Meeting the Family: the cottage, Medellin, and speaking lots of Spanish to lots of Gomezes; travelling through the coffee region and getting to know Bogota: and then saying goodbye to Colombia and to Leon … the whole thing went much quicker than I wanted.
24.12.2012 - 10.01.2013
Leon’s family was lovely, M, D and little brother met us at the airport in Medellin on Christmas eve, and we drove back to the Cottage, stopping on the way for a quick pre-dinner snack and a visit to the local town; on arrival at the cottage I was immediately bombarded by more people, but somehow managed to pass the first test and have a conversation with a group of about ten family members about languages.
Christmas eve was an experience, we ate BBQ (a family tradition), and stayed up til late drinking, then at midnight we started opening presents. All the presents were from nino dios (or baby jesus) rather than from Santa, and ever time someone got a present everyone threw wrapping paper at them and shouted “que se lo abro, que se lo abro” (open it, open it) and once it was open “que se lo ponga, que se lo ponga” (put it on, put it on!!) seemingly no matter what it was it had to be put on!!
Christmas day in Colombia is a little like our boxing day, sleeping late, getting over the hangover, spending more time with family. In the afternoon, after a hearty Colombian breakfast, a chat with M&D, and a pretty hefty lunch we headed out to visit Guatape, a pretty little town, with a famous rock (a pretty big, rock with very nice views).
Between Christmas and New Year, we spent the time in Medellin; visiting the Christmas lights; taking a day trip to national park Arvi; heading over to Pueblito Paisa (a mock up Paisa village); leaving town with the family to visit the town of Santa Fe de Antioquia and to see a famous Colombian suspension bridge, which in it’s day was the longest in the world; going out with friends; visiting the various shopping malls (a favourit Colombian pass time) and going to the cinema.
New Year was a repeat of Christmas, a family affair at the cottage, however there was even more family there than for Christmas! We drank, danced, ate grapes, walked round the house with suitcases, we threw lentils (well I had lentils thrown at me anyway), we drank champagne and set off fireworks, and we burnt the old year (represented by a stuffed man), in order to welcome in the new one… leaving the family was hard work, especially for Leon, but after 10 days together it was time to get on the road again…
We headed to Selento in the Zona Cafetier; a very pretty little town in the middle of a festival that the locals seemed to love but to me and Leon seemed like a lot of loud noise and not much else, but it didn’t spoil our three days there, we visited restaurants, drank coffee, visited many souvenir shops, took a lovely walk to a local coffee farm and visited the Cocacora National Park.
Our last stop was Bogota where we spent the first day with a friend of Leon and his son visiting Guatavita the famous lake where the Spanish thought to find the gold of El Dorado. It was a very beautiful place with an interesting tribal history; the story goes that the indigenous people used to throw Gold into the lake as part of religious ceremonies. The Spanish drained the lake on two different occasions, and various treasure hunters and divers have scoured the site, and whilst a reasonable amount of gold has been found, not enough to cover the cost of the searching.
The second day in Bogota, and the last day of our trip together we visited the Gold museum, we walked around the Calanderia (the old town), we ate Ajiaco (a famous Colobian soup), we muched cake (because we like cake), and we drank coffee (because Colombia is famous for Coffee, and Bogota is reputed to have some of the worst Coffee in Colombia and I just hat to see this for myself) and finally we finished with Asian food for the last super (no comment, but we do like asian food).
The parting in the airport this morning was horrid, I didn’t want to come back to El Salvador, I wanted to go back to London with Leon. Five weeks has gone too fast, but it is only six weeks until I am home and I am not going to wish it away, I am going to make the most of the next month and a half and finish off my Spanish learning experience on a high!!