Yesterday we went for a visit to Mombacho Volcano, a close drive from Granada and a beautiful protected Nicaraguan park.
We booked a tour for $35 through Tierra Tours. After a little research, $35 seemed standard unless you book through our hotel which charges $50. We went with the standard price 🙂 The Tierra Tours van picked us up at around 9:30am and we were off. There was already a man from Belgium in the car, and then we picked up a couple from Toronto (actual Toronto, not people from hours away telling people they live in Toronto) and we headed for my first volcano of the trip!
Mombacho is a “dormant” or sleeping volcano. It hasn’t erupted since the 1500s but it is definitely alive. We saw steam coming from the earth and smelled sulfur more than once, especially near the crater. It is closely monitored for activity.
Whale watching is a pretty popular activity in Iceland. In Husavik and Reykjavik, boat tours seeking whales, dolphins, and puffins in summertime, are commonplace. So, we did what the tourists do and went on a whale watching tour on Sunday.
There is a long pier down by the harbour where all the boats have offices and sell tickets for their tours. Besides whale watching and puffin hunting, you can also book a “Northern Lights” tour. The problem with that is, if it’s cloudy, as it often was for us, you aren’t going to see those lights on land or a boat. But people will pay, so they have the tour. Continue reading “Whale Watching in Reykjavik”
Our first day in Medellin and we saw a lot! This morning we did a self-guided tour of Medellin’s fancy metro system, including the cable cars (more cable cars!)
Things I have heard about Medellin from Colombians: It’s the best climate; the people are very impressed with themselves; they love their subway; they like plastic surgery. Things I’ve noticed: the climate is pretty good!; the people are very nice (like everyone across the country); their subway is very nice and clean!; I have not noticed plastic surgery. It’s certainly not like Beverly Hills where you can’t avoid it.
After a 3 hour tour of Hacienda Venecia today, I am impressed by all the labor that goes into one cup of coffee.
We learned a lot about coffee today! I admit, I didn’t know very much to begin with so anything is added knowledge for me!
Colombia coffee production is high because the region isn’t troubled with seasons. They have sun and rain all the time in the coffee zone and the plants need both so it works out in their favor.
We got to see a lot of the production at the farm: from little seedlings to a walk through the growing plants and more. We saw the flowers and fruit and got to watch as the farmers unloaded the day’s pickings. We also saw where the fruit gets sorted – the premium beans are reserved for export and the worst/3rd level stay domestic as cheap coffee in Colombia.
Today was a beautiful day in Bogotá, and a great day to experience the city on two wheels.
On Sundays, a big chunk of main streets in Bogotá are shut down for pedestrians and cyclists for Ciclovia, and we wanted to be part of it! So, we went down to the Candelaria barrio to do a bike tour with Bogota Bike Tours. For 35,000 COP (less than $16 Canadian), we got a 5 hour ride around the city with a lot of facts and fun!
Knowing we were going on a bike tour, and also not having eaten dinner last night because of our massive lunch, we made our first stop a street with lots of Colombian restaurants. We wanted an authentic breakfast, so visited La Puerta de La Tradicion, and had coffee, a milk soup called changua (which was delicious) and chorizo. The food was good, the service was good and from there it was a quick walk to the bike shop.
UPDATE: MORE PHOTOS ADDED AS OF AUGUST 15 early AM
I did so much on my 5 hour self-guided tour of Cali, that I didn’t get to include the street art I saw in my previous post.
I didn’t know very much about the street art in Cali until I walked around and saw it for myself. I now know, from this article, that it’s a growing movement here. I am a big fan of street art in general and am fortunate to live in a great neighborhood for it in Toronto (plug for my other blog!), so it was fun to take some photos of the work here.
So I got to Cali late last night – too late for me to go out, I was beat – and woke up early today to see the town. From my searches online and with my trusty Lonely Planet guidebook, I found a lot of good things to see and do!
I started with a taxi from my hostel, Pelican Larry. I have a private room and access to a shared bathroom, which is all I need. Clean and with hot water! My room has a fan which had the dual purpose of keeping me cool and drowning out outside noise.