The Wedding of the Year.

After we awoke from our long foodie/shopping day, we met early at our aunt’s house to catch a shuttle that would take us to our other aunt’s farm for the wedding. But first we had to snap a pic of Tyler and Santi dressed as opposites!

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The wedding was no small affair. A hundred friends and family of Grandpa and Tina, along with sixty horses gathered for this countryside wedding. When we got there, everyone was sipping sangria or whiskey and getting ready for the pre-ceremony ride.

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How great is my grandpa’s outfit?

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There were beautiful horses everywhere, including 2 Clydesdale’s which carried a carriage for those who weren’t up to riding.

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Half way through the ride we finally climbed to the top of the hills with one of the most spectacular view.

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It was made even more spectacular by a wine and liquor station, that made me a lot more comfortable during the second half of the ride.

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Look at how happy Gramps is! He’s the best grandpa in the world and I’m soo happy for him! He was shining all day!

Also please note Aaron behind him.

As we got back to the farm, everyone drank a little more and the kids had a go on the horses.

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We snapped a couple photos with our horses…

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…before moving into the courtyard for the ceremony.

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Just look at Gramp’s smile!! :) So big!

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My uncle’s and my dad looking great and very proud.

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After the vows we toasted to a happy and wonderful marriage! And went to the other courtyard to continue the merry making and eat (surprise!)

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Around the yard, my uncle hung large frames in the trees so we could take fun pictures. Such a great idea!!

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My camera died as soon as the food arrived!! (Food bloggers nightmare)… But it was basically a series of delicious tapas including hummus, ceviche, octopus, wine, roast pig, paella, soups, and steak.

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The wedding went into the night with lots of dancing (with a live band!) and drinking and all around smiles. It was a great night and I’m sooo happy for my Gramps and Tina! Congratulations to the happy couple, you both deserve the happiest and best of lives together!! <3

 

A Pre-Wedding Brunch

The reason we went down to Colombia was not only to do some traveling, but also for a wedding… my grandpa’s wedding!!

The day after we returned from the beach, my brothers and dad arrived for a short weekend to attend the wedding festivities. This was the first time that we’ve all been in Colombia together since… 2007? 2006? It’s been a long time!

Don’t we all look dapper?

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But before the wedding, we had to do a day of eating and shopping together…

We started with a brunch at a costeño-style restaurant called Diana Garcia. It was all spectacularly delicious. Doesn’t it look it!?

Corn and chorizo scramble with cheese stuffed arepas:

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Pancakes (for Santi, of course):

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An awesome bread basket, with fresh croissants and some kind of yummy brownie bread!

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And the always classic and delicious Eggs Benedict.

DSCN0474I hope you ate a good breakfast, otherwise you might try to eat your screen.

Here’s me and Gramps and Tina.

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Here’s my dad and his dad. Aww.

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Afterwards the bros and Tyler and I took a walk and did some shopping along the way. Afterwards we found ourselves at our great-grandma’s house for lunch (see, this vacation was all about eating).

DSCN0492How great is this #tbt pic?? It was taken circa 2003-04. Can you guess who’s who?

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My great-grandma Blanca is a pretty amazing and inspirational woman who always has a warm and open home. She also hosts the BEST lunches in city that are always full of friends and family and the food is by far the most delicious.

After lunch we did some more random shopping/beer drinking with our uncle.

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I’ll leave you here until tomorrow where you will finally here about the wedding of the year! Trust me, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned!!

 

 

Cartagena: Ultimate Relaxation

So when I last left off, we had just finished up a leisurely day of eating and drinking and soaking up some culture. The day was terribly long you see, so we decided to sleep in as long as possible. Like 1 pm long (hey, it’s vacation!)… When we realized the time, we threw on bathing suits and headed down to the beach for some more relaxation.

A typical thing on public beaches are vendors. They sell everything from ceviche, to massages, to bracelets, and sunglasses. They can smell a gringo a mile away, and boy did they smell Tyler! ;) Within 2 minutes of renting our hut for the day, 2 local ladies sashayed over to us full of flattery and jokes and charisma, despite my pleas for us not wanting beach side massages. Some how we found ourselves getting our feet rubbed because we had “good energy” (aka they suckered us). Who wouldn’t want a massage on the beach, right? The issue is that as soon as one vendor catches you giving in, they think you’re an easy target for more! I was so preoccupied with telling other vendors “no, gracias”, I couldn’t take any pictures or enjoy my massage. Very unfortunate.

Luckily, our host brought us some Coco Locos (rum in a coconut!) and beer.

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We decided it was probably irresponsible if we didn’t eat our way through our mini vacay so I ordered us one of my favorite meals ever: Pargo rojo con arroz de coco y patacones. (Fried red snapper, coconut rice and fried plantains)

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This was me really loving the pargo…. (no, I didn’t eat the head)…

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It got way too windy out there so we packed up and headed back to our hammocks for a couple pre-dinner siestas. A busy day deserves a nap!

DSCN0386Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 9.58.01 PMWe woke up just after sundown and got ready for dinner at La Cocina de Soccoro. Apparently there are two in the city and we ended up not going to the original (like my uncle had suggested), but it was a cool place none the less. This rustic feeling place is a great place to try some local dishes without feeling nervous. We were both feeling steak, so I ordered the “Pot Roast Cartagena”: pot roast, potato salad, coconut rise, and sweet plantains in a rose sauce.

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The rose plantains were a bit like eating perfume (I prefer mine to be a little less sweet) and the potato salad was very mayo-y. The meat and rice were delicious though! Tyty ordered the most massive steak either of us had ever seen and it was cooked perfectly! I forgot to take a picture so here is a pic of Tyty post dinner instead…

DSCN0392It was a Tuesday night so the scene was a little empty, apparently its usually a popular spot. Our server (who looked exactly like Barack Obama) recommended great dishes, but the service was a bit slow—that might just be the coastal pace of life though. The prices were decent (~30,000 pesos/16ish dollars per plate) and they definitely don’t let you leave hungry. The portions are huge!

We rounded out our night with more drinks and Spanish language music videos on the terrace.

The next day was our last day, but again we decided eating was the best idea. The maid, Sila, is one of the best cooks in Cartagena, so we had to have a lunch prepared by here at least once! By the time we woke up, she had Arepa y Huevo waiting for us! (Think a thicker tortilla like thing deep fried, filled with an egg and meat)… heaven on earth. It was so humid that day that my camera was a little foggy…

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After that I took a hammock selfie and then napped until lunch. (Clearly, I’ve been in desperate need of a WiFi-less getaway and some sleep…)

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Now here is the real deliciousness… When I woke from my nap, Sila had prepared my favorite meal (again, pargo rojo con arroz) but I must say, this one was 1000x times better than the one we ordered on the beach. The coconut rice was sweet but also a little tangy with raisins and the fish was super fresh and meaty. I don’t know that I’ve had a better meal. Especially because it was enjoyed on a sunny terrace with great company!

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Our last couple hours were spent in the Old City, shopping for gifts and enjoying some beers outside a cafe under the twilight.

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The entire city is magical and takes you back to simpler times. If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, then Cartagena is a must! There are a number of 5-star romantic-feeling boutique hotels within the city, but backpackers or budget travelers can find some great hostels inside and outside the city. It’s very tourist friendly, and you’ll find people from all over the world there. I must warn you: DO NOT DRINK THE WATER FROM THE TAP/DO NOT EAT VEGGIES OR FRUITS WASHED WITH TAP WATER/CEVICHE FROM ANY OLD VENDOR. And I’ll leave it at that!

One last look at the gorgeous old city as our cab pulled us off to the airport…

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Midweek Getaway

When people hear you’re traveling to Colombia, they instantly think you’re going to be lounging on a beach or swinging on a hammock in the middle of the jungle. Both are possible activities here, but neither of which I had intended for us to do. In fact, Bogota is usually a pretty cool, rainy place where a jacket is almost always needed, but somehow we got extremely lucky and it’s only been sunny and 70 degrees!

Despite that, I knew that Tyler needed to see at least one other part of Colombia. After a quick peruse at a local airlines, we saw that a flight to the Caribbean was only $300 round trip… for the BOTH OF US! We couldn’t not go, so that was how our last minute trip to Cartagena began! #yolo

Early Monday morning we Uber’d to the airport and landed bright and early in the vibrant and extremely hot city. My aunt was too kind and lent us her (beachfront!) apartment for a couple nights, so we headed straight there to begin proper relaxation.

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Seriously, look at that view! I knew we’d have few issues the next few days.

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We grabbed a quick lunch at El Corral (think Colombia’s In-n-Out, but fresher and less greasy–and definitely less photogenic)… Can you guess who’s who in the awesome mural?

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After, we walked around our new neighborhood before taking a nap in the hammocks… After our siesta we headed to the la ciudad vieja (the Old City), which was just a short cab ride away.

In the 1500s, Cartagena was the main trading/political port for the Spanish Empire (become home to many of Spain’s royalty and elite) and was key to its expansion. In fact, pirates of the Caribbean is most closely associated with the old city. To protect the city from attacks and invaders, a giant stone wall was built around the entire city as a fortress (called the muralla); within it is a gorgeous city with picturesque buildings and romantic winding streets and horse drawn carriages.

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If you walk to the wall, you can climb on top and check out the awesome canons.

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At the top of the wall is the Cafe del Mar, which boasts an epic view of the ocean. We got there right before sunset and grabbed a table to enjoy the view. The ambiance and energy is pretty amazing, to say the least. The speakers blast romantic, lounge music and you’re free to sit back with a cold drink and watch the sun set with others along the wall.

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It’s a little pricey since it’s one of the more popular spots in the Old City and it can be crowded right before sun down, but the view is worth it and it makes for a great photo opp.

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After the sun set, we continued to stroll the streets finding beauty (literally) around every corner.

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The history of the city is rich and full of excitement, but I’ll let you read the wiki for yourself here.

For dinner we walked outside the city for ceviche in front of the Torre de Reloj (clock tower), from a cool dude and his cart. It’s a little risky to take whatever ceviche you find on the street, but he came recommended by my uncle. We had a traditional mix of shrimp and sea snail with tomato, mayo, and chili and lime. Amazinggg.

We headed back to apartment with a bottle of rum and coke for a night of Cuba Libres and Spanish music videos.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our getaway!

 

The Greatest Party You’ll Ever Find…

Tyty is being a little shy and doesn’t want to do a guest post, so I’ll continue writing… (WARNING: This is a long post, so settle into the couch and get comfy).

After our day of museum hopping, we headed over to my uncle’s house to make homemade pizzas with the cousins and grab a few drinks at a cool Cuban bar, which played live salsa…. Tyty’s not into dancing (lame) soo we moved on to another bar in hopes to catch up with my other uncle…

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After an extremely long Friday night (ahem… we didn’t get home til 7 am), we headed over to my family’s country club (Los Lagartos) on Saturday morning so Tyler and my uncle could play some golf and I could grab lunch and chill with my cousin. Of course, I left my camera at the my uncles, so pics of the club are limited, but Tyler got a couple good ones on the course…

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Surprisingly, Tyler was still standing after 4 hours of sleep and having walked 18 holes.

We had plans that night to show him the most epic Colombian party. If you’ve been to Colombia, you’ve probably been to (and definitely heard of) Andres Carne de Res. It’s a small truck stop BBQ joint turned major party house! The owner, (coincidentally named Andres Jaramillo, but NOT my dad), is an eccentric artist who turned a common roadside lunch stop just outside Bogota into one of the most energetic and exciting BBQ restaurants/night clubs/party spots/bars in the world.

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In about 30 years, the roadside stop grew rapidly in popularity and size, with the only way to describe it as EPIC. The location has grown immensely with wooden community-style tables crammed close together and numerous large kitchens in a number of “dining halls”. The place easily packs 1500 partiers… if not more.

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The owner designed the entire place with his eccentric and eclectic style, hanging crazy light fixtures and decorations from the walls and ceilings. The entire place flashes with Christmas lights and neon signs with quirky sayings “Por favor baile, pero no en las mesas” (Please dance, but not on the tables). There are numerous dance floors throughout the place, but many people say fuck it, and start dancing in between the tables around them.

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Loud dance music blares in each room, while dancers and clowns (not the scary kind though) conga through the entire restaurant.

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The food is delicious and traditional of Colombian family-style BBQs and drinks are poured strong. We started with typical appetizers of the region like chorizo, chicharon (fried pork skins), potatoes, arepa chocolo (sweet corn arepas with cream cheese… AMAZING), and patacones (fried plantain chips) and a couple pitchers of sangria!

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It’s definitely a tourist destination, but not in the obnoxious, trappy way. Instead, it’s Colombians wanting to show their foreign friends good food, great dancing, and an awesome party. Because of this, you hear a variety of languages from Spanish, to English, Portuguese, Swedish, and Chinese, plus a hundred more! Every other person you meet is someone traveling abroad and exploring Andres Carne de Res on their way. If the restaurant catches wind of an extranjero (foreigner) or that you’re celebrating something, they send a personal band your way to sing a welcome song complete with confetti, dancers, and ribbons to make a pretty big deal about you. Of course they heard about us and immediately came our way!

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After a quick and hilarious serenade, our plates of grilled and BBQ’d meats came to the table steaming and sizzling; making as much of a scene as our private band had!

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DSCN0243Pretty soon the party was hopping all around us and the music got louder and louder, and the people got drunker and drunker.

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It’s definitely a sight to see! It’s recommended to get there early, as most of the good tables around the dance floor get taken pretty quickly. If you ever find yourself in Bogota, promise me you’ll go to Andres and experience a real party!!

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Bogota, El Centro.

This weekend we did a spot of cultural checking out. Wednesday we went to El Centro (The Centro), which is the oldest part of the city, known for its governmental buildings and historical locations and classic Colombian neighborhoods. We spent a good part of the afternoon exploring one of the city’s most famous locations: El Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), which holds thousands of pre-Columbian/pre-Hispanic gold artifacts and is the largest gold collection in the world.

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Afterwards, we skipped across a plaza or two over to the Museo Botero, which houses an amazing collection of Fernando Botero’s (famous Colombian artist) art, along with other works by artists like Renoir, Picasso, Monet, and Degas.

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Today we’re headed to Cartagena for a couple days, where more adventures and food await us… See you Wednesday!

Travels Abroad: Colombia

Well, as promised to various family and friends, I’ll be blogging about our (me and Tyty) trip to Colombia!

My grandpa is getting married at the end of our trip, so we decided to fly down, do a bit of exploring in Bogota and outside the city while hanging out with my family. The journey’s about 8 hours by plane, so we watched a lot of inflight TV and ate snacks. (Btw, Broadchurch on BBC, is a brilliantly addictive and suspenseful show!).

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I got a fancy new blogger’s camera for my birthday this year (thanks Dad!) and figured it was the perfect excuse to dive back into blogging…. however, I’m still trying to figure the camera out and learn all the settings. Bare with me, I promise the pictures will improve over the week.

When we landed, it was 5 til midnight and we were greeted by my uncle and grandpa at the gate. The biggest  surprise? It was soo warm! Bogota is not known for tropical, sunny climates like the rest of the country. It’s typically rainy and a little cold, so the warmth was a pleasant surprise coming from 30 degree weather in Boulder.

We tried our best to fall asleep quickly so the next day we could begin exploring. After a simple and delicious breakfast (fresh juice, cheese and arepa), we were off! We started with a long walk through a popular neighborhood, called La Zona G, that was pretty close to my grandpa’s house. Tyler pointed out something I’ve always noticed but never thought about: constant construction. It’s a true sign that  a lot is happening in this city and it’s continuing to grow exponentially in very positive ways. Each neighborhood here is beginning to take the shape of its inhabitants, reflecting subcultures, socio-economic backgrounds, and cultural interests–much like you might find in NYC or LA.

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Soon after we found ourselves in front of Bogota Beer Company, a local microbrewery with a couple British-style pub locations around the city. The beer was excellent (similar to an Oscar Blues brew), and we may have underestimated the power of altitude…

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Afterwards, we caught up with some family and later headed to my birthday dinner (yup, my bday was yesterday) with my gramps and aunts and uncles in a great part of town called “Usaquén”. It’s considered a historic district in Bogota, so very few changes have been to the infrastructure. Cobble stone streets leading to old colonial style homes and buildings, with high walls and courtyards, now house shops and chic restaurants. It has become a foodie mecca with all the hottest restaurants and bars opening in this area.

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The next day was spent playing golf at the country club and hanging out with my little cousins before a big lunch (of traditional Colombian dishes) at my great-grandma’s house. Needing to digest such a big lunch, we slowly made our way back home, stopping for ice cream at one of my favorites: Crepes and Waffles (seriously, best pistachio ice cream ever), and a wine and cheese night with the fam.

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So far, I think Tyty’s enjoying his time….But maybe he should do a guest blogger segment this week?

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