Day One – Cartagena, Colombia

I began fearing for my life within seconds of stepping onto Colombian soil, when approached by a rough-looking local who offered to give me a lift from the airport to my hotel. After quietly assessing him from behind a cigarette, I decided he was probably OK, perhaps even trustworthy. He was an unregistered cab-driver, and led me to a beaten down, decades-old saloon car.

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Day Forty-five – Cuzco, Peru

I spend the mornings here at my own leisure, waking at around nine and then strolling the streets towards the small delicatessen I have declared my breakfast base of operations. Here I consume several cups of coffee and write in this damn journal, eat the local food and catch the odd game of football when they are broadcast on the television. The staff are all very friendly and are pleased to see me return, and I have built a good rapport with one of the waiters. Today I recognised a fellow customer dining with some friends, and it turned out that he was an English chap I had spoken with during my stay in Salento, Colombia.

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Day Forty-Three – Cuzco, Peru

I arrived in Cuzco to pouring rain and the cooler mountain air. I accidentally booked into a party hostel which I am not too happy about, as the vast majority of other guests here are a vicious herd of intolerable halfwits. I did however meet an agreeable chap from Texas in my room who had been on the same flight into Cuzco as me, and we have arranged to embark on a few excursions together.

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Day Thirty-Four – Lima, Peru

I landed in Lima last night to a spectacular sunset view of the Pacific Ocean. I checked into a pitiful hostel near the airport, where I was disturbed by a pair of intolerable hippies staying in my room who seemed intent on spreading the word about the wonderful hallucinogenic plants available in the Peruvian Amazon. I checked out the next morning.

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Day Thirty-Two – Bogotá, Colombia

I have arrived in Bogotá, which is a sprawling 1,775 square-kilometres of high-altitude, stinking garbage and wasted concrete, and also the capital city of Colombia.

I said goodbye to Leonie in Medellín, having spent a week wandering around the city with her. She was heading north to the Caribbean coast to check out the carnival in Barranquilla. On our last night together in Medellín, we attended the Colombian cup final to watch the local Atlético Nacional face up against Bogotá’s Millonarios. The atmosphere in the stadium was quite volcanic, with manic chanting, fire works, and a percussion-band rattling on throughout the duration of the game. Some quality goals were scored. However, for some reason there were no away fans (to prevent some sort of hideous riot I presume), and so when the Bogotá team won the cup, the air around the 45,000 capacity stadium was thoroughly underwhelming. No beers were served after half time either, which was disappointing, as I had felt like getting a little rowdy.

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Day Twenty-Seven – Medellín, Colombia

I took the morning bus back to Medellín. A fascinating city with a dark past but bright future, Medellín is a brilliant destination nestled in the verdant mountains of Antioquia. Whilst two decades ago it was regarded as the most dangerous metropolis in the world, it is now considered one of the safest and most innovative in Latin America.

The city sits in a vast and deep valley, with the buildings seeming to spill down from the surrounding mountains. It is as if some greater being dropped a city from the sky and parts of it ricocheted upon collision, travelling up the mountainsides with a concrete splash.

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Day Twenty-Five – Guatapé, Colombia

I left Salento exceptionally hungover on the 10am bus to Medellín. The journey took around eight hours and was incredibly scenic, the bus twisting and turning along the mountainous terrain, hugging a wide brown river that tore through the valleys.

The night before I had met up with a friend from back in Swansea, who was out in Colombia to visit his native girlfriend. They came over to Salento for a few days and we visited a local coffee farm together and then drank far too much aguardiente (the menacing local booze) in the town square the night before I was to leave for Medellín.

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