As a teenager I saw the box office hit ”Romancing the stone”, which was filmed in Cartagena, Colombia in the 80s and that was where I wanted to travel as well. Then there were the drug wars and the guerilla wars and the tourism faded. Now it is a popular tourism destination again, but also now I missed Cartagena! Hopefully I will be able to write an article of its own later.
I had the opportunity to visit the capital of Colombia, Bogota, which is situated among hills in the country’s inland. Because the refugee crisis of neighboring country Venezuela was a fact (in February 2019) I expected to see a lot of poor people on the streets. There was however no refugee wave to be seen and even in the big cities of Europe you see more of them. Perhaps they were chased away by the guards in the military facilities that dominate the historical center around Bolivar Square in Bogota.
Colombia is a land full of opportunities now that the wars have ended, and when you go there you are amazed by how modern and functioning everything is. Has all that infrastructure been built after the war, or was the country’s economy boosting already during the war? Maybe they have just succeeded in making use of their huge natural resources or then the versatility in the country topography helps with all its jungles, steppes, Pacific Ocean coast and Caribbean coast? Maybe Colombia’s achievements in building its peace could be of help when the crises of the neighboring country Venezuela are being sorted out?
The street food of Colombia is dominated by Venezuelan arepas (corn bread filled with chicken or boiled egg), Mexican tamales (pies) or tucumones (small bread with meat or vegetables). The street food stalls also sell juice pressed from fresh tropical fruits, and deep fried yucca (or cassava), which are served also as crisps. Lots of foodstuff is deep-fried in these parts of the world, or at least fried. For example buñuelos are deep-fried dough balls, and fritangas is a whole deep-fried meal consisting of meats, potatoes or plantains. Remember also to taste the world-famous Colombian coffee!