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My Colombia Trip and What’s Coming Next

Hello, photography enthusiasts and loyal Digital Photo Mentor readers.

In mid-January, I headed down to Colombia to study Spanish for four weeks at Toucan Spanish School (which I highly recommend!). I went to the stunningly gorgeous city of Medellín, home of Pablo Escobar and the bad history that went with that. The city has changed a lot since those times and is a vibrant, safe, and exciting place to visit or live (I could live there in a heartbeat).

Note: ALL the photos in this article were all taken with my phone, the Samsung S7 – it has a great camera! 

One of the many green spaces in the city of Medellin.
A city known for supporting graffiti artists – they pay them even, and provide space for their art. Makes the city really colorful.
My Spanish class week #1 was very international. It included myself (Canadian), Matt and Yasmine (on the left from USA), Chris from Switzerland, Munzi from Korea, and Gregory from Trinidad.
Traditional Colombian soup called ajiaco.
More great food – seared tuna with sesame seeds and quinoa with a great glass of Argentinean rose.
More green spaces.
Waterfalls and creeks flow right through the neighborhood.

My Spanish class even took a field trip to the local market on our last week of week one. It was great – we had to interview someone who worked in the market and find out about them – in Spanish of course! I even bought two bags full of amazing fruits and veggies to take home.

Can you name all these fruits?
I could not identify the large brown lumpy root thing in the front.
They don't refrigerate their eggs there. Is very common in Latin American countries.
SO many limes!

I was loving the city and looking forward to the rest of my time there. Some of you who live in Medellín even reached out to me to get together, maybe do a photo walk or class. I'd have really loved that.

But . . . then this happened!

The Colombian Incident

If you've been reading the site for a while you may recall a while back reading about the Peru Incident. Well, unfortunately, there has been another South American incident (tengo mala suerte). Only eight days after I got there, I managed to break my ankle – no joke!

I wasn't even doing something dangerous or exciting. I just came out of the bathroom and slipped on a wet floor.

Doctor Santiago – I got excellent medical care there.

My first ankle splint – broken!

I had been in Medellín a week and hadn't really seen much of the city other than my neighborhood, so I decided to take a street food tour. Here are some photos (and a video – we had to take the Metro, a tram, and the cable car to get up there) on our way up to the top of the city.

About 15 minutes before my accident. Was a great view!
I bought some baked goods from that place across the street, Panaderia la Estacion. It was good!

So – what happens next?

As you may have noticed I haven't written an article in a little while. Now you know why. I ended up having to fly home almost two weeks early and my husband came down to Colombia to help me. I did manage to finish my four weeks of Spanish classes, so I'm feeling good about that. But I missed out on living there and having the full experience.

Medellín I will be back – I promise!

I will return to Colombia again. I'm not sure when but soon, I promise. Before I go I'll let you all know and if you live in the area we can make a plan to meet up and have a photo walk or impromptu class – maybe I'll even do it en español!

Special thanks

I'd like to say a special thank you to Isabel (my Colombian friend – if you're reading this, “muchísimas gracias por todo, espero de verte en agosto en el campamento GLP .”) who was so helpful connecting me with people there including a driver and her friend Marina (that I was supposed to meet the day of my accident) who was willing to come be with me at the hospital and helped me order my medicine, and I never did meet her in person!

To Rob – my landlord at the apartment I rented, for being patient with all my weird requests and needs and being so accommodating when my husband had to come down, and I left early. Of course to my husband, also Rob, for coming to get me and for being my knight in shining armor – love you!

Thank you to Dr. Luz Naranjo who came and did a house call at my apartment when I was worried about my foot. She was very helpful and reassuring. She even went above and beyond the call of duty and delivered me some soup her mother had made when I was having trouble ordering delivery online. That's not her job, she is just a nice person.

Dr. Naranjo – great doctor, extra nice person.

Overall the people of Medellín were kind, caring and helpful. Even taxi and Uber drivers helped me in and out of cars and buildings, and the doorman at the apartment and one driver offered to carry me up two flights of stairs on a plastic chair (I declined but it was a nice gesture). The staff at Toucan Spanish School were great, even willing to move my class to a different room to suit my needs.

So I hope to get back to writing soon, but you may see a few guest articles from more helpful people as well (if you have something you'd like to contribute for readers – contact me here). Give them your full attention and learn from them too. It's good to have many teachers and mentors so this is a good chance to do that. Keep reading – I'm here – just going a bit slowly these days. So be patient with me for a couple months – I'll do my best to keep sending you photography tips.

En Español

Si usted puede leer esto – espero estar escribiendo en español pronto y tal vez incluso hacer algunos tutoriales bilingües para usted. Me encanta tu idioma y tu cultura – si quieres dejar un comentario abajo en español y te responderé!



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  • Roopesh Dubey

    Sorry to hear you got hurt. Wishing you speedy recovery. Looks like a great tourist place to visit. Nice pics. Looks like you picked lot of español.

    • It’s a fantastic place to visit or stay longer! I plan on going back for a couple months.

  • Sounds like a wonderful trip, minus your accident! Sorry to hear that, Darlene. Hope you get back on your feet (both of them!) real soon.

  • Cesar

    Hola Darlene! I’m a native Spanish speaker, and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed learning and experiencing the culture. I agree with you, Medellín is an amazing city, not too big and with plenty of things to see and do. I felt the same the first time I visited, I could move there just like that! Perfect weather, lovely people, lots of activities, you name it!
    Tu español es muy bueno, has aprendido bien! Dicen que en Colombia se habla el mejor español para que un extranjero aprenda… no lo sé, quizás, pero lo que puedo decir es que su acento, especialmente el de los paisas (o las paisas para ser exactos…) me resulta muy agradable al oído! 😉
    Te deseo lo mejor, y que te recuperes pronto de tu tobillo!

    • Cesar, gracias y es verdad, he aprendido mucho! Y tambien es verdad que los Colombianos hablan más despacio y con más claridad que otros países, y es mejor para aprender español.

  • Adriana Reyes

    Darlene, sigo tu página hace varios meses. Soy Colombiana y me emocioné mucho mientras leía sobre tu experiencia en mi hermoso país. Siento mucho que hayas tenido que regresar a casa antes de lo previsto, pero me alegra saber que te llevaste una imagen positiva de Colombia y su gente, y muchos buenos recuerdos.
    Gracias por compartir con tus lectores todos tus conocimientos sobre fotografía y tus aventuras por el mundo!
    Adriana Reyes

    • Adriana – donde vives? Gracias, si te amo Colombia y la gente Colombiano. Aprendí mucho español y comprendí todo su mensaje sin usar “google translate”! LOL

  • Andrés Escobar Montoya

    Hola Darlene espero ser de ayuda en tu próximo viaje ya que vivo en Medellín… Mejor suerte la próxima vez que vengas y que puedas disfrutar mas tiempo, pero sobretodo, tomar fotos muchas fotos….

    • Si gracias – necesito mejor suerte la próxima vez, es cierto! Hasta pronto espero! Escribiré antes de viajar allí de nuevo, leer mis boletines.

  • Darlene that’s definitely a challenging trip! Wishing you a speedy recovery and looking forward to when your back writing. Medellín sounds fascinating, love to see more pictures.

    • Thanks – I did manage to take a few with my “real” camera. I will post them when I get a chance.

  • Richard Duckworth

    Ojala que se mejore pronto

  • Prue

    Hope you recover soon. What a disappointment for you!

  • Gracias Oriana! Yo he visto su pagina – me gustó sus fotos de viajes. Quiero visitar algunas de los mismos países a los que viajó.

  • Richard Forsyth

    Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery

  • BazzaBoy

    All the best from Perth, Western Australia.

  • John McCubbin

    What luck, Darlene! So sorry to hear this – please accept my best wishes for quick recovery. God bless!

  • Terry Titmarsh

    Broken ankles are really six month injuries, unfortunately, with the last couple of months getting confidence back. My wife has recently had such an injury. However look on the bright side and enjoy the attention of your husband, and just accept his ministrations, washing techniques, vacuuming skills (or lack of), and if like me, no ironing skills. Shower time could get interesting.

    • UGH I certainly hope not – can’t afford that. I’ll have to work extra hard.

  • It was sad to hear about the ankle injury, Darlene. Wish you speedy recovery.

  • Armando Garcia

    Hola Darlene, espero te recuperes pronto para que regreses a esta hermosa ciudad y hagamos un foto-paseo. Hope I’ll see you soon. !!

  • Hernan Camilo Tobon Sepulveda

    It’s good to know you enjoyed my homeland, if you’re coming back and think of doing any workshops or photowalks I would love to be in… by the way, too bad on the girl who was telling you not to take out your cellphones or cameras while up there, it’s better to trust and connect with people, bad things happen in any part of the city, in any city and people here are surprisingly friendly.
    Hope you get well soon and get back on (both) your feet

    • Thanks, But how did you know that? I didn’t say anything about taking out cameras there.

      • Hernan Camilo Tobon Sepulveda

        easy, it can be heard on the video 😉

  • Julie St.John

    So Sorry about your ankle. I broke four bones in my foot our first day of vacation in Mexico. We decided to stay and my husband set me up on a balcony or under a palapa or by the pool each day. I used the time to take pictures from where I sat. It made for an interesting assignment and some fun pictures and memories. I hope you get better soon.

    • Ouch, sorry to hear that. How long did it take to heal?

      • Julie St.John

        About 4 months. A year before I could wear anything but tennis shoes. I hope you heal fast and well.

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