The boys had two weeks off at the end of July and Marnie's nephew, Spencer, was visiting from Indiana so we decided to leave gray Lima and head north to Colombia, the first time we've been north of the equator in the last two years.
In spite of the negative press the country has gotten in the last decade, we found a beautiful country full of kind, friendly and gracious people with no signs of drug cartels or civil war. Marnie, as usual, laid out a trip with something for everyone and time to relax, too. The four blue stars on the map display our destinations and illustrate how we went from the mountains to the north coast.
The horseback ride was great--the best kept and trained horses we've been on, beautiful scenery and the dueno liked his horses to get exercise so the boys got to run the horses extensively, much to their delight.
The horses were as competitive as the boys so they didn't want to quit running. We also got to ride across a river a lot higher than ankle deep for the horses. Take a look at Finn and you will see the water was ankle deep for the rider.
Simon Bolivar park is a tranquil, shady place to rest on a hot, sunny day. And then on Sunday it becomes the center of a dance competition between groups vying for tips. The music coming from the relatively few musicians is enough to rock the house while the energy of the dancers is frenetic. A very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
The city grew slowly until relatively recently. Like Lima, rural populations fleeing contending rebel factions and drug cartels have pushed rapid population growth. If you read the papers you know that the Colombian government is in negotiations with the FARC to end what may be the world's longest running insurrection which dates back to 1948. In spite of related problems, we found a charming city with friendly people.