Tag Archives: countryside

Edinburgh: Inspiration from Afar

I’m quite excited to write about Scotland!!  Primarily because well, since I was a kid, the one place I really wanted to travel to of all the places was Scotland!!  And though I had obviously traveled to other countries first, it was always in my mind to finally make it to Scotland, and now I was:)

I can’t really take all the credit however, because in all honesty it was an encounter I had with two people in late March/early April of this year (2014) while I was working in Key West that really inspired me to get my rear in gear and travel there!  Kevin and Evelyne… From the moment they came to my bar (which by the way I was coincidentally not even supposed to be working that night) it was like meeting kindred spirits!!  They were supposed to be in town for several days but as life takes turns sometimes, they were only able to stay in Key West for one night, and that one night they happened to wander into my place of work and sit at my bar.

The conversations that ensued and the inspiration I took from them after hearing of their adventures around the world and simply just meeting them, well needless to say they inspired me finally do what I’ve always wanted: go to Scotland!  To this day I feel indebted to them for giving me that little kick in the rear and for being the most incredible hosts anyone could ever dream for.  I miss our conversations and hanging out with them quite a bit and can’t wait for the next time we get to come together!!

Ok, enough nostalgia for now… I left London after only two nights and took the train straight to Edinburgh.  It was quite a long trip, but really it wasn’t bad at all…  Watching the scenery change from the busy bustling city to more rural areas to absolutely stunning countryside’s really made the time passing unnoticeable to me.

I ended up arriving in Edinburgh on one of the coldest and wettest days they had had a while!  But the again, Scotland isn’t really known for it’s warm and sunny weather, so really it was a proper introduction to the Country!  Funnily enough (and luckily) however, the rest of my time there really was filled with several warmish and clear sky days!  Very unlike Scotland apparently, but I really wasn’t complaining one bit!!

I was met at the train station by K&E and whisked away to K’s place and shown to my room, fit for a queen!  For the next 2 weeks or so, I stayed in Edinburgh with the company of K&E and honestly could have simply stayed forever (were it not for Scotland winters being so cold!!) and just gotten a job and rented out a flat!!  I loved Edinburgh (my Glasgow friends will hate me for saying so, lol!!) and for sure plan to get back there not only for my friends being there, but for the city itself!

There is obviously quite a lot to say about my time there, so once again I’ve divided it all up into subjects so as not to overwhelm in one post!  Happy reading!!

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Bogota

After yet another long and exhausting day on a bus (you’d think by now I would have just caved in and sought alternate transportation between cities!!  Then again I would have missed really seeing the countryside…) I arrived in Bogota.  If I thought Medellin was large, well it was quite small compared to Bogota!!  I had to take a 20 minute cab ride to an area of town that was somewhat central and more well known for having hostels in the area.

No, I once again didn’t book any hostel in advance, but rather was dropped off and walked around until I found something.  At least this time there was still light in the day left!  Anyway, I wandered up and down several streets in what was kinda the chic area of town it seemed, and settled on one hostel (Hostel Platypus if memory serves…) for the night.

“Funny” story here, my roommate for the night was an older woman, probably in her 40’s to 50’s who was from England, yet had apparently been living in Ecuador for the past 11 years… She was at the time just traveling around (I believe Venezuela was her next stop) but what I found particularly funny… Or rather quite disturbing really, is that she didn’t speak a lick of Spanish!!!  Not two words!!  AND she would even say “Hola” pronouncing the H!!!!!  She was also in a strange way oddly proud that she didn’t speak the language even though she lived in a Latin American Country!!!  I found this honestly quite disgusting, really.  In my opinion if you are going to live in another country that isn’t your original country, the least you can do is show some sort of respect to the new country by learning their language and something about their culture!  This applies to visitors too in my book, though I know it’s not so easy to try and pick up a language during a 2 week vacation…

Needless to say, knowing she was going to be staying in that same hostel for several nights, I checked out the next day and found somewhere new to sleep as I couldn’t tolerate such blatant ignorance and disrespect to another culture!!

I found a lovely hostel just a few blocks away called Hostal Casu.  Located above a restaurant on the corner of Carrera 3 and Calle 15A, Hostal Casu became my home for the next week.  I had a private room with a shared bathroom and negotiated a good price for each night since I was going to be staying for the week.  Again, the reason I had come to Bogota was to see my brother who happened to also be there around the same time.  Traveling down to see him however, with the changes in the weather and the bank account slowly draining, I made the decision to go back to the States so I could get a solid job, refill the coffers and head out again to travel.  So staying in Bogota a week really served 2 purposes.  First it gave me a week to see my brother and second I was flying out of Bogota back to Houston, and my flight was simply in a week.

The area of town that I was in I really liked.  It was nestled at the foothills of basically a national park, at the top of which was a lovely church.  The area had a young hip, artsy vibe to it that I really liked as well.  I felt safe there and have no complaints of the area… Except the weather!!  I know I keep saying this, and I know I’m a total wimp, but to me it was soooo cold day after day there!!!  Bogota is 8,660 feet(2,640 meters) above sea level so you would think I would have realized it would be cold, but again, since I rarely researched anything about where I was going and just preferred to figure things out once I got there, this aspect of Bogota was a shock to me.  And once again it was uninspiring!!  Though I did get out daily to walk for several hours to get in my exercise and to eat, that was about the extent of my drive to do anything!

Even going to see my brother turned out to be a total bust as he was apparently tied up with work things day after day of my being there, and we were only able to get together for an afternoon the night before he left the country himself.  We were to meet at the very opposite of Bogota from where I was, basically due North from where I was so as usual I opted to walk there, and after about 40 minutes and 70 or so blocks later with my little map in tow I found him at the eatery that we planned to meet at and we spent the evening wandering the area with one of his coworkers in tow.  We ate a lovely meal at one of the local restaurants and then parted ways.  I opted on the way back to take a cab as I was a wee bit too intoxicated by this point to try and walk my way back!  Plus, it was starting to get dark and it just wouldn’t have been a sound choice to try and walk back.

So all in all, my time in Bogota wasn’t terribly eventful, but it was quite relaxing and a nice place to try and transition going back to the States.  Before making the decision to go back to the States, I did wrestle with the idea of going back to the Caribbean coast of Columbia, like the Cartagena area, but the thought of traveling there by bus just jangled my bones in thinking of it!  And the flight would have been a bit out of my price range.  So I opted to stick with my plans of going back to the States.

Part of me is bummed that I didn’t go to Cartagena and even to Armenia since after all I was in the country already!  And honestly had I known that I would have only had an afternoon to get to see my brother, I would have gone to Cartagena first, then perhaps made my way to the Bogota area instead of rushing to Bogota to try and see him, but as they say everything happens for a reason and as it should.  And as I’ve already mentioned before, I plan on going back to Columbia to explore more of the country and less of the cities!  Though the actual physical riding in the bus from place to place was quite hard on the body (due to road conditions) the sights were unbeatable and absolutely beautiful!!  I loved the nature of the countryside’s and can’t wait to be able to see more!

 

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