I started my trip in Bogotá, which is at a high altitude.  I was warned to take it easy the first day or so, due to altitude sickness, but I didn't have a problem.  My favorite part of Bogotá was spending time at the amazing museums.  Below are some highlights!
  • La Candelaria - It's fun to walk around in this historic neighborhood, and many of the museums are located within or nearby.
  • Museo del Oro - wonderful museum with exhibitions of Pre-Colombian gold.
  • Museo Botero - fabulous collection of Fernando Botero works (donated by the artist) in a colonial mansion.
  • Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquén - handicraft market in the cute Usaquén neighborhood that takes place on Sundays.
  • La Calera - a suburb high in the mountains with a beautiful view of Bogotá.  Stop for lunch al fresco at El Tambor!
  • Catedral de Sal - An underground cathedral carved into a salt mine, this is about an hour's drive from Bogotá, in Zipaquirá.  It is definitely worth visiting if you have the time.
  • Andres Carne de Res - This was my favorite meal of the trip!  The restaurant is actually in Chía, about an hour outside the city, but it is well worth the drive.  Their steak is unlike anything I've ever eaten. 
We stayed at the Four Seasons Casa Medina, which was a lovely experience.  it is in Zona G, a new, hip part of town that is a good base for visiting other parts of the city.

Medellín

The second city on the journey, Medellín, was my favorite.  It's amazing to see and experience the social projects that have transformed the city.  A few must-do's are below.

  • Comuna 18 - This neighborhood has traditionally been one of the most dangerous in Medellín, but it has been completely revamped in recent years through social projects including public transit and street art.  We visited with a private tour guide, but you can also go with a group.  It might be tricky to navigate if you try to go on your own, as the streets are narrow and windy.
  • El Alumbrado - If you go during the holiday season in December through January, you have to visit the holiday lights that transform the city in the parks and along some of the streets.
  • Plaza Botero - Don't miss this public park with 23 Botero sculptures.
  • Guatapé - We visited this town as a day trip from Medellín, but it could have easily been its own trip altogether!  It is in a beautiful agricultural region a few hours outside the city.
  • El Peñon - A giant rock near Guatapé that offers stunning views from the top!
  • MAMM - The Modern Art Museum in Medellín, MAMM has interesting contemporary exhibitions as well as a lovely collection of work by Colombian and other South American artists.

We stayed at Hotel Park 10, which was fine, but not at the top of my list.  Another good option would be Charlee Hotel if they have rooms available (it was sold out for our dates).  Both are in El Poblano, a hip, accessible neighborhood in Medellín.  

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena is an absolutely beautiful city; it felt to me like a combination between New Orleans, Miami, and Lisbon, with its own cultural flair!  There is truly something for everyone.

  • Old City - There is much to see in the historic area, from wandering through the picturesque squares, to the live music and dancing under the stars at night.  I recommend getting lost on the cobblestone streets for at least a day!
  • Casa Chiqui - This is the only shop I listed as one of my to-do items, because it is as much a shop as it is a cultural experience!  It's fill to the brim with handicrafts from Colombia and further abroad.  I wanted to buy everything.
  • Getsemaní - This neighborhood is filled to the brim with street art, including one of the most iconic artworks in Cartagena, that is based on a local legend.
  • Playa Blanca - Easily accessible via speedboats are a number of picturesque islands boasting white-sand beaches.  We visited Playa Blanca, which is just one of the many idyllic stops accessible from the city.

I highly recommend staying in the San Diego neighborhood in the historic part of town.  We stayed at Casa Cochera del Gobernador, which was a lovely and convenient option.  

I hope this overview was helpful for you if you're planning a trip to Colombia! Feel free to leave any questions or observations in the comments or reach out to me directly at artfullyawear@gmail.com.

Monday, January 1, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Happy New Year from me to you!

2017 was filled with ups and downs, but what I'll choose to remember are the highs: continuing my creative exploration, challenging myself to learn new things, and meeting new and inspirational people along the way.

Thank you for joining me for the journey!
Sending you and yours warm wishes for the year ahead, filled with color, light, and inspiration.