The Travelling Foodie
This post was originally posted on my old blog on December the 8th, 2017. 
This is an updated version. 

It is funny how travel helps us see beyond our biases but also we worry about our biases as we travel.

Bias is a disproportionate weight in favour of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair.

By this definition, all humans are biased.

So when I was travelling to Colombia, along with my suitcase, I also took a bag full of biases. Watching the last season of Narcos in the airport didn’t particularly help.

I was worried that Colombia was not a safe destination, neither did my parents or any of my friends. Every research I did online kept fuelling my worries. The horror stories no matter how infrequent or minor, showed up first on my search engine.

Two Decades ago, Colombia badly suffered from all sorts of things. It is now known as the Colombian Conflict.

Despite the conflict being years ago, it’s all people seem to know or remember about Colombia. It doesn’t matter when the bad news happens, people seem to always freeze in time, in those bad moments.

As with every other trip, I thoroughly researched everything about Colombia, from what I should see to what I should eat. I was already worried about the events that took place decades ago. With my research, I’m worried about Taxis.

I learned hailing a taxi from the street could end up badly in Colombia. It is not that common, but it is common enough to have a name. The Millionaire Ride.

As a result, I was so nervous when I arrived that I waited in one of the airport’s restaurants from 5AM until about 7AM to find the courage to get a taxi to my hotel.

So what happened after I finally stepped outside the airport and took a taxi? I HAD AN AMAZING TIME IN COLOMBIA.

My trip to Colombia was one of my best trips ever. The people were so friendly and helpful, and the country was simply beautiful. I can’t highlight enough how much I loved my time there. I have fond memories of Colombia, I can’t wait to go back.

Colombia was my introduction to South America. I could’ve not picked a better intro.

In no order of preference, here’s why I fell in Love with Colombia.

COFFEE

I’m a coffee snob. There, I said it. I love a good cup of coffee or two, maybe three…

Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world, I believe it’s the third biggest . Producing coffee and roasting it are two different things. Luckily for me, Colombia knows how to roast coffee.

Colombia was my coffee heaven.

I even Visited a coffee farm, an experience I will never forget.

Luna LLena is also home for some interesting animals and plants!

If you are visiting Colombia and would like to go on a coffee farm tour, pretty much all travel agencies offer those tours. I went with Toucan Cafe in Medellin and we visited Luna farm in Fredonia where the lovely family who owns the farm spoilt us to some yummy organic food and coffee and showed us the full process of making coffee from picking the cherries to roasting them.

It was such a fun day!


I have my own coffee tree in Fredonia


After picking some coffee cherries to earn our lunch, we planted baby coffee trees. I wonder how’s my tree doing?


GRAFFITI

They say South America is home to the best Graffiti in the world. They are probably right.

In Colombia, you don’t have to look for urban art, it’s everywhere.

Graffiti in Bogota

Comuna 13


Another awesome experience I had when in Medellin was the Graffiti walking tour in Comuna 13.

Comuna 13 used to be the most notorious dangerous neighbourhood in Colombia. In recent years, it has seen amazing transformations through art. I was able to stroll its streets, enjoy the art with my camera hanging in my neck without worrying about my safety. This was proof how far this area has come along.

BREATHTAKING NATURE

I feel truly blessed to be able to travel , to walk for miles and to hike. I do love my vitamin green and I got plenty of it in Colombia. Whether you are in the city or completely in the countryside, the scenery is simply breathtaking.

During my time in Colombia, I visited Bogota, Medellin and the area surrounding Medellin.

The beautiful Monserrate mountain dominates Bogota’s city centre which adds to the charm of the city. While Medellin is in a valley surrounded by mountains.

The real treat was Guatape with its Piedra del Peñol and man-made Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir

Piedra del Peñol is a rock looking like something thrown from the space , standing tall in the middle of the countryside.

There are about 700 steps on the rock to climb. From the top one can see the postcard-like view of the reservoir and mountains.

When we arrived in front of the rock, my friend chose to wait for me there instead of joining me. Despite being scared of heights, I thought I could at least try. I climbed 400 steps and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Also the view was totally worth it.

FRIENDLY PEOPLE

After all the horror stories I read online, all I saw in Colombia was kindness. People were so friendly and welcoming.

I’m always amazed at our ability as humans to communicate even when we don’t speak the same language.

A taxi driver had a good laugh when I was trying hard to speak Spanish and said “Englaterrrrra”.

My memories from Colombia always bring a smile to my face. Last year I planned a bigger trip to South America including Colombia but then a pandemic happened.

When it is safe to visit Colombia again, I will definitely go back to explore other parts of the country, to drink more coffee, to eat more delicious food and to dance more salsa. Of course I salsa-danced when in Colombia.

Over the past 8 years or so, I travel during Christmas time through the new year, usually to faraway destinations.

December 2017, I went to Sri Lanka. It was my first time in the country and my first time in Southeast Asia. I did the more or less classic itinerary, starting from Colombo to Sigiriya, then down to Kandy, Hill Country, Yala national park and ending my trip in beautiful Galle.

In Sigiriya, I hiked the Sigiriya rock, I saw temples in Kandy, elephants in Yala and enjoyed the sea at Galle.

One thing was consistent throughout the trip: Tuk-tuks. They were everyone. According to this article published on the UN environment website in 2019, There are around one million tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka loved (maybe?) and used by locals and visitors alike.

Here’s a little confession: I’ve never been in a tuk-tuk, not in Sri Lanka, not anywhere else. I was travelling Sri Lanka by car. But this didn’t stop me from noticing the tuk-tuks.

I was on foot outside my guesthouse the first time I noticed the funny slogan on the back of the tuk-tuk. I took a photo to share on Instagram. Then I saw another and another…Before I knew it, I was playing a game of spot the tuk-tuks. That’s how I ended up with this selection of photos I’m sharing with you.

The adidas tuk-tuk
The pirate tuk-tuk
A tuk-tuk outside of a green grocers shop in Kandy

The Ferrari tuk-tuks

Like all of my travel photos, these bring good memories back and make me smile. Now that I’m older and with some more trips under my belt, I would’ve done things differently in Sri Lanka. I would’ve ride tuk-tuks and embraced more of the country’s chaos.

Writing about travel while under lockdown is making me beyond grateful. I'm grateful I explored the world when it was possible. I'm glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone and let my curiosity lead the way. Life is unpredictable. Who would've predicted that we would spend months at home unable to leave our own houses. Stay safe everyone! Here's to a better times when we can travel and ride tuk-tuks again.