My plan for Colombia was to work my way overland toward the coast in order to see some of the country, then fly back, as it is a BIG country! What I thought was going to be an eight hour bus from Bogota to Medellin turned out to be eleven and a half! Between traffic, construction, police stopping to check IDs, and more delapidated trucks than Guatemala (which says a lot!) I was beginning to think I had booked the overnight bus! I had wanted to arrive Medellin before dark, but didn’t end up arriving until after eight pm. But the adorable little hotel, 61 Prado, is sheer bliss compared to where I just came from! A hip little converted residence near the University, with cool music playing, candles burning, nice, friendly helpful staff, and an “honor fridge” with beers, cokes, water, etc. My room is HUGE with a remodeled glass shower and vessel sink, a TV with cable, and it cost me only about $2.00 more than that sh_t hole in Bogota! It is so pleasant here!
The city was beautiful coming in because it sits in a valley, and the lights spread up into the mountains on both sides.
The bus itself was pretty fancy with reclining seats, leg rests, lots of leg room, a toilet on board, and recent movies playing at a very atypical low volume. It was a very pleasant ride, just a bit long, as they only made one rest stop.
Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten to lock the “off” switch on my ipod, so I got it first thing for a little onboard entertainment, only to discover the battery had completely run down!! DARN!!! This made me extra glad the volume on the TV was down low, otherwise it could have really been a long ride.
The scenery was spectacular — big tall lush green mountains, many of them shrouded in mist, with palm trees, banana trees, and some eucalpytus trees thrown in. There were lots of rivers and waterfalls all along the way as the road snaked around the side of the mountains. Even though I didn’t see any of the typical brightly painted chicken buses of Latin America fame, the game of “chicken” on the curvey highways was much the same nonetheless. The double yellow line never ended, and some of the “caution” road signs had about four squiggles in them, but still everyone passed like it was a freeway! We saw one overturned liquid gas truck, which was not surprising, but amidst the chaos, everyone seems to follow the rules of the road without discourse.