The night bus to Santa Marta was a killer where lacking a pillow I woke up with my book propped under my head and a seriously crooked neck! We didn’t even leave Santa Marta terminal and just jumped straight on a bus to Taganga where we stayed for two nights at Nirvana hostel the sister of the hostel in San Gil meaning discounts!! For two days we blended in to the sun beds and embarrassed ourselves playing pool with our new Aussie mates, where we sank more beers than pool balls. The food has been amazing here the first day we went to Babaganoush a Turkish restaurant with the most amazing view and beautiful food! The following day bored of small talk and feeling pretty unsociable, we instantly regretted agreeing to go for a bike ride with the Aussies so instead snuck off in search of a place high up to view the sunset. We walked up the closest mountain but always seemed just one more corner away from the perfect view, after walking for a while some police on bikes stopped us to inform us that we were walking towards a very dangerous area! Sounds like we dodged a bullet and turned back content with a half view but still in possession of our cameras and bags. That night we had a very indulgent dinner in Pachamama a french restaurant at the end of the road! The food was amazing and we were serenaded by local musicians throughout the meal! We then went back to the hostel revived and ready to drink some beers and play some cards. We taught our Aussie friends how to play Irish snap and spoons but after a few rounds and some seriously bent spoons we realised we were all too aggressively competitive to continue so we retired to bed excited for the national park tomorrow!
So San Gil flew by, I’m still struggling to decide if my highlight was white water rafting or the Italian burger from Gringo Mikes which no word of a lie is the best burger I’ve ever eaten! We set off about 8 of us from the hostel for the rafting, on arrival they did a half hour safety briefing explaining that this wasn’t just a fun day out but an extreme sport and then proceeded to explain how dangerous it was! It was at this moment as we struggled to stay focused on what he was saying and were more concerned about sun burn that we seriously began to wonder if it was such a great idea to take part in level 5 rapids (rapids only go up to level 6) when it is one of the few things our insurance doesn’t cover. We jokingly discussed how anyone injured would have to put a brave face on it until we got far enough away from the scene of the crime that we could blame it on something else! We hopped in to the boat a flurry of nervous laughter and realised we were at the front therefore leading the whole team, poor souls! We swallowed our body weight in dirty river water struggling to stop the boat capsizing! At one point the instructor shouted inside and I leapt maybe a bit too enthusiastically as the whole boat tipped to one side and I ended up on top of Daisy almost knocking her out with my paddle! The boat became a paddling pool as it filled with water and we frantically continued to paddle as it slowly drained out and we made it back alive and well! Now all on a hype from the rafting we tried to instigate a pool party back at our hostel which was an epic fail where we drank overpriced rum and passed out by 12am! A few rushed hungover goodbyes to our new friends after a day lazing by the pool and we set off on the night bus to Santa Marta!
So day four and we are still fucked from jet lagg infact it seems to be getting worse we were up at 5.30am this morning! So being the resoureful cheep skates that we are we decided against a guided tour (a running theme for us) and instead headed off in search of a local bus to take us to the waterfall. Which was seriously amusing for the locals who bombarded us with friendly chatter, at an hour thats too early to function in english let alone spanish! We were advised to leave the hostel at about 9am but instead arrived way before 8 and had the place to ourselves. By mid day we were all waterfalled out and decided to head back to the hostel. Apparently the busses went every half hour so after waiting for 15 minuets we decided we should start walking back and just thumb down the bus on its way past. This may sound simple but with the “Colombian Clocks” we ended up walking for about 2 hours in the mid day sun with no water and having completely sweated off our sun cream feeling like something off bear grills. Our necks costantly snapping round at the slightest sound of a vehicle. We were finally picked up two sunburnt gringos frantically waving at the bus with hopeful eyes, and charged full price for the ride back home the cheek of it! For lunch we went to the cutest colombian place Meson del arriero where we overindulged and rolled home. For dinner we ended up back at Gringo Mikes for a Giant cookie to share and some margaritas, with the first of the many friends we would make on this trip Andy, Marc and Hen.
So Day three and another 6am wake up (and I thought this was a holiday)! Another shit breakfast and we set off to San Gil! We embarked on our supposedly 5 hour bus journey armed with a bag of crisps and a cereal bar each, feeling pretty prepaired. 8 hours later and our belly’s have fully began to eat themselves as we dismount at our destination with a serious case of numb bums. We then checked in to the worlds most stoned hostel, the balcony rammed with 15 tanned youths staring absentmindedly at their phones. A trip in to the beautiful town on the usual search for food proves fruitfull when we successfully navigate to Gringo Mikes and fill up on the best food yet, Mexican! Later finally fully recovered from our England hangovers and no longer repulsed by alcohol we went for a beer, the local square was so amazingly lit up with christmass lights they put England to shame. Did I mention the beer had mango in it!