The morning after I ended up in the small village of Rozo in the Valle Del Cauca region, the hot sun baked the surroundings with tropical heat, the sky a bright light blue. That made it a perfect day to go out and cool down in some cold river water, and that’s exactly what we did. We drove through vast landscapes of green mountains and blue skies towards the nearby town of Ginebra (which is also the Spanish name for the city of Geneva in Switzerland), then onto some dusty rocky roads which are too common in Colombia to another nearby village called Costa Rica (not the country!)

Ginebra town centre

At Costa Rica, there were two swimming pools beside the river (which makes me wonder what’s the point of having a pool if the river’s nearby). I alternated between dipping in the river and pools at regular times, the pools’ water much warmer than the river’s, so I could cool down in the river after warming up in the pools. I even got to meet the resident pet, and jumped off a diving board. It was scary!

By the river
Kids’ swimming pool
A little pet…

I also found a rather exotic-looking species of butterfly at the riverside – the 88 butterfly, so-called because the markings on its lower wings looks rather like a number 88. The upper wings are soot-brown or black with navy-blue stripes. These butterflies are only found in South America, although they can occasionally end up in the far south of Texas.

88 butterfly on the wall
88 butterfly close-up

Even though I had been in the water, I ended up getting suntanned because the sun was burning hot – my feet even got hot from trying to walk on the baking ground – as I write now, I’m still peeling! I was in pain for the next day going back on the bus to Pereira due to the burn, which made me feel a little dizzy and want to lie down on a cool bed. On the plus side, I now think I’m addicted to ham-and-cheese tortillas… 😉

The scratchy, prickly tingle from my sunburn having settled down, I got to fulfil my wish of seeing my father at our old house again just before I left Colombia. I once again relived nostalgic memories of my past life, reading through all my old books and looking through all my old drawings – some of which I’d somehow left behind the last time I visited four years ago. I finally got my Dad’s scanner to work, and scanned in all the drawings I’d made over the past month or so – it was quite a bit of work and took up quite some time since it scanned very slowly, unlike my own scanner back home in England. I made another new drawing while I waited for the others to be scanned in, though I must keep it secret for now as it’s for a certain project I’m contributing to… 😉

Front of the old finca

I even got to visit the nearby finca of one of my Dad’s friends, who is from New York but of heritage from the Dominican Republic. While I’d seen it before during my last visit to Colombia, it was now a lot bigger and more spaced-out. They grow their own bananas, pick and roast their own coffee from the nearby fields and have ducks down in the artificial pond. They even have a swimming pool and feeders for hummingbirds, which made buzzing sounds as they zipped around. I tried to catch a photo, but they were too fast for me!

Outdoor swimming pool
Fresh coffee beans
Bananas on the tree
Duck in the shed

As much fun as I was having revisiting my old Colombian home, I couldn’t forget the fact that I would be leaving for England in a matter of days. The next couple of days after returning from my Dad’s home were spent at my Nana Stella’s apartment back in Pereira, where I was stationed while my family started packing the suitcases for the home flight.

When the day finally came, I couldn’t stop the tears coming. I knew I would see Colombia again someday, but it just felt sad having to leave my family in Colombia behind, as most of them still live there. It was especially hard having to say goodbye to my Dad – it looks like he might live in Colombia forever, as he’s been there for ten years now and doesn’t look like he’ll be coming back to England anytime soon – and Nana Stella and Nico. I at least still have my cat. 🙂

I got to take this shot of Pereira at night just before I left for Bogota:

Pereira city night lights

Once in Bogota after a short hop on the plane, we began our return to London on a much longer flight. As it was a night flight, I went to sleep to pass much of the time, though technically it would be afternoon in London when we landed. The crew were still working by Colombia’s time, however, so I had breakfast when it should have been lunch time my time.

When we finally landed back in London, I felt somewhat sad but happy to be home at last. We had a little pick-up at a local café before hauling all our suitcases onto the Underground back to Seven Sisters, where I’ve now returned and am writing this from.

More memories have been made during my holiday in Colombia, and many more will be made when I next go there – which will possibly be in the next couple of years. My next travel wish will be to finally see Canada in the summertime after seeing it in winter (and of course live there).

Thank you, Colombia, for once again having me. I’ll be back sometime soon! 😉

Some highlights of my holiday in Colombia