I know, I know. I skipped the whole 6th grade year! I didn’t feel much like blogging this year. We were busy with our move to Florida and were spending a lot of time making new friends and developing new routines. I struggled with this move. Florida hasn’t been my favorite place. But I did find one thing I love- cheap airfare! Being close to the Ft. Lauderdale airport means cheap flights to central and South America.

We are currently in Colombia with Grandma band Grandpa. They have a house here and have been coming for several years. My dear friend gave the girls several Spanish lessons before we left and they are enjoying being able to practice.

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Beautiful Cartagena, Colombia

We spent three days in Cartagena before coming to Bucaramanga. Cartagena was beautiful and historic. We took a walking tour and we ate and ate and ate. It’s a touristy town, so while they have great restaurants, it’s also fairly expensive. We spent a few hours each afternoon back at the apartment because it was so incredibly hot. The heat really wiped us out. We stayed in a perfect little two bedroom place in the walled city. It is a VRBO owned by an American couple from Texas.

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She even ate the eyeballs!

From Cartagena, we flew to Bogota and then to Bucaramanga. The little we saw of Bogota was very impressive. I didn’t expect it to be so lush and green. We flew over farms spotted with cattle. The city sits up against a large mountain range.

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Bogota airport

Bucaramanga is exactly what I imagined Colombia to be like. The airport sits up on a mountain outside of town, surrounded by lush and semi-tropical forests. It id absolutely beautiful. We immediately noticed that there are a ton of motorcycles here! The drivers are insane  and the motorcycles just weave their way in and out of traffic. It’s scary! Nobody uses their blinker and everybody honks constantly. I don’t even know what they are honking about. It explains a lot about the driving in Miami!

Today we walked around our neighborhood to do some shopping. Bucaramanga gets a lot of tourists who go to the national park and other nearby sites, but it isn’t a vacation destination in itself. And there are definitely not a lot of Americans. Although, we did meet a Colombian from North Carolina today who is here visiting her mother! Americans are rare and we’ve had our far share of stares, but mostly people just want to know where we are from and why we are here. The people here are very kind. Cartagena had an intense feeling. Everyone was trying to sell us something. Bucaramanga is just a normal city with people going to to work and raising families. It’s much calmer.

We’ve already had empanadas from Suzanna on the corner. Twice. We’ve only been here for 24 hours! This morning we had empanadas from another restaurant, along with the best cafe con leche I’ve ever had! The girls had eggs and fresh mango juice. I could do nothing but eat in this country!

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Empanadas by Suzanna

Most of our American friends have asked about safety. Traveling internationally always has risks. We are staying in two of the safest cities in Colombia. We are cautious, especially with the girls, but I feel safer in Bucaramanga than I have in Mexico in the past (even before the current situation). Colombia has come a long way in the last decade and my parents keep abreast on the political and social climate through their visits and local friends. I’m also learning a lot about the US’s involvement in Colombia- very eye opening! An interesting tidbit from the travel book: Bogota has a lower homicide rate than Washington DC.

I’m grateful my children have the opportunity to experience this beautiful country and culture.

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The view from our apartment in Bucaramanga