A Long Ride

This morning we bid adieu to Bogota.   We had a long ride to San Gil.  San Gil is the adventure sports capital of Colombia.   When I say long I mean really long.  We left at 7 AM and arrived at 9:30 PM.

We stopped at the location of the definitive battle that gained Colombia its independence.   We also stopped in a small tourist village with a gigantic square.  It was picturesque,  but it was the antique shop I passed as we were walking towards our bus that really caught my eye.  It was just like a scene out of American Pickers—maybe there should be a Colombian version.

Through the front window of the bus, I saw a scene that reminded me of Vietnamese.   I saw something carrying a bicycle on a motorcycle.

On the drive we saw so many cyclists training.   Colombians are passionate about cycling and I had a chance to talk to a few of them, and that was Today’s Perfect Moment.

Posted in bus, Colombia, cycling, cycling gear, cycling shoes, perfect moment, travel, travel writing | 2 Comments

Hiking, Exploring, Eating, and Drinking in Bogota.

My next day of adventure included a hike on Chingaza National Park.   It was rough going because I am not super fit,  but I loved being outdoors.  I also got the chance to learn something from one member of the group named Dave.   He explained a little about the geology of the trail we we walking on.

For lunch we ate at a family run restaurant above a gas station.   I enjoyed it.

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After we got back, I joined some of my other travelers in a walk around the bohemian area around our hotel.  We had coffee,  beer  and some food.

Posted in beer, Bogota, Colombia, colours, drinks, food blogging, hiking, perfect moment, walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Second Day in Bogota.

 

My breakfast, while the same as yesterday, was great for three reasons.  The first is that there was a table free outside.  It wasn’t as quiet as eating inside, but it is a great feeling to eat out of doors.  The second is that I stumbled upon some people in my travel group.  It is always nice to meet people in a relaxed setting–and breakfast is about as relaxed as you can get.  The third is that the chef remembered me and my order from the day before.   That always makes me feel good.

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I visited three places inBogota today.  The first was the gold museum.  It was interesting to learn how thenatives used gold for political purposes.  The second was to take the funicular to the highest peak in Bogota.  The view was great, but I left it too late in the day and the sky had become overcast.  Later, I visited the house of Simon Bolivar.  I don’t know enough about the history of South America to get the full benefit, but I do have something I can study later.  The furniture and gardens were lovely.20200220_155909

With the exception of the funicular, the museums have all been reasonably priced–less than two dollars, or free.  It makes me wonder why this isn’t the case at home.

 

I met the group we are going to be traveling with.  We took a short orientation tour and went out for dinner.  I recommended what I had for lunch at the Gold museum.   The name is Ajiaco.

Posted in adventure, adversity, appreciation, architecture, art, Bogota, Colombia, food, food blogging, G Adventures, perfect moment, travel, travel writing | 2 Comments

Bogota by Bicycle

So, I had my first breakfast in Colombia.   It was quite good and more Importantly people did not mind sharing a table.

After breakfast,  I headed out with the intention of taking a tour of Bogota by bicycle.  Unfortunately I got lost and had to be rescued by two well dressed gentlemen

After finding the place, I struggled with my action camera so I missed the first few  moments of the ride.  The camera quickly ran out of battery power.  I am going to charge it more thoroughly.

The bike tour was awesome.  On two wheels is a great way to see a city.  It’s a great way to see anywhere.

It wasn’t just a bike tour.  We got lots of history, visited the rich and less rich neighborhoods,  tried some Colombian fruit at the market (delicious!), played a  game that involved throwing heavy lead weights at sand targets rigged with firecrackers, and visited a coffee shop.

After this I visited the Botero museum. Do yourself a favor and look him up after you finish reading this post. I went with a couple of people from the bike tour.

For the evening,  I was scheduled to meet some Colombian students I had taught in Toronto.   I met Luis first a before we met up with the others we went back to the museum because he wanted to show me his favorite piece of art.  It was interesting to see someone else’s take on something.

Meeting my students was amazing.   We went out for beer and pizza–both were delicious.   However,  the best thing was hearing about their lives since coming back to Colombia.   It was also great to reminisce about their time in Toronto.   Their experiences in my city changed their lives.

Posted in bicycles, breakfast, Colombia, cycling, cycling gear, experiences, food, food blogging, food shopping, fruit, museum, perfect moment, travel, travel tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Perfect Day

20200218_130932My day got off to an early start.  I had decided that my small backpack was not going to be suitable for the four day hike,  so I went and bought another one. Luckily, I had some Canadian Tire money to smooth out the price.

All packed, but without checking the schedule,  I headed to the bus stop.  My bus came within 5 minutes.  It was slow going, but we managed to arrive safely at the location to catch the airport bus.  Amazingly it was waiting for me and departed seconds after I boarded.

At the airport the bus let me off at the terminal I was supposed to be at.  This was surprising because I usually have to trek all over the place and take a monorail to another terminal.   This time I took a short walk to an elevator and I was at the check in desk in moments.

I decided to buy lunch.  I wasn’t expecting an airplane meal, so I thought some calories were in order.  I ordered a double burger with bacon.  I decided against the fries because the price seemed rather excessive.  The funny thing, though, was that they gave me fries anyway.   I didn’t see the person put them in the bag, and I tried waving her off because I didn’t think a solitary burger required a bag.   She said she made a mistake and it was complimentary.   I was confused until I opened the bag.

20200218_141226On the airplane,  things got better.  The seat to my right was vacant.  This allowed me to share the seat and tray for other purposes.   Also, they actually gave me a meal.   I guess the flight was long enough to warrant it.

20200218_164326Another high point was the personable and friendly service of the flight attendants.   They definitely made it a better flight.  I know it is their job, but I have experienced people doing it poorly and the difference shows.  Special thanks to Saxon for hard work.

I made it to Bogota and my students are planning to meet me for Pizza tomorrow.   How fantastic is that?

What a Perfect Day.

Posted in airplanes, bus, Canadian, Canadian Tire, Colombia, food, food blogging, G Adventures, perfect moment, travel, travel writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colombia Bound

jet cloud landing aircraft

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

By the time most of you read this, I will either be on the way to the airport or actually on the plane.  Yes, it is Colombia trip time.

I’ve done my packing, done my research, and checked stuff off my checklist.  However, I just don’t feel ready.  I don’t know if I am taking enough stuff or too much stuff.  I don’t know if I am ready or not ready.  I’ve read up on where I am going, but I wonder if I have done enough.

My girlfriend asked me if I was excited and I answered honestly that I wasn’t.  The trip still sounds amazing, but I think I have had too much time to think about it.  Usually I finish work and I have to be on the plane the next day.  Leaving on a Tuesday is a rarity for me.  Having an entire weekend before leaving is almost unheard of.  It gives me too much time to second guess myself.

I am sure I will have a great time and I will blog when I can.  For those photographically inclined, please check my instagram located at the lower right side of this blog or follow it.

Posted in adventure, airplanes, Colombia, G Adventures, guide book, Lonely Planet, packing, perfect moment, travel, travel writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Choosing a Perfect Moment

Some days are relaxing and some days are quite full. Today was a full day, and it was a good day.  I did a number of things and I would like to give you a quick rundown.

I had McDonalds coffee. This isn’t a big deal, but lately people at work have been debating the taste of McDonald’s coffee and Tim Horton’s coffee quite a bit and I thought I should see what all the fuss was about.  It didn’t hurt that the coffee was on sale for one dollar.  It tasted okay for the price and helped supplement today’s coffee needs.

My girlfriend’s brother just had a baby boy and she wanted to buy him some clothes–the baby, not the brother. This brought us to a cute kids clothing store in the mall.  Kids today certainly have more stylish clothes than I did.  Maybe stylish clothes existed, but I didn’t get to wear it.  It was a cute little adventure to watch her put together outfits for her new nephew.

I had a chance to drop in at the train store. The price of trains and train related stuff has certainly climbed since I was last there.  Additionally, the amount of N scale stuff had shrunk quite a bit.  I hope this is just representative of this store and its clientele rather than across the entire industry.

I visited the Japanese store to get some caramels and look at some foods. The place was rather crowded and doing booming business.  I wasn’t fearful that business was down, but I was quite surprised at the number of people shopping there.  I don’t remember having to line up behind so many people.  I bought some inarizushi and a rice ball.  Both were delicious.

To cap it all off my girlfriend made me a delicious dinner. She probably called it lunch, but since it was my biggest meal of the day, I referred to it as dinner.  That’s just how life goes.

We did a number of other things, but I think you get the drift of how the day went. The only question is which one is Today’s Perfect Moment.

Upon reflection, it is clear that Today’s Perfect Moment is watching my girlfriend go crazy about her new nephew. She was so excited to pick out an outfit for him.  She was also so excited to see pictures and watch video of the little guy.  It was wonderful to see and experience with her.

Posted in clothes, coffee, comfort food, ethnic food, food blogging, food shopping, grocery shopping, Japan, Japanese, Japanese snacks, perfect moment, shopping, shopping mall | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Valentine’s Day on Another Day

20200215_204511I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day. There just seems to be too much going on, or too much pressure created by marketing people. Last year, I was in Costa Rica on Valentines Day and I didn’t see anything like the commercial holiday I see here.

Rather than succumb, I wanted to wait for Saturday to have a quiet moment with my Valentine and with some pizza and a movie. Call it simple.  Call it boring.  Call it whatever you want.  For me it was Today’s Perfect Moment.

Too often there is a way everyone expects things to be done. What you should understand is that I am an Aquarian through and through.  That means there is also the way I want things done, and most often there are going to be different.  Today I wanted it done this way.

Happy Valentines Day Sarah.

Honorable Mention

A beautiful Lamborghini passed me while driving to get the pizza.  That exotic breed is unlikely to be seen in these parts during Winter.  It revved its engine, but never had the chance to race off into the distance.

Posted in celebration, perfect moment, pizza, relationships, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

That’s a Wrap

 

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Before explaining Today’s Perfect Moment, I want to explain a few of the Honourable Mentions.

Honourable Mentions

A couple of my students gave me going away presents. I often get presents, but since Today was Valentine’s Day, I expected their chocolate/gift budget would be oriented toward their significant others.  Since it wasn’t, I got a lovely bookmark and two boxes of Lindt Chocolate.  Despite the Valentine’s Day theme, I don’t think these were for Valentine’s Day.

Preparation for the trip continues to roll on.

The temperature was into double digit lows plus the wind-chill but I didn’t have to wait for a bus today. When I arrived at the stops, the bus was already there waiting.

My lunch tasted good.

Today’s Perfect Moment

My teaching hours changed this past week. While I didn’t appreciate the shorter work hours and now have to find creative ways to recover them, there is one thing I did enjoy.  I finished work early on a Friday for the first time since….actually I don’t remember when it was.  I suspect it was mid Spring last year.

Normally I have to teach until 6:30 on a Friday. By the time, I get my administrative duties completed and putting stuff back, it is closer to 7 before I can leave the building.  Today was different.  I walked out the door at 3:30.  The sun was still shining!

I should also add that this was my last day of work until my vacation is over. This made it extra-special.  Obviously, it is Today’s Perfect Moment.  It also didn’t feel too bad when everyone wished me a great vacation either.

Posted in chocolate, ESL, Friday, gifts, perfect moment, students, teaching, vacation, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lessons for Travelling

20200214_000247There are two lessons about winter vacations that I have not learned yet. That sounds horrible, but hopefully by writing them down, I will finally learn them.  Both of them involve finding stuff.  There is also a lesson I learned about travelling on a budget airline which I am late to the game to.

Lesson One

Everybody in Canada is trying to escape the winter and they need all the same stuff that I do.  How else can you explain finding your favourite sunscreen sold out in numerous stores?

Okay, this is not true because some of us, myself included, love winter. I would like to take an extended ski vacation in Banff, but it isn’t going to happen this year.  However, it still doesn’t resolve that fact that what I was looking for was nowhere to be seen.  I had to choose a different brand and I hope it works as well.

Oddly enough, every store I visited over the past couple of weeks has lots of small toiletries for sale at inflated prices. I guess nobody else has heard of the dollar store.

Lesson Two

Some stuff you need just isn’t for sale at this time of year. I experienced this phenomenon when I took my trip to Vietnam.  Looking for sandals was a difficult adventure.  Luckily I got them and I have been taking them on vacations ever since.  They will be going on this trip along with my hiking boots.

Lesson Three

Budget airlines don’t feed you for free.  I remember the days of flying to Japan and getting several meals, maybe even a snack, and a number of drinks.  I fondly remember a flight attendant who when she took my request for Canadian Whisky (Rye) slapped down several bottles, some mix, and then asked me to be my own bartender.  I fondly remember getting ice cream on an SAS flight.

On my last trip, the people beside me snickered when I bought the glamorous looking overpriced meal from the onboard menu.  They laughed even harder when it appeared and bore only a passing resemblance to the photo.  They brought their own snacks and they had bought from a Costco–not sure why a mega sized bag of M&Ms would make me so jealous, but they did.

Other Lessons

There are probably other lessons I should learn. There are lots of them about preparation and research.  There are lots of them about getting better deals.  There is probably one about not having enough time to do stuff, or using time more wisely…..

What lessons have travel taught you? Please share them with me because I need to learn–and when a teacher says this, you should listen.

Posted in Canadian, Colombia, G Adventures, hiking, lessons, perfect moment, preparation, sun, travel, travel tips, travel writing, vacation, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments