One of the great joys of travel is meeting new friends and learning about other cultures. One of the greatest discoveries is learning how similar we all are.
After posting about out trip to Colombia I received a message from my high school English teacher. Thank you Martha! She graciously told me about her son's in laws who live just outside Bogota and about their amazing hospitality. To make things even more delicious, she told me that they owned the best ice cream factory in Colombia! After putting us in contact with each other, our incredible trip became even better!
Carolina called to tell me that she was sending a driver to our hotel to bring us to their home outside the city. She said that her children were participating in a horse show that afternoon and that we might enjoy the local festival. What an understatement!
Eduardo, our driver, brought us to the incredible home of Carolina and her husband Pipe. A full lunch of chicken and beef tacos with fresh vegetables and juice was waiting when we arrived. Their precious children dressed in formal riding gear wanted to entertain us and pose for pics. Then, we piled into an SUV as another driver whisked us to the riding arena.
To our surprise, the horse show was actually more of a state fair with thousands of locals enjoying live entertainment, local arts and crafts, local food and drink, and stunning horsemanship.
At the event, Carolina introduced us to her parents, Gustavo and Adriana who insisted that we stay the night at their home. Another driver then took us to their home where Adriana prepared us traditional Colombian hot chocolate. We stayed up late telling stories and getting to know each other.
When we awoke, Gustavo and Adriana had planned our entire day. We walked to the family restaurant located on the edge of the compound for a traditional Colombian breakfast, which always includes several fresh squeezed juices.
After breakfast, Gustavo and Adriana drove us to the neighboring city of Zipaquira where we could tour the famous Salt Cathedral of Colombia, a massive Catholic cathedral carved in the salt mines deep under a mountain. The artistry and devotion of the miners was on full display in stunning works of art carved in salt.
After the tour, we enjoyed the sights of the plazas and squares of the old towns in the area. We returned to the family restaurant for another traditional Colombian meal of tamale and beef and dessert of the family's own delicious ice cream.
Instead of taking us back to our hotel, Adriana again insisted that we stay the night at her beautiful home. "Tomorrow is Sunday and we have mass at the chapel on our property. Friends and family will all be here and after mass we eat and enjoy the company of friends and family. You must stay!"