Your lodgings are booked, your boarding pass is fidgeting on the display of yet another new mobile, and that “Learn Spanish Pronto” app is now successfully doing the rounds at the office. Without a doubt, you are as prepared for your forthcoming fantastic tour in Colombia as the first astronauts were before being jettisoned into space for the very first time, regardless of the fact that they were either just a dog or a chimp in a spacesuit.
However, as any seasoned world traveler will tell you, you can never be too prepared. So, before your Colombian travels, and certainly before you cancel the milk, turn the gas off, and tell your only really trusted neighbor to be on the lookout for parcels (bloody Amazon…), take a few moments to consider what follows: 20, yes 20, truly weird facts about Colombia to amaze you, intrigue you, and basically, gen you up to the max.
Be amazed, be intrigued, be beguiled, be a little grossed out.
Yes, you can never be too prepared. So, what follows will sit on your shoulder like an all-knowing and all-seeing angel as you head off into the stunning beauty, natural wonder and sheer salsa-infused magic that will be your tour in Colombia. Let’s begin…
#1 Pitiful Columbus
Colombia is named after the intrepid explorer, navigator and somewhat unfortunate man that was Christopher Columbus, who sadly died not knowing he had actually discovered the great New World (and not just some tip of distant Asia). He wasn’t alone, however – nobody else back then knew it either.
In fact (see what I did there?), he’s actually quoted as once saying, “For the execution of the voyage to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps.” Well, he deserved everything he got then, which wasn’t much. So, at least, you can head off on your travels to Colombia knowing you’re far better prepared than he ever was.
Never seeing the true wealth normally bestowed on those who make such discoveries, Columbus died pretty broke and in serious pain from a condition called “reactive arthritis,” which is actually curable now. If ever a guy needed a time machine….
#2 “Duty Before Life”
It’s the law in Colombia that all radio and public television broadcast companies play the national anthem twice a day – this is done at 6am (when it gets light) and 6pm (when it gets dark). Handy for telling the time if you’re between mobiles.
The Colombian national anthem – O, Unfading Glory! – is a tale of daring-do to say the least, focusing on the country’s fight for independence. So, prior to your Colombian tour, why not learn the words? You can find the spirited lyrics to it here.