Alumni Travel to Colombia with Mrs. Unger

Nicole Downing

“This summer, my friend Wintha and I took the trip of a lifetime. For a long time, we had wanted to go to Colombia with Mrs. Unger in order to see what it was all about. We wanted a chance to see a new country, experience the culture, and to practice the beautiful language of Español. Finally, three years after graduating from Goretti, we were finally able to achieve that goal.

While in Colombia, Wintha and I stayed with Mrs. Unger at her mother’s house in the city of Medellín. Medellín is known as “the city of eternal spring” because the weather is always around 70s to 80s. Despite the warm weather and need to walk everywhere, nobody (except tourists) wears shorts in Medellín. Luckily, thanks to doing prior research before leaving, I had come prepared and packed appropriate clothing so I wouldn’t stand out even more than I already would with my light hair and skin. The people in Colombia were all extremely nice. They never made us feel stupid when we were unsure of how to say something in Spanish. They were very eager to help us learn their language and to show us their rich culture.

One of the major parts of their culture is their delicious food. They have many wonderful fruits and fruit juices that we do not have here. Maracuyá (passion fruit) juice and mora (blackberry) juice are two common ones. The meal that they are best known for is the “bandeja paisa” which consists of an arepa (a flat “pancake” made of cornmeal), beans, avocado, rice, fried eggs, and chicharrón (fried pork). It’s cheap and absolutely delicious! In fact, all the food there was cheap and delicious. Thanks to the strength of the dollar, it’s incredibly cheap to travel to Colombia compared to other countries. $1 US dollar is about $3 in Colombia (3000 pesos).

Wintha and I were also lucky to see many touristy sites. We went to Pueblito Paisa (Little Town) which was exactly as the name says. There we ate obleas (wafers with toppings in the middle, such as arequipe) and strawberries with cream. We got to ride on the famous Metrocable, a gondola lift system attached to the metro that looks like a giant sky ride and takes you over the entire city. We also took a tour of a beautiful historic castle (Museo El Castillo). We took lots of pictures with the statues in Plazo Botero, as well as spent time in the many parks such as Parque Lleras and Parque El Poblado.

Overall, I had an absolutely wonderful trip to Colombia. It was a privilege to get to visit such a beautiful, underrated country. Wintha and I were welcomed with open arms, and we did not leave disappointed. We made memories we will never forget. I will undoubtedly return again in the future.”

Wintha Fessuh

“We spent 10 days in the beautiful city of El Poblado in Medellin, Colombia, filled with rich culture, tourism, and fresh food. On our first day, Senora gave us a walking tour of the city, where we encountered our soon to be popular spot, “El Parque del Poblado”. The park was a popular hanging spot for mostly young people and tourists. And, surprisingly enough we weren’t the only tourists visiting Medellin, considering it was one of the most visited cities by tourists in all of Colombia. On the second day of our trip, we walked around the city, preferably on Calle 10; this street went for blocks and blocks and had all the restaurants and convenience stores.

Nicole and I stayed with Senora and her mother, Dona Lucy in her apartment. She had two very nice maids—Mariela and Noralei. Although everyone spoke solely in Spanish, Nicole and I tried our best to communicate with everyone we encountered. Mariela and Noralei cooked us wonderful breakfast every day we were there; which consisted of eggs, “quesito” (cheese), arepas (mini tortillas made of corn flour), and hot chocolate. Nicole and I ate out for lunch and dinner almost every single day. My favorite dish was Colombia’s national dishbandeja paisa”. This cuisine consisted of fried plantains, rice, salad, chicharron (pork), tomatoes, black pudding, frijoles (beans), fried eggs, and arepas. What I especially liked about the food in general while we were in Colombia was how everything was made fresh and straight from hand; unlike in the United States where mostly everything is processed.

In between our stay, we got a chance to hang out with Senora at one of El Poblado’s malls. For a quick snack, we went to the ice creamery from Crepes and Waffles and walked around for a while. The next day, all three of us went to the movies and saw a drama called “Gifted” starring Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer. It was a very emotional and awesome movie and I was the only one that cried, unfortunately. We also went on a tour inside “El Castillo. Built in the 1930’s, this castle used to be the home to a very well-known wealthy family of Medellin, who brought the rich French arts and culture through the building of their home. The castle is surrounded by magnificent fountains and flourishing gardens, where many people are seen having picnics and enjoying the nice weather.

On our second to last day we decided to take a bus tour of the city. The tour was only 75.000 pesos, which is the equivalent of $13 USD. We got to see the sites, including “Los Boteros” which was an outdoor museum free to the public of famous sculptures created by the artist Fernando Botero. We also toured through a very popular and busy commercial district called “Plaza Bolivar”.

On our last day Nicole and I walked around almost all of Poblado, to make sure we didn’t miss anything and take everything in before we returned to the states. We decided to treat Senora, as a thank you for letting us stay with her and her mother, to lunch at good ole Crepes and Waffles. We all had (except Nicole), you guessed it—crepes. Although we were very sad to go we learned a lot about this beautiful city and its rich culture. I will forever be grateful that I had the chance and opportunity to travel to Colombia and especially thank Senora for her involvement in it. Medellin, “the city of eternal spring” will always have a place in my heart.”