eco santa

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Before I go off to Europe, I thought I’d share the adventures I had on my first, ~real~ trip out of the states (this is excluding cruises which barely count as leaving the US lol).

My amazing Aunt Cathie took me to Colombia, South America as my high school graduation gift (still in awe about how generous of a gift this was), and it was my first time really experiencing a country where I didn’t speak much of the language. I mean, I took four years of Spanish before leaving on this trip but, let’s face it, I still sucked at it. I think I just had continual stage fright during my time there that I just froze up when contemplating what conjugations to use and Cathie had to speak for me pretty much the whole time. Haha yeah. It was pretty sad.

But even though there was a language barrier, it was an experience I wish I could re-live again. It was a HUGE culture shock for me and it was extremely eye opening. I’m pretty sure we were there for about 10 days, so it was a relatively long trip for my time out of the states. I was pretty homesick by the end, especially during the 8 hour bus ride from the coffee growing region that gave me the worst motion sickness I have ever experienced.

During our time in Bogota, we stayed with G and her family (I decided to keep her name out of this post just in case), a friend of Cathie’s from her time in the Peace Corps. They took me around Bogota, including to Monseratte, the mountain in the middle of Bogota. The cathedral at the top is shown below, and it was beautiful up there. There were locals selling all sorts of souvenirs and food, my favorite being grilled corn *heart eyes*

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We went on a little trip to Armenia and stayed in a hotel (Eco-Hotel Santa Barbara) with a group touring the coffee region of Colombia. They even grew coffee on the grounds and holy moly was it good. The food was amazing as well and there was a nice little pool with a bar and the atmosphere was just great. With this group we went to Al Parque Nacional del Cafe and the natural hot springs in Santa Rosa de Cabal and visited little towns along the way. Below you can also see me with G’s daughter and an adorable little boy we became friends with while we were traveling.

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The two places that probably stood out to me the most were the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá and the Gold Museum. I can’t even put into words how amazing these places were…the Salt Cathedral is an underground cathedral entirely carved out of a salt mine, stations of the cross included.

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And the Gold Museum is impossible to describe. The intricate detail in all of the jewelry, sculptures, and art was INCREDIBLE. I think only pictures can show what I mean…I hope some of you get the amazing opportunity to visit someday.

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I miss you Colombia. You taught me how to travel and learn about a country where I didn’t speak the language very well, which (without me knowing it) prepared me for my study abroad experience next semester. Like I always say, everything happens for a reason.

I’m so excited to see what my newest adventures will be, but Colombia will hold a special place in my heart as the first place to show me a little bit of the world outside my bubble.