A trip to Colombia from 20-29/02/2016

„Mi casa es tu casa“

Marcela Nieto, wife of the Colombian Ambassador to Berlin, H. E. Juan Mayr Maldonado, showed us “Colombia linda” during an unforgettable 10 day trip. This voyage was full of experiences, cultural contrasts, surprises and beauty. Bogotá, the capital city on 2600 metres altitude and with 9 million inhabitants, was the first challenge after arrival.  We profited from Marcela´s contacts in the city, her friends and family, and thus were able to see different aspects of this huge city.
The group was extremely fortunate to meet President Santo´s wife, María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera. We also met Colombian designers, visited galleries, ate in gourmet restaurants and toured amongst other things the Salt Cathedral and the Gold Museum. In the city of Armenia, we lived between coffee and banana trees in a converted plantation home. We were able to learn about coffee production in Colombia and were driven in jeeps through the National Park of Cocora Valley.
 
In Marcela´s hometown Medellin - also called the flower city – she had organized superb highlights. Private dinner parties were held and we were able to enjoy Colombian  hospitality at its best. Comuna 13, a former borough with enormous drug (and other) problems, was toured and we also were shown the longest outdoor escalator in the world. With the help of exemplary actions against criminality and poverty the city government was able to reinvigorate public life. Picnic in the Botanical Gardens and visiting the Modern Arts Museum as well as Museo casa de la Memoria again showed us different sides of Medellín. In Museo de Antioquia we gazed at the many pictures and enormous sculptures of the world-renowned artist Botero and happened to meet his son, Juan Carlos Botero.

The last two days were spent in Cartagena along the north shores of Colombia. We toured the historic centre on foot and by horse-drawn carriage and marvelled at the house of Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez.  We were once again invited to President Santos’ guesthouse. A motor boat brought us off shore to a most wonderful Carribean island in the „National Park of Corales del Rosario“. The trip back to the mainland will stay in our memories for quite a while.

A heartfelt „Thank you“ – also in the name of the Executive Board of Willkommen in Berlin – from the enthused participants of the trip is going to Marcela Nieto and S.E. Juan Mayr Maldonado. You both made incredible things possible for an unforgettable trip!

In the Palace of the President
Medellin
Islas del Rosario
Catagena