Colombian Holidays – Cartagena

Alvaro, one of my co-teachers at school, and me visited Cartagena for a short city break in the July holidays. We stopped in a beautiful colonial style hotel, with white walls, an interior patio and hot and cold running WiFi.

Each morning we sat on the roof terrace and looked out at the castle while having our breakfast. This was usually in the glare of the morning sun, but still early enough for the temperature to be bearable.

Alvaro having breakfast on the rooftop terrace
Alvaro having breakfast on the rooftop terrace

Continue reading Colombian Holidays – Cartagena

Colombian Weekends – Paradise and Pance

The city I am living in, Palmira, is in the South West of Colombia in a department called Valle Del Cauca. The valley stretches from El Eje Cafetero (The Coffee Region) at its North Eastern point down and across to the Pacific Ocean coast in the West.

Where I am the valley floor is a wide plain about 1000 metres above sea level, making it cooler and more tolerable than it is at sea level. This means average days in the high 80s to low 90s. Down by the coast it gets warmer and much more humid.

Palmira itself is resolutely not a tourist destination, but we have been blessed by living close to some pretty cool places to visit for the weekends.

Standing on the steps of Hacienda El Paraiso with Max, Martha and Maritza
Standing on the steps of Hacienda El Paraiso with Max, Martha and Maritza

Paradise Continue reading Colombian Weekends – Paradise and Pance

Colombia Votes On Peace Deal

On Sunday 2nd October Colombia has a plebiscite to decide whether to accept the peace deal that was signed on Wednesday this week between the Colombian government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

If the country votes Si then FARC’s guerillas will continue the process of disarming that began last weekend, following a unilateral ceasefire that has largely held for the past year. The FARC have been at war with the Colombian state since 1964.

This means that the majority of the friends I have made here in Colombia have never known their country at peace.

Woman waves Si flag in Parque Bolivar, Palmira
Some people are very open about their voting intentions

For the past four years the government has negotiated with the FARC in Habana, Cuba. For most of that time the talks were held in secret. What has emerged is a detailed agreement, with the?headline being that the FARC will disarm in exchange for their legitimisation as a political entity. Continue reading Colombia Votes On Peace Deal