Thursday, 20 August 2015

My Year in Colombia in 100 Photos

I have discovered it's really helpful for me (and quite fun too) to go through my photos in any particular year and choose a sort of 'best of' - the photos that, for me, capture the moments, places and people that made that experience what it was. My time in Colombia has been truly unforgettable, so I wanted to commemorate it with this collection - obviously, not absolutely everything is on there, but I've tried to show the essence of life on the Colombo-Caribbean coast, and also the great variety of cultures and climates that this great country has to offer. As the motto of Colombia Tourism goes, 'el riesgo es que te quieras quedar' - the risk is that you'll want to stay.

1. Arrival at Bogotá - grey skies welcome me to the Colombian capital.

2. At the top of Monserrate - a mere 3,152m above sea level.
3. Barranquilla! The city that was to become my home.
4. Uni Atlántico, where I would be teaching English for the next 10 months.
5. My first cultural experiences - watching a Brazil - Colombia football match with friends.
6. The Colombian Caribbean coast has some great music to offer - a jazz festival...
7. ...and the great Carlos Vives, in concert!
8. Bringing some British flavour to the music scene - teaching Scottish dancing at Uni
9. Representing my country at an international fair.
10. Trips! A visit to Santa Marta with the Uni international crew.
11. We're on a boat! Round the coast to a beauutiful beach...
12. ...where we learnt the Catalan art of castells (human towers)...
13. ...drank some Colombian beer...
14. ...and did some salsa dancing!
15. The adventures continue: Tayrona National Park
16. My first night sleeping in a hammock!
17. The beauty of the Caribbean.
18. A trip to the local mud volcano - lovely!
19. Being rainy season, there was definitely enough water to wash it off.
20. Back in 'Quilla - party time at the Trojapartamento.
21. How many people can we fit into one taxi?
22. Back on the road! Cartagena, the walled city.
23. Still can't get enough of that coast.
24. Colombiana!
25. My first taste of raspao on the beach.
26. Another week, another city: Medellín, the city of eternal spring.
27. A stunning cityscape.
28. ...and the streets aren't bad, either.
29. This city is one of the most advanced in Colombia, with some much-needed feminism!
30. The view from the Piedra de Guatapé
31. A man with a horse - not an uncommon sight in the more traditional areas of the country.
32. Relaxing - something Colombians do extremely well.

33. Minca! Up in the Sierra Nevada by Santa Marta, the views were stunning.
34. Not all water is warm in the Caribbean.
35. Mi querida Barranquilla! The Saint Nicholas church in the town centre.
36. Scenes in the market.
37. Fancy a ride?
38. ...although you're definitely not allowed along here.
39. Poverty is still a huge issue in Colombia, as it is in many developing countries.
40. Thankfully, we could do our bit to help - here we are at a project, building houses.
41. The buses are quite an experience!
42. Casual bus rapping
43. Some good old bus decor.
44. A sign put up by the swimming pool - no inappropriate behaviour, please!
45. Fiesta! Out for a beer and a dance at the local salsa bar, La Troja.
46. Celebrating the day of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th of December.
47. Christmastime! A strange one without the family, but this lot made up for it.
48. Christmas Day on the beach (of course...).
49. My Christmas pineapple.
50. New Year at Los Angeles beach - my favourite place in Colombia.
51. Off on an epic 4-week voyage. First stop, Cali!
52. Children playing by the Iglesia San Antonio
53. A handicraft fair we stumbled on by mistake.
54. San Agustín, pre-Colombine statues.
55. Not a bad spot for a nap.
56. The mountain roads were a little scary...
57. ...but we made it to Ecuador!
58. I even managed to meet up with my Uni friend, Mel, in Quito.
59. ...where we visited the centre of the world! Latitude: 0.
60. ...then I was back in Colombia, chilling in Bucaramanga.
61. Twenty three! My birthday crew.
62. And... Carnival has arrived! Bring on the foam!
63. Joining in the fun with the locals.
64. My new cumbia-dancing friend!
65. The mystical Marimonda, a crazy carnival figure.
66. Adding some new dance moves to my repertoire!
67. The parade - costumes at the ready.
68. Carnival at Uni Atlántico - the International Team.
69. Mourning the loss of Joselito, who died from too much partying!
70. Skip forward to Easter, where we trekked to the Lost City - rope bridges and all.
71. Cooling down after a long day's walking.
72. There are still a lot of indigenous groups who live in more remote areas of the country.
73. We made it! The Lost City, found at last.
74. Images of the Caribbean: Gabriel García Márquez
"No place in life is as sad as an empty bed."
75. Another local image: a woman selling cocadas (coconut-based sweets).
76. I already miss the fresh juice so much!
77. Some of the fruit was mega weird, though!
78. Coffee to go. The usual is a short, black coffee with plenty of sugar.
79. There are also lots of street sellers, showing their wares.
80. These bags - mochilas - are woven in the traditional way by the local tribes.
81. This lady is in the middle of making one.
82. Enjoying my friends' talents at a poetry night - there's a great arts scene in Barranquilla, if you know where to look.
83. There's also a lot of political protest! This one was at uni, in the Science faculty.
84. This one reads "Catcall = Aggression" That says it all, really.
85. Exploring the area - an afternoon in Puerto Colombia.
86. 'Bocas de Ceniza' - where the Magdalena River meets the sea.
87. Some last trips - Isla Barú, by Cartagena, and some wonderful fish to be seen.
88. Soaking up that Caribbean sun.
89. A weekend in Palomino.
90. Finally, back to Barranquilla - the view from my home.
91. Some words from the coast!
92. Some of my students - a leaving meal.
93. They said they had a card for me!
94. I made some great friends here, including those in my dance class.
95. Luz, the caretaker on my floor.
96. Rafael, the bookseller outside the university.
97. Roberto, a fellow booklover!
98. The Magdalena River and Marlon - I spent a lot of time with these two during my time in 'Quilla.
99. Jonathan, my CouchSurfing buddy.
100. Yellow Fever - watching football in Colombia is an experience I'll never forget!
101. The sneaky extra... back home from my time in Colombia, sharing my experiences with my family.

Photo credits: Natalie Arnold, Paula Samassa, Xevi Torres, Hangyu Lee, Julia Krabel, Kelly Taveras, Arina Motamedi, Vera Kristen

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