Tag Archives: Backpacking

Adios Brooklyn, Hola Colombia!!

Sooooo, COLOMBIA!!! It’s kind of awesome. I’m here with my friend Marley, and after a 4 hour delay and no movies in the airplane (Jet Blue gave us a nice credit for our troubles) we made it to Bogota, Colombia! Right off the bat it was an adventure, as we couldn’t locate the shuttle that we had ordered to ease our transition into the world of Spanish speakers. None-the-less, we managed to get into a legit taxi and bargain them down to a reasonable price and get to our hostel at the early hour of Midnight! We’re staying at Destino Nomada in the Candelaria district, which is kind of the old town center. They’ve got some silhouettes in case you aren’t sure what to do in the facilities.

Bathroom Silhouette

Shower Silhouette

The first day Marley and I woke up bright and early and walked and walked around the city. We got a ‘typical breakfast’ and watched the people walking around us, explored the supermarket, and did the ‘walking tour’ in the guidebook. Near the end we just started wandering, and noticed a cathedral at the top of a hill. After consulting a map and my guidebook (tourist alert!), we discovered it’s the Cerro de Montserrate.

Me and the cable car

Cerro de Montserrate from the cable car on the way up.

Buisness district of Bogota from Montserrate.

On our way down we wandered into The Warehouse Art, a gallery that had a great photography exhibit (I wrote the artist in my notebook, but of course that’s not near me now).

The Warehouse.Art . . . free art!

We made it back to the hostel, where we had some drinks and went out in La Zona Rosa, which is far away from where we were staying. It was fun, we partook in the traditional Aguardiente shots (tastes like anise), and stayed out nice and late.

Next day we went to La Catedral de Sol (the Salt Cathedral) in Zipiquira, about an hour outside the city. If nothing else exciting happens, I’ll share some pictures next time I get a chance.
Heading to Medellin today, and then La Zona Cafetera (the coffee growing region). So far so good, and looking forward to seeing some new sites and meeting new people!

(forgive my lack of accents…I don’t know how to add them with this PC computer!)

Heading Down Guatemala Way

I am right now in the final days of preparation before heading off to GUATEMALA!!!

I will be refreshing my spanish language skills and volunteering in Quetzaltenango (Xela, pronounced: Shay-la, for short), Guatemala for 4 weeks this summer.

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (probably technically under the 'Guatemala' label for the capital city).

I will be heading off with one of my college friends, Stacy, so I’m sure you’ll hear her name a bunch in future posts. Right now we are editing our backpacks. Although we will both be spending 4 weeks living with our respective host families we are hoping to change our return flights and do a little traveling. Luckily, despite many homes in Central American countries being featured on House Hunters International (HGTV Channel), it is still an extremely affordable place to travel and stay, even for two broke PhD students. We want to make sure we don’t have too much extra junk in our packs if we’re going to be hauling them around for a week or so.

We will be learning Spanish and volunteering through Pop Wuj (pronounced: pope woo). I’ve mentioned them previously, when I hinted at this trip. For less than it costs to live in New York City for one month we will be provided with a private room, 3 square meals a day, potable water, Spanish lessons, wireless internet (it is 2010 after all), social work experience and, of course, a great life experience.

Sinkhole in Guatemala City

My parents are somewhat worried about the state of affairs in Guatemala, what with the huge sinkhole, the landslides due to tropical storms and volcanoes erupting. To appease them and for peace of mind (and because I didn’t get any vaccinations) I purchased a travel health insurance plan for the duration of the trip. Although I typically don’t purchase any of type of travel insurance, considering I’ll be spending a month in a location where hepatitis and typhoid fever are possibilities (although unlikely), it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus its great because I can use it for anything, not just emergencies. Instead of suffering through a cold and missing out on any great experiences I can just hop over to a doctor for some medicine and it’s 100% covered. And it covers lost luggage which is excellent considering I’m nervous about our luggage making the connection.

I finished my most important pre-excursion ritual Thursday (Manicure/Pedicure at my favorite salon in the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley Plaza), so now I’m going to finish packing and run some last-minute errands before heading south on Sunday!

A Little About Me

Hello.

I enjoy traveling to new places and getting the opportunity to enjoy new foods, new cultures and meet new people. I have been lucky enough to travel around Europe and Argentina through Ski With Charlie, a Ski Tour Group based out of Whitinsville, MA. Although I’m not the most avid snowboarder, I do enjoy shusssshing down a European Alp or two, especially when I attempt to go off piste and immediately get bogged down in the powder. My Mother and Sister are ski fanatics, who can’t fathom that I wouldn’t want to ski every day of the trip. How could I though? There are always side trips offering day trips to cities and towns I’ve never been, and opportunities for me to see new and interesting things.

I also got to feed the travel bug by backpacking through Europe with two of my good friends from college. We travelled by train and car from Paris, France to Heidelberg, Germany to Munich, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic to Salzburg, Austria to Ljubljana, Slovenia to Zagreb, Croatia to Split, Croatia to Rome, Italy to Florence, Italy to Nice, France and back to Paris, France for our return flight. We hit each city for a day or three, and completed the trip in 3 weeks. It was an adventure particularly because we hadn’t spent such an extended amount of time together in years, and here we were living and budgeting together in extremely close quarters for 3 weeks.Lets just say we’re lucky we’re still talking to one another.

Plitvicka Jezera National Park, Croatia. Photograph by Elizabeth Chesebrough.

Town Hall, Munich, Germany. Photograph by Elizabeth Chesebrough.

I’m heading off to Europe in about two weeks, and I am getting very excited for this trip. I have decided to start this blog as an exercise, to see how disciplined I can be about posting, and how interesting I can make it. I know that this post is falling on the dry side, but it’s hard to start out! I want to backpack around Central and South America this summer, before hopefully beginning a PhD program in Earth and Environmental Science in the CUNY school system. If I can make my future eurotrip to Ischgl, Austria; Prague, Czech Republic; and Paris, France interesting enough blog fodder, than I might document my future backpacking adventure for your enjoyment as well. Actually, I’ll probably document the trip no matter the outcome of my future blogging exercise, but I suppose if I can make this trip sound exciting enough perhaps you will read about my future one as well!