A Short Stay in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Besides an awful sunburn that lasted for days, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Cartagena, Colombia. From the republican and colonial style architecture of the old town area, to the modern and sleek high rises of the northern shore neighborhood of Bocagrande, this city is extremely beautiful. I guess it’s no wonder why it is always chosen as Colombia’s most romantic city. While walking around the streets, the colors gleam in your face, the architecture brings you back to another time in history, and the music you hear through the local’s windows makes you want to dance. I’ve never really been big on the romance side… but I can see to what they are referring. And, wanting to live out my childhood fantasy of being a pirate since reading “Treasure Island” in 4th grade, I also really appreciate the romanticism that the city holds towards its old pirating days!
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Exploring Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, Colombia cable car

After reading Tim Ferriss’s “The Four Hour Workweek,” I was convinced that I needed to start exploring Medellin, Colombia. Tim raves about it in the book, and I wanted to see what he was talking about. After all, like a lot of people, I had only heard of Medellin, Colombia through the major news headlines. The Medellin cartel is still one of the first things that is brought up when I tell people that I have been there. Hell, I even start off this post by talking about it. But I wanted to do it in order to clear the air. The Medellin that you see on the History Channel is no longer the Medellin of today. I was pleasantly surprised with this city; from the colorful gardens, the beautiful people, the stunning vistas, the thorough transportation system, clean streets, and finally, because it was a city that offered a coffee culture that met my American Starbucks standards!! This was the one major thing that I was missing about my home country. The “Juan Valdez” coffee scene was perfectly timed for my period of withdrawal. After going months in South America without being able to prop up my laptop in a café and down 3-4 large cups of coffee (American style), I was all set. After going straight to the cafe upon arrival, and downing a few cups of amazing, pure Colombian roast, I was shaking, and all jacked-up to start exploring the city.
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Machu Pichu and Cusco

Jon Blomquist, Machu Pichu

While deciding what places I would mark off my bucket-list in South America, Machu Pichu and Cusco were always at the top. “The Lost City of the Incas,” was a travel destination that had always been at the forefront of my mind since a favorite teacher of mine, Mrs. Flynn, introduced it to me in 3rd grade history class. This was the first time that I remember having a deep interest in a school subject, and it peaked with learning how different cultures lived. In a previous post, “El Calafate, Argentina” I stated that I had experienced my first moment of “Awe.” Machu Pichu was the second. The amount of history, culture, and overall beauty of the landscape, overthrew everything that I had envisioned in my head. It is my wish that every traveler make it to this destination at least once in their lifetime.
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Exploring and Eating in Lima, Peru

Jon Blomquist Lima

I honestly did not know what to expect upon visiting Lima, Peru. In the months leading up to this destination, I had heard an array of stories about how wonderful Lima was. I heard stories about how delicious the food was. I had heard stories about how beautiful the coastline was. I heard stories about how wonderful, kind, and helpful the people were. And yet, in contrast, I had also heard about how poor the living conditions were. I had heard of how dangerous the public transportation and taxis were. I had also heard, more than any other place, to keep your belongings tight to your person. By the end of my trip, I had only experienced one side of the story.
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Terremotos in Santiago de Chile!

Jon Blomquist Santiago

Terremoto! Terremoto! Everywhere, a terremoto! If you speak Spanish, you will know that this means ‘earthquake’. However, in the country of Chile, this also means something a little bit different. Around every corner restaurant, college street pub, or the awesome “Pio Nono” neighborhood, you will see this drink in the hands of those (many) daring enough to take on the challenge of enjoying just one glass. This amazing concoction of pineapple ice cream and a sweet fermented wine, called Pipeño, will literally leave you shaking at the knees and legs if you have too many. I admit, a couple of these made my trip to Santiago de Chile a little bit more enjoyable. However, it was not completely necessary, as this city is bustling and impressive in its own right.
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