2016 Colombia Trip Photo Journal
Teacher Andrea Saenz and Strommen Student Adrian Hopkins Share Memories of the Trip
Andrea: I had not visited my homeland, Colombia, in quite some time and this past June 2016 I led Strommen’s very first Immersion Excursion to Colombia. We landed in the city where I was born, the vibrant Bogotá!
I arrived a few days earlier to get everything organized and ready for our multi-city voyage through Colombia. We spent the first few days in Bogotá venturing through the city’s most alluring hotspots, museums and restaurants. Bogotá is a city of 8 million people so to be able to take it all in from it’s highest peak of all, Monserrate, at magic hour was beyond magnificent. I was amazed at how much the city had grown with it’s intricacies and vibrancy that was palpable all around. Los Rolos (people from Bogotá) although a bit serious are wonderfully welcoming and eager to share the rich and evolving Colombian culture.
Adrian: In the Colombian capital city of Bogota, it was a joy visiting destinations like Botero Museum, panoramic view of the city from Monserrate at sunset, and wandering through Antigua Bogota throughout the day. The local cuisine was a delight. It was a pleasure having a traditional Colombian breakfast with rice tamales, pastries, and hot chocolate at La Puerta Falsa.
Our first outing outside the mainland of Bogotá was to The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, which is absolutely gorgeous and beautifully lit. It’s a fully-functioning mine where mass is also held as the stations of the cross outline this expansive haven in the most beautiful way. A private convention center that fits thousands of people is also somehow neatly tucked away, but it’s closed off to the public. Walking through the Cathedral one feels an intense feeling of peace and well being. I kept thinking about movies and spectacles that could be shot here as it is a unique combination of raw history mixed with a modern asthetic. It’s an experience that one ought not to miss.
El Eje Cafetero
Andrea: The eje cafetero was awaiting us and off we went on an incredibly scenic road trip through the lushest mountains I have ever seen. The perfectly balanced 70 degree weather was one of the highlights for me as it creates an exquisite landscape and environment. Los paisas (People originating from this region as they are referred to in Colombia) are incredibly hospitable people so every aspect of our stay and ventures through this region was simply lovely. The towns are colorful, extremely well-kept and attract an array of culture and language from all over the world. It was not easy to leave this tranquil and flourishing coffee sanctuary.
Adrian: In the Colombian countryside, I marveled at the scenic Cocora Valley, searched for handmade souvenirs in the village of Salento, savored some espresso at the local coffee shops, and had the chance to relax in some of the local hot springs.
Andrea: We then whisked off to the ever romantic caribbean city of Cartagena. This city has a sensual melange of atlantic ocean breeze melding with a by-gone era. The colonial walled city feels as though one has entered a time machine; every crevice is perfectly intact as it was left by the spaniards of 1533. The mixture of language and culture from every corner of the world makes this city deliciously appealing and exotic; not to mention all the excursions to the surrounding islands which provides a contrasting vibe and ambiance. I left with a deep sadness in my soul to have to leave my vivacious Colombia.
Adrian: Last but not least, was our stay in Cartagena, a truly romantic getaway where it most memorable to stroll through the historic city at night, take pictures, enjoy fresh grilled seafood at La Cevicheria, and have a few drinks at the city’s many cafes. Truly, Colombia offered countless magical moments and endless diversity within my ten day trip. My only regret is that I could not have stay a few more days. Thank you again to Andrea Saenz, our tour guide Fernando, and Strommen for making my unforgettable trip possible!
Andrea: I can’t wait to lead the next adventure!
Stay tuned for details on the next Excursion-Immersion to Colombia!