Although the hotel was nice enough, and cheap $20, it was a bit boring and I didn't feel entirely safe. I slept with a chair under the door knob and pepper spray on the bedside table. I booked a couple of nights at a popular hostel, and the next morning we packed our backpacks and had a 30 minute walk to the Kasa Guane. I was quite proud of myself for managing to find it among the twisting streets.
Our room is not as nice as at the hotel, just a bed with a fan and shared bath, but the hostal has fun common areas where you can meet other travelers. It also has a shared kitchen so we were able to buy a few groceries and prepare meals, a welcome change from eating out. At the top of a very steep staircase is a lounge area with a huge tv, pool table and great seating on a balcony. At $15 a night it is also a real bargain, but best of all it feels very safe and the staff are very helpful.
Sunday we enjoyed a stroll in the Parque de Flora. It was supposed to be a picnic, but as it turned out there was nowhere to grab a sandwich nearby, so we had to settle for a bag of chips, poor planning on my part. I was somewhat redeemed as on the way back from the park I agreed to stop at a giant mall, every fourteen year old girls dream. We didn't buy anything because, really, what else can we fit in our already overstuffed packs, but Coleen enjoyed it. I also made her favorite dinner in the hostel kitchen. I spent the evening watching the Super Bowl in spanish, with commericals for cookies from Uraguay and Colombian pasta. It was fun though hanging out with other travelers.
Today we rode our first city bus and for 75 cents had a 30 minute ride to Floridablanca. Our goal was to hike 8 kilometers through the mountains to a place called Montefiore. I had to ask directions a few times, and each person I asked shook their head and said it was too far and steep, while pointing the way. It turns out they were right, it was a tough hike and after 3 hours we had our picnic lunch (this time I brought sandwiches) and then soaked our feet at the base of a waterfall, before turning back. Although we didn't make our goal we still had a great time and saw lots of colorful butterflies and birds.
One thing I had not considered was how to find the bus to go back to the hostel! Lucky for us a very nice young man, overheard our dilemma and after trying to describe how to get to the right bus stop, just said, follow me, walked us there and made sure we got on the right bus! It was 5 blocks out of his way. Just another example of the friendly Colombians.