|Very poor photo of Montserrat, Bogota and the funicular up.|
In Bogota, the first night, sleeping in a Western business hotel on points, I started to get very uncomfortable when I realized that our plan to get to Panama had some serious flaws.
|This weather forecast did not bode well for 5 days of sailing in a small single-hull vessel.|
|One of many breathtaking murals from the Bogota graffiti tour.|
Initially, I figured, hey, let's just skip Panama, problem solved. But, turns out, one of the things E *really* wants to do on this trip is see the Panama Canal, in action, so that option was off the table.
After a bunch of late night searching on gloriously dependably functional Wi-Fi (oh, Western hotel chains, how I do love thee), I finally found some budget fares direct to Panama City from Medellin on VivaColombia to a random US-military base in Panama City (Howard AFB) and we agreed to put off Cartagena for another trip. I was disappointed to eliminate Cartagena as we'd heard so many wonderful things about it, but since arriving in South America, we'd heard nothing but absolute raves for Medellin from other travelers we'd met (several admitted to spending way more time than they intended), and the Toucan Spanish School looked like it would be a good fit for me to do a week of intensive study while E chilled out in a relatively modern well-appointed city.
|Bogota/US cultural center commissioned piece -- gorgeous.|
|My absolute favorite Bogota graffiti piece|
|Medellin apt hot water heater -- runs on 2 D batteries.|
|Gas switches in the apt -- if off, no hot water, nor gas for cooking.|
|The centrifuge on our Medellin apt washer -- multiple spin runs per wash load.|
|The washing compartment of the washer.|
|View of Medellin from the Metrocable.|
Initially, we figured we could just go get our Bolivian visas at the embassy in Panama. But when we started researching flights to La Paz, we were shocked out how expensive they were. Again, after much investigation and soul searching (should we go through Peru and across lake Titicaca or some other bizarre route?) we decided to cut out yet another part of the trip. Bolivia will also have to wait until another time.
|Bandeja paisa (typical Medellin meal for BT) and buffalo steak for E - $14 total, with beers.|
You may note that I'd mentioned earlier that we'd already booked reasonably priced flights from Medellin to Panama before we booked the AirBNB in Medellin. Turns out, due to travel ridiculousness, it was cheaper (like even after throwing away the Panama one-way flights, we saved $400 US per person) to do the multi-city flights from Medellin to Panama and back including the additional Argentina stop than it would have been just to do the one-way flight from Panama to Argentina (or pretty much anywhere in South America), so we have 2 flights to Panama today, but we'll just not be showing up for one of them. (Travel tip -- Copa Airlines subsidizes the hell out of flights that include a stay in Panama.)