VEGAN TRAVEL THROUGH MESMERIZING BEAUTY OF COLOMBIA!

Relaxing what a concept! First day in Bogota acclimating to High Elevation by rest, gym and lots of water.
Love in Cartagena



Why Colombia? I’ve been traveling alone or with my children for years. It’s been 3 years since going out of the country since COVID. My partner whom we share a home and children with, said, “We should go somewhere this year together. Had been getting pictures of the backcountry beauty of Medellín from my ex-boyfriend (on his motorcycle rides) and showing him, then he started sending Vegan food pics, and I showed my partner and he said, “Why don’t we go visit Billy?” We flew via Miami from SFO, landed in Medellín the next day. The flight arriving was such a lush green jungle, I’ve never seen so much beauty. I said in my instagram post, “I May Never Return, In Heaven.” Safety of Colombia is always like any country, you just need to be savvy and aware and know what to do. Billy gave me a lecture of things not to do, such as don’t go out at night, be savvy of your surroundings, and provided us with a “Bodyguard”, Jeffrey, who spoke bi-lingual and knew his way around everything. It was 2 weeks before we had left that we had the sad news that Billy was diagnosed with B cell non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, they removed his lymph gland and started chemo the day before after we arrived. It was such hard news to accept, but I believe the angels put us there to be with him at this time.

Upon arrival Jeffrey and Billy met us in the hotel lobby, we stayed at the Marquee Medellín, was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and blazer, and upon walking out of hotel wanted to shed these American layers,(I stood out a little too much) and popped into a local small designer store and threw on a Colombian dress. Billy took us to a small sweet cafe for the most delicious Colombian coffee. We talked for a long time he ordered cow’s milk, much to my surprise as this is the man that handed me the book, “Diet for a New America” which changed my life to to stop eating meat the day I read it; I had no idea that pigs were raised in gestation crates, the environmental toll, etc. After reading that book, I became depressed and had to see a psychologist who recommended I get pro-active. That’s where my life began as an Animal Rights Activist. So thank you Billy! I think? Sometimes I wish I didn’t know. Some truth hit hard as I care about him, I said, “You can research where to live that’s beautiful, great for motorcycles, medical care, etc.. but you can’t figure out that dairy is carcinogenic. I gave him the information from Biochemist in Nutrition from Dr. T. Colin Campbell why dairy is not healthy, (carcinogenic) especially during this phase of chemo to try to heal the body, and about “Whey Protein” and as much knowledge as I could hand him. It’s now in his hands to do the right thing.

He was excited to take us to dinner at Plant Based “Khaite” Restaurant, I ordered the Hummus Plate with Edamame and Bok Choy it was so beautiful the design of the restaurant and all the lush greenery everywhere you walk. The food was incredible! Back to the hotel as his next day was lined up for chemo, he wanted to rest. Our hotel was a gorgeous view of Medellín with a rooftop bar and pool. The only downside was the loud music going until 4 am from all the surrounding clubs. Sleep wasn’t great for me.

The best part of my morning was a walk around the corner to a hotel gym that had wide open windows and a vista of incredible views. Everyone seems so fit here. I worked with a trainer who actually, said, “You’re fit”, I was surprised because everyone around seemed so much fitter so it was nice to hear.

The next day Billy got hit hard by the chemo, and had to relax. So we decided to relax by pool, I don’t like to travel with agendas, just go with the flow. It was so gorgeous at the rooftop, the weather here year round is pretty much 76 degrees with showers in between. You could see the rain clouds from afar everything was so lush and beautiful. An exquisite day! Except of course Billy.

We headed to Justo Restaurant for dinner. It was such a gorgeous place, the wood work and floor to ceiling doors open with hanging lush plants scape I was in awe. They had amazing DJ’s. We ordered the Spring Rolls, a mushroom dish, and the most amazing soup. Was thinking of going Live on the page and tried to translate and the waitress kind of knew what I was saying and introduced us to the owner, Sebastian. He was so extra kind and a gentleman, he introduced himself and told us about his Organic farm not too far away that supplies the restaurant and his small vegan fresh food grocery there and also bulk items. He invited us to see the garden next time around. I decided not to film as it just didn’t feel right. It was an amazing decadently delicious meal and evening there. Walking back to the hotel was an adventure of people watching. It may seem like a dream but there were so many times I cried in between at the thought of what Billy is going through, I broke down at the gym crying earlier and many times today. All I can do is pray, and teach him food ideas. He already had the green juicing down with Wheat grass and high doses of Vitamin C.

The next day he was feeling better and picked us up and took us to dinner at shopping mall, it was at an organic market that had a restaurant with fantastic views. I ordered a lush salad, and my partner had an eggplant dish that was decadently delicious all of it. We walked around this huge mall and talked and looked around, Jeffrey too. He helps him out with paperwork and all the medical issues besides being a great human. Jeffrey told Fritz and I, once crying that he’s doing it because he lost his mother to cancer and it was so hard on him, it makes him feel like he’s helping someone and he is. It gave me some peace of mind that someone is there that cares about him.

We left with Jeffrey the next day for an adventure to the Botanical Gardens, before we left he lectured me on what not to do and how to act, driving there was so different from where we were staying, I started to get anxiety after his lecture and I wasn’t feeling safe in that area, I have PTSD it’s important to listen to your gut instincts, and so he drove us to a different Botanical Park that was so gorgeous and lush. We first visited the Plaza Botero full of famous statues by one of Latin America’s most celebrated artists, Fernando Botero, full of voluptuous ladies, fat cats, horses, etc. Jeffrey made me feel safe everywhere we went. If you ever visit you must have a guide like this!
Next stop was Paisa Village Botanical Gardens with art show of Betencourt, it was so lush and gorgeous and all the parks seem so well kept, the fauna beauty here is immense.


It was late afternoon around 3:00 pm and starving so we mapped out a vegan restaurant called, “Vegantopia Live Foods”, upon arrival the owner was standing at the door, it seemed to be in apartment complexes, He talked spanish to her, and you could see that she was saying “Sorry, we are closed.” Jeffrey sweet talked her into opening for us and she made the most delightful, delicious meal of lentil quinoa hot dogs, they were so good. We talked to them both. I explained what I did here in America like protesting; she said, they don’t do that here in Colombia they show with the food. I explained about how much change we’ve made with the fur industry by PETA and other Animal Rights Organizations direct action against specific designers, and how the fur industry is falling because of it. They thought that was so wonderful!

The next day we met Billy for a local art show and lunch. Both exquisite, there is always a vegan option here in Medellín it seems easy to be vegan here. It was a difficult goodbye. I wish him much healing love and light with angels protecting him always. The people here are so wonderful, kind and open-hearted I can’t tell you how much I felt at home with their kindness. Next stop Bogota.

BOGOTA

Bogota is at a higher elevation than even Lake Tahoe here where I tend to get altitude sickness, so it was a great day to relax, hydrate, eating vegan food and the gym. I slipped into Loungewear from a boutique in LA. I was reminded at the time of blogging it on Instagram that the last visit there, they had a fur coat that looked just like rabbit fur. I was surprised because the owner had been doing many faux furs, and when asking the girl she said, “Oh no, that’s definitely faux,” She went on to say, “Do you realize what an impact you’ve had on her designs from that letter you wrote a long time ago? She does all faux furs, faux silks, etc… I said, “That’s Amazing, I love hearing that!” Thank you!
( I inserted this because well thought out letters work!)

The next day an artist I’ve met up with in LA at three different art shows, two of them his, Alex Sastoque, all meetings were magical because he’s a kind human, a World Peace Promoter, Contemporary Artist, Painter, Sculptor interested in new visions, he’s art royalty. We had a driver take us to his studio in a lush area not far from the city. It was amazing 3 stories, the first floor was sculptors, and an exhibit from a famous artist. The second floor was his studio, you’ve never seen so much beauty in art and to see where he paints from was electrifiying, galactic. He showed us around. He didn’t know I was vegan and served dried meats. I didn’t say anything. I had also requested to see his brother, Jonathan, as we were friends on Instagram and loved his artwork too. So we all hung out together, more than enjoyed their art and company as he played latin music and played the drums. We all went out to eat together. We landed at a regular restaurant as I told him it shouldn’t be a problem most restaurants are accommodating to vegans. Well we got mushrooms with toast. I noticed just being quiet about it, had a strange affect, they were saying, “We know it’s not cool to eat meat for your spiritual body” things like “I wish Bogota was more vegan friendly” They wanted to try to eat more vegan just by being with us! They even ordered vegetarian no meat without me saying anything. They had the creamy mushrooms with toast. I liked that they were so polite and gracious about it.

Alex is known for “Cultivating Peace,” which fosters the idea of fighting wars with art. He is one of the most notable Colombian contemporary artists where he turns Renaissance Old Masters work into modern pieces of art, like “Mona Lisa”, “Rembrandt”, “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, just to name a few.

With Alex Sastoque and his artist Brother Jonathan Sastoque, Both famed artists.

GOLD RIFLE WITH SHUFFLE

Behind the golden assault rifle, it’s muzzle hammered out into a shovel blade, speaks volumes, even to someone like myself, who has only rudimentary knowledge of the 50 years of civil conflict that has ravaged Colombia and displaced more than five million from their homes in the last two decades.”


That day we had the mass shooting of 18 school children with assault rifle, I said “What the juxtaposition to share such a memorable evening holding this assault rifle made of gold with Peace Facilitator, Alex Sastoque only to awaken to more innocent children being killed. It was heartbreaking. Please donate to Everytown for Gun Safety. Thank you.

It was one of the most memorable evenings of my life. Just to be in awe of his work, and studio surroundings and a richly lush and beautiful country like Colombia.

We had been walking around the area where our hotel is and not much vegan, we ate at the hotel daily for breakfast, Granola, Fruit Salads, Hummus and Falafel platters, for the last 3 days, one we happened upon that served a vegan meal. Hummus and falafels are always great! I was later told it wasn’t a safe area to walk around but it didn’t look too bad to us. It was all so beautiful.

We drove around by the mountainside with driver, picked up a gift to bring with us to see Alex, the drive was stunning with rain and lots of doggie trucks that were so cute! One had a window seat for each dog, it seemed like a dog walker type trucks. Never saw anything like slaughter trucks or horror in the streets everything was tasteful, and colorful fruit stands everywhere.

Day 3

Muses del Oro, the gold Museum is a must of the rich gold and shamanic history a must- if you come! So much beauty and interesting history in one place, and the drive through Historical Old Town La Candelaria was stunning!

CARTAGENA

What a landing into the heat and beauty! Cartagena has an old world flavor of colorful buildings, beachside. We stayed at a converted monastery, Hotel Santa Teresa, it was a stunning hotel. The faux blue painted walls with tall ceilings, modern wood lamps framed the bed. The halls were stunning. I did some photography there it’s on my Instagram page.

You can walk the city you just have to politely tell the vendors, No but Gracias, and keep walking fast. There are so many beautiful historic buildings in this part. We found a great place to eat called “Alma.” We had hearts of palm salad which is a big dish there, Colombian Chickpea Dish that wasn’t that pretty but the flavors were amazing! Each day for lunch we ate at the hotel for a wonderful Brown rice dish with veggies. Vegan Protein was hard to come by for some reason. But we survived with amazing, delicious food.

The only downfall of Cartagena with all its beauty and lovely people, were the horse carriage rides, they were in sweltering heat of 91 degrees/rain by day and non-stop at night in traffic that would tailgate and swerve around them dangerously. When you know in your heart the suffering you try to stay away from it, so we didn’t venture out much at night, and I whispered to the horses during the day, I’m sorry they do this to you…… It was the only mistreatment of animals on the whole journey whew!

CARTAGENA WHERE THE CHERRIES ARE SWEET

Billy after Chemo we went to an Art Show the last day In Medellín
JEFFREY, OUR GUIDE, “BODYGUARD”, PARTNER AND KARENNA AT VEGANTOPIA LIVE FOODS, THEY OPENED FOR US AND WAS SO SWEET! JEFFREY WAS AMAZING!
The Sunsets are a most in Cartagena!

What the beautiful journey! I highly recommend Colombia to anyone, not to travel alone so much but you can always reach out to me on details and thank you for being here along for this journey called life! Viva la Colombia!
It seemed impossible to get the photos lined up under the category so here they are below. You can see more of the beauty of videos on Karenna Love Instagram. Hope you enjoy traveling here one day!

I’m not sure why people make being vegan so hard. Granola with Fresh Berries and Almond Milk, Fruit Salad and Almond Latte At Marquee Medellín.

At the Four Seasons Bogota was our staple for lunch and dinners, Falafels and Hummus, with Quinoa Veggie Bowl below.

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