No, It Doesn’t Rhyme With 'Pagoda'

Trip Start Mar 28, 2010
Trip End May 31, 2011

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Where I stayed
La Pinta

Flag of Colombia  ,
Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Don't get kidnapped in your last week" was the note Lyndsey received when her friend heard we were headed to Bogotá for our final destination. Formerly one of the most murderous cities in the world and notorious for kidnappings and violence, Bogotá today – like the rest of Colombia - is relatively safe for travellers thanks to the massive reforms brought down by the government. That fact made spending our last 48hrs of World Domination in the city a whole lot easier.

The 10 hour bus from Manizales was hardly relaxing as the narrow, winding mountain pass roads combined with erratic driving had us convinced we would end up tipping over a cliff. Luckily that didn’t happen and we were soon at our hostel for the night in the city’s bustling new north end. We didn’t have a whole lot planned for our time in Bogotá so we took a slow start on our final day. Eventually after taking care of some final travel chores we took to the rainy streets (apparently it rains most of the year in Bogotá) to explore the old section of the city. Every Sunday the city government blocks off some 120km of roadway to encourage cyclists, runners and walkers to enjoy their weekend so we joined the locals and created our own walking tour. We eventually made it to Plaza de Bolivar, the city’s main square, but not without first experiencing the usual artisan and flea markets, colourful graffiti, lively street performances, and the occasional crazy. Bogotá certainly offers some great people watching opportunities, always peppered with flavourful music like the region’s pride and joy - salsa.

For our final official night on the road we thought we’d treat ourselves with dinner and a few drinks in the über touristy and trendy Zona Rosa. A short cab ride had us sitting on the pleasant patio of an Irish Pub - we know, how very Colombian of us. Unfortunately, when our waitress came for our order we were reminded that no alcohol would be served with our meal as “Hoy es Domingo”. A sad  fact we’d failed to take into account, both in Ecuador and Colombia the sale of alcohol on Sundays is forbidden. It could have been a massive disappointment but if we haven’t learned to adapt on this trip then we haven’t learned anything – we ordered our pub food to go and took it back to our hostel where the sale of beer was most certainly possible. Not quite the night we’d had in mind but in the end I doubt we’d have had it any other way.

So now, 423 days after setting out on our adventure, we finally make our way back to The Great White North. From Bogota we fly to Caracas, Venezuela before continuing on to Toronto (for Shane) and Calgary (for Lyndsey). We are most certainly of mixed feelings on the subject and would probably be lying if we didn’t admit we were harbouring a little concern about reintegrating into society. Colombia, thankfully, has put the sweetness back in our mouths with respect to South America and has allowed us to go home on a bit of a high note. It’s funny to look back at where we started and how far we’ve come – we doubt either of us really knew what we were getting into when we left home over a year ago. But it has been the ride of a lifetime and we wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

Stay tuned for one last posting in a day or so – we have a little more we’d like to say.
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