Taking The Adventure

A travel blog by kids, for kids (and their parents)

5 Things to do on a Rainy Bogota Day

1.  Make a delicious, warming Ajiaco soup. Widely renowned as the symbolic dish of Colombia, this soup incorporates up to three different types of potato, one of Colombia’s biggest crops!

To make Ajiaco Santafereno, boil four chicken breasts until cooked through and tender. In the same water, boil 4russet potatoes and  several papas criollas, diced. Meanwhile, shred chicken. Stir in to potatoes: corn, peas,  and fresh guasca (also known as potato weed), adding water to cover, if necessary. How much of each ingredient is up to you! Do you like more corn, or less peas? In a different pot, sauté one diced onion, one diced bell pepper, and two cloves of minced garlic in butter. Add two cups of rice and four caps of boiling water, along with salt to taste. Give the potatoes a stir; the criollas should fall apart. Add chicken and one to two cups of cream. Serve over the rice with fresh avocado and capers. (I was taught this recipe by the cook at an amazing villa in Villa de Leyva, Colombia!)


2.  Tour the presidential palace, Casa de Narino! Take a guided tour to learn all about Colombia’s history and government! Did you know the silver coins used to originally buy the land the place is situated on were called patacones, the same word as dish made with bananas?


3.  Want to forget it’s raining at all? How about going underground? The salt mine is just a bit of a ride outside of Bogota, and you can take a fabulous guided tour! Not to mention learning all about how salt miners used to live!


4. Espresso? Moka? Cappuccino? Grab a cup of coffee at the nearest Juan Valdez, the chain coffee shop in Colombia. Chill and sip your drink next to the heater!


5.  Vamos a Bailar! Hit the music and dance! Colombia is huge on music and dancing! Salsa is common, but really, any dance is welcomed! For some catchy tunes check out this album!



Island Hopping in Port Barton, the Philippines

Island Hopping in the Philippines is a wonderful experience. I love the smell of salt air, wading in the sea, and wiggling the sand between my toes. I also enjoy monkey bars.

We were staying at Gilligan’s in Port Barton when we went island hopping. The island hopping excursion came with the stay. We got to have our own boat (well, the six of us pretty much filled it up), along with a local who worked at Gilligan’s to show us to the best islands.


The boat

The boat

Our first stop was Exotic Island, a postcard kind of beach with a reef just offshore. We stayed at this island the longest and had a barbecue on the beach at lunchtime. We did have one little incident while we were out. We had arrived in the Philippines during jellyfish season, and Delaney and Anderson had found a dead jellyfish floating where we were waiting, and were poking and throwing sand at it (vengeance for Delaney, who got an unfortunate number of jellyfish stings during this vacation). Anderson at one point, picked it up. Sheppard, upon seeing his big brother do this, spied a live jellyfish and yelled, “Guys, look! I can pick up a jellyfish too!” This ended with a little bit of trauma, but he got over it quickly.

The guilty jellyfish

The guilty jellyfish




You can wade...

You can wade…

...or play in the sand and surf

…or play in the sand and surf



There are lots of good climbing trees on Exotic Island!

There are lots of good climbing trees on Exotic Island!

Be you didn't know! The picture for our blog's title was taken on Exotic Island!

Bet you didn’t know! The picture for our blog’s title was taken on Exotic Island!

Lunch was delicious, with plenty of fresh seafood and fruits. If you don’t like seafood, now might be the time to try. After lunch, we waded, swam, and splashed some more until we were all ready to head to the next island.

German Island (don’t ask me why it’s German, I have no idea.) is the perfect place to chill in the afternoon. Hammocks are strung between most of the trees and the fun little fish to chase in the water. There is a scuba site right off this beach, too, but you can actually look at a lot of fish and coral with out wading in to over your waist. Definitely bring a mask and snorkel so you can float over top and look at every thing! When you get tired of that, go curl up in a hammock and read a book.

Testing out one of the hammocks

Testing out one of the hammocks







Super tired after such fun day!

Super tired after such fun day!



In the late afternoon, it’s finally time to go. Everyone is happy and worn out. Every day should just be like this…


Parque 93- Bogotá, Colombia

Parque 93- the perfect place for a Saturday afternoon meal. On the other hand, it’s also good for baby shopping, ice cream eating and park-playing. Parque 93, or noventa y tres, is located in the center of the Chicó neighborhood in Bogotá. It is walkable distance from Parque Chico, another amazing park perfect for kids.

If you head out to eat there, it would probably be best to eat in the afternoon, because that way you have time to play after lunch. There are plenty of fancy restaurants mom and dad can have a date at too, but, hey, where’s the fun in that? The playground in Parque 93 consists of an enormous spiderweb climbing structure, a play pirate ship for younger kids, a sandbox, and what has to be one of the coolest kinds of swing ever invented. The swing has a circular frame filled with rope netting, and you can sit, lay, squat or stand on it. Just be careful!




Some of our favorite places to eat in Parque 93 include El Corral Gourmet, an awesome restaurant that specializes in hamburgers but also has everything from breakfast (get there early, they only serve it until 12pm!) to traditional Colombian caldo, a soup served with arepa. If you are looking for something a little lighter, Freshii is a yummy, healthy kind of place. The menu is mostly wraps and salads. Almost all of their dishes include rice or qinuoa, and lot of ingredients like avocado, cheese, lettuce, corn, black beans. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, head to Crepes and Waffles, a popular ice cream and baked goods joint. There are two in Parque 93, one big one with the crepes and all that stuff, and a smaller one just for ice cream. Stop by Oma or Juan Valdez for a quick cup of coffee or a little pastry treat. In the mood for Asian? Wok is full of curries, sushi, and ramen.

They also have a Pe-pe Ganga and Baby Ganga, the smaller Colombian versions of Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us. Be forewarned, it’s best to bring your toys with you or order them from somewhere like Amazon. Imported toys in Colombia are always very expensive (Ex: The lego set my brother wanted that was three times the U.S price. He didn’t get it).

So, if you plan to be here, this makes a great Sunday afternoon outing. Just don’t forget to try the swing.

Abasto- Bogotá, Colombia

I spy with my little eye something green. Is it an artichoke? The pesto on that bruschetta? Avocado on the turkey sandwich? Maybe it’s all three. Abasto does have some wonderful food, and it comes in all different colors and shapes.


Fresh produce and eggs are plainly visible in the kitchen here.

Abasto is located in a few places around town, including Usaquen and Rosales. The atmosphere is always cute and quaint! Abasto sets up shop in old houses or buildings, they will refurnish them and maybe do a little paint job, but the overall air is old romantic farmhouse. And of the dishes they serve you with speak farmhouse, too! Little tin bowls and colorful plates!


Some homemade muesli with fruit and yogurt? Yes, please!

For food, you just can’t go wrong. In the mood for some Colombian empanadas?  Mother-Daughter breakfast? From Arroz con camarones to Vegetales asados con queso de cabra, Abasto has it all. Don’t forget the coffee or dessert, either! Colombia is famous for it’s coffee, and it pairs well with a decadent slice of chocolate cake or fruit crumble and vanilla ice cream.


The front of this location of Abasto looks more modern than others, but even here, once you step inside, you get a feel of how old the place must really be.


No comment needed. It’s good.

As you walk through the door, a smiling waitress seats you. For outside seating, there are space heaters. Cold inside the restaurant? Pull your chair up to the crackling fire in the fireplace. Even the menus are fun! With sketches of food and farmers, you will need to decide what to eat. Caldo de papa is a very Colombian soup full of hearty broth and creamy potatoes. Or, if you would like to roll more in your comfort zone, how about a juicy hamburger, with home-made chips on the side? Wash it all down with fresh-squeezed mandarin orange juice and a little something sweet! Bon apetít!


The front of Abasto’s menu. Look in the upper left-hand corner. See the little duck-shaped salt holder?


The Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaiian Islands

Review by Aidyn, Age 12 (Parent Notes below)

You don’t take The Road to Hana to actually go see Hana. I mean, yes, Hana is a cute little town, but the road is what you actually drive for.IMG_2061

The Road to Hana is a sixty-mile long road complete with fifty-nine bridges and just over six hundred hairpin turns. If you go, make sure you get an early start, or you’ll be stuck driving it in the dark (Dad wouldn’t be happy).

Ready for a road trip!

Ready for a road trip!

I know that the idea of sitting for a few hours in the car just for the sake of having a road trip is a little foreign to kids now-a-days, but my angelic six-year-old brother did fine, so I think you can stand it. Besides, you’ll have plenty of chances to get out and see some amazing stuff. You need to plan exactly what you are going to do, or you might end up camping out in your car so you can continue in the morning! If you get out at every single stop along the way, you could easily be on the road three days or more. My Mom picked out six places to stop at, but we only ended up doing three of them. Here they are:

1. Keanae Peninsula (between mile marker 16 and 17)

Our first stop, Keanae Peninsula had some amazing exhibits of the more beautiful-but-deadly side of nature. The waves pounded white near the rocks where you can view it. The walls of spray looked dazzling with the sun shining on them, but you don’t want to fall in.IMG_2076IMG_2092

After hanging out at the rocks for a little while (there were lots of the little snails that latch on to the rocks, and Mom even saw a sea turtle!), we drove a short ways down the road for a snack at small roadside snack shack called Aunty Sandy’s. We got some banana bread (it was still warm) and some Aloha Maid, a Hawaiian juice brand we had all come to love. It was great after being in the car for that long!IMG_2129IMG_2134

With our bellies filled and sense of adventure even more revved up, we hopped back into the car and went further up and further in. Our next stop was:

2. Upper Waikani Falls (between mile marker 19 and 20)

Swimming in a waterfall. What could be better than that? Answer: Swimming in the waterfall with an insulated wet suit and snow gear! Upper Waikani Falls is cold! But it’s super fun to swim in and is really isn’t as bad once you’re in; your whole body turns numb within fifteen seconds.IMG_2247 Make sure you bring a swim suit, but wear tennis shoes to get down to it, because the hike is steep and slippery. IMG_2211Once you get down though, you get to splash around, and Mom can take plenty of awesome pictures!IMG_2218 Upper Waikani Falls can all be one huge waterfall, or, like when we were there, can be three separate smaller falls. It has mist all around near the waterfall, and ivy grows around it. It truly is a picturesque scene.IMG_2221

And last but not least is:

3. Waimoku Falls (inside Haleakala National Park at mile marker 41)

I know what you’re thinking: what is it with all the waterfalls? This is not your ordinary waterfall. Waimoku Falls is a four hundred foot tall waterfall with a two mile hike to get to it- great for stretching your legs. IMG_2266IMG_2299I know you think you can hike that pretty quickly, more or less, but I recommend putting aside just over two hours for there and back. I agree that that may not seem that horrible, but there is lots of going up- up stairs, up hills, crossing couple of small streams- it takes longer that you realize.IMG_2267 And who wouldn’t take half an hour of to climb the banyan tree? Towards the beginning of the hike, there is an enormous banyan tree. Low branches lead to the trunk, and from there you can go almost anywhere on the tree!IMG_2279IMG_2286 There is also a bamboo forest that, no, I’m not exaggerating, blocks out most of the sun. IMG_2294Make sure to bring plenty of water, since Hawaii can get hot, and insect repellent.

When your finished with every thing, sit back in your car. If you just keep driving to the end of the Road to Hana, a short ways, you come to a highway, and dad can drive home quicker and on a smoother, straighter road. Watch the sunset and even listen to a book on audio! Ahhhh…IMG_2333


Parent Notes:

The Road to Hana can seem a little intimidating with kids, but we found it to be an amazing experience. I think the key to making it successful with a younger crowd is a little bit of forethought and planning. We researched the stops we thought would be most enjoyable with the kids and mapped them out, but, as Aidyn said, we didn’t get to all of them. We started at the beginning of the road at about 10:00am. Had we gotten an earlier start, we could have worked in another stop or two, but it was still totally worth it.

A couple of our kids have a tendency toward car-sickness, but we didn’t have any trouble that day. Just be prepared to take frequent driving breaks should they be needed. The key to the Road to Hana is being organized, but flexible. If you need to toss or out or modify plans along the way, do it! Take the time to really enjoy each stop, or skip one if no one seems to be into it.

There are places to buy food along the way, but as we had mostly exhausted our Hawaii budget at this point and were trying to do it on the cheap, we just packed sandwiches in a cooler and ate along the road. We went through quite a lot of water throughout the course of the day. While there are places to buy it, definitely try to bring a good supply with you so you don’t end up with thirsty kids and no vendors close by.

To get to Upper Waikani Falls, you have to hike down a little path that starts at the edge of the bridge. The initial jump to get down to the path is a little steep, but don’t let it keep you from trying it. The path is not difficult after that, though the rocks down at the falls are very slippery, so be extra careful once you get down there. Aidyn was not exaggerating about how cold it is, but the kids loved the experience. Definitely take a towel or two down with you because the swimmers will be shivering when they get out of the water!

Waimoku Falls is inside of Haleakala National Park. On a navigation note – the mile markers jump to #56 after Hana town and then start going back down. Haleakala National Park is at marker 41 after they start going back down. Admission to the park is $15.00. In addition to Waimoku Falls, there is a shorter hike to see (and swim in) the Seven Sacred Pools. There are more than seven and they are not actually sacred, but it makes for a great title! We found Waimoku Falls, itself, to be less impressive than we had anticipated, but the hike was awesome. The kids loved the banyan tree and the bamboo forest was like nothing we had ever experienced. Our youngest hiker was 6 and, while he was wiped out at the end, he did fine. If you have very young kids, maybe consider bringing a backpack along for them to ride in. Our youngest had a great time seeing the sights from his vantage point on my husband’s back.

We would definitely recommend going back by way of the newly paved, and much straighter, road that loops back around the island at the end of the Road to Hana. Bring along a fun snack and an audio book to listen to in the car to make it a more enjoyable ride. It will take about an hour and a half to get back to civilization.


The Great Wall, Beijing, China

Review by Aidyn, age 11 (Parent notes below)

The second year that we lived in China, we went to Beijing for Chinese New Year. It was winter and my toes nearly froze off, but we had a lot of fun! We visited a bunch of amazing places including the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, but my favorite place was Great Wall of China. W-O-W. It is pretty awesome.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

We arrived at the Great Wall at lunch time and we were all starving, so we ate at a slightly overpriced, but otherwise very good dumpling/noodles/bao-zi restaurant.

After that we walked up to the base of the wall where you got on a ski lift. Yes, you read that correctly. The wall was so tall we needed a ski lift to get to the stairs that would take us up to the top of the wall.

Stairs leading up to The Wall.

Stairs leading up to The Wall.

It has to be at least 25 feet tall! Imagine about four of your average dad’s stacked on top of each other. It’s just a tad taller than that. It is over 4,000 miles long, and 15-30 feet thick. It’s massive.

The Wall from below

The Wall from below

When we got up to the top the view was pretty awesome. We hiked the wall for what felt like miles. Not an easy feat. It’s not like walking on a sidewalk. It’s more like walking on a rocky, bumpy, up-and-down hiking trail.

Striking Ninja poses on the Great Wall.

Striking Ninja poses on the Great Wall.

The wall goes on as far as the eye can see, up and down, curving and winding.

Winding Wall

Winding Wall

Do not go in the winter without thick boots, a heavy coat, warm socks, warm pants, and preferably gloves. It’s really awesome if you are not freezing your toes off!

Trying to stay warm!

Trying to stay warm!

There are sellers all along the way with things like lollipops, snacks, and postcards. You can buy something if you want, but do not have to.

When we were finished with exploring the wall, we walked to where you get down off of it. This is the fun part. They have this toboggan on rails that, for a fee, you can use to ride down. Of course, we did.

Sledding down from the Great Wall!

Sledding down from the Great Wall!

It was pretty awesome. There was a brake handle to slow yourself as you coast down and around curves to the bottom. It’s so fun!

This guy let us take a picture with him when we got off the sleds.

This guy let us take a picture with him when we got off the sleds.

If you ever get to Beijing, a trip to the Great Wall is definitely a must!

Parent Notes:

We went to the Mutianyu section of the wall, as recommended by our guide. If I recall correctly, it was about an hour and a half outside of Beijing. I’m not certain if there are other access points that have the toboggan ride down, but I would consider it a must. It was definitely a huge highlight for all of us.

There is a Subway restaurant at Mutianyu, but we definitely recommend skipping the Subway and going to the little hole-in-the-wall dumpling joint instead. They were probably the most expensive dumplings we ate during our time in China (they have a bit of a corner on the market there), but they were also some of the yummiest. And it seems sort of wrong to eat western fast food at the Great Wall of China!
The Great Wall is fascinating, but it is well worth your time to read up a bit with your kids before the visit in order to pique their interest a bit more. We find our kids to be far more enthusiastic about historical sites we visit if they get what it’s all about prior to the visit. Our kids love You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China: Defenses You’d Rather Not Build. We also read The Great Wall of China, which gives a good history. Be forewarned that the history of The Great Wall includes a good bit of violence, something to keep in mind if your kids are a bit more sensitive.

Chimelong Paradise Amusement Park, Guangzhou, China

Review by Aidyn, Age 11 (Parent Notes below)

Chimelong Paradise is one big amusement park, people. Chimelong also has a water park, a crocodile park, and a zoo/safari park. The water park is only open for a few months in the summer, but the other parks are open all year round. I’m just going to tell you about the amusement park for now.

They have a lot of rides, plus a big building filled with stuff for younger kids. For one roller coaster, the Young Star, the height limit is starting at ninety centimeters (my 4-year-old brother was tall enough)! That was one of my favorites.

The Young Star - My sister and I are on the very last car.

The Young Star – My sister and I are on the very last car.

Then Sky Drop, another one of my favorites, takes you up about thirty feet in the air, then drops, almost letting you hit the ground, but not quite, then takes you back up, then down, up, then down. You sit in a long row of seats with a bar that pulls over your chest.

Getting ready to ride the Sky Drop when one of our best friends, Miss Anne, came to visit us in China.

Getting ready to ride the Sky Drop when one of our best friends, Miss Anne, came to visit us in China.

Getting ready to drop - what a rush!

Getting ready to drop – what a rush!

They have a smaller kid’s version, too.

The little kid version was about all my mom could handle!

The little kid version was about all my mom could handle!

They also have a big building for kids. It has a huge area netted off that is FILLED with balls, all over the floor. It has a second floor in there with cannons to shoot the balls, and things that blow balls into the air. FUN.

They also have a miniature bumper car arena on the second floor of the building. It’s super fun. The miniature bumper cars, I think, are supposed to look like space saucers. They have controls that are a little bit hard to get the hang of, but fun once you get it.

The Bumper Cars

They also have some rides I never went on, like the one with the world’s highest vertical drop or most inversion! My dad did ride the drop coaster, and came off laughing! How could he do that?

They also have a billion other rides that I haven’t talked about.

My brothers liked this one a lot. It was in the kid's ride section.

My brothers liked this one a lot. It was in the kid’s ride section.

On this one you ride in a huge boat that goes down a giant hill and gets you soaked at the bottom!

On this one you ride in a huge boat that goes down a giant hill and gets you soaked at the bottom!

The Jumping Machine is one of my favorites! It spins you around and around while bouncing you up and down.  Then it does it all backwards!

The Jumping Machine is one of my favorites! It spins you around and around while bouncing you up and down. Then it does it all backwards!

It’s super fun. But the food there isn’t always that good, so pack snacks! And definitely bring lots of water (or you can buy it there)! It’s a super good experience, but you don’t want to cut it short cause you’re thirsty!

Parent Notes:

Chimelong Paradise is a huge park and has something for everyone. There are a large number of rides for young children, many of them housed in an air-conditioned building, a life-saver on some of those stifling days of summer in Guangzhou. There are rides for the thrill-seekers, as well as plenty that fall somewhere much lower on the panic scale. As a note of warning: the locals don’t seemed to be intimidated by rides they know will make them vomit. They simply bring a bag onto the ride with them, vomit into it, and toss it into the trash can on the way out. We’ve been to Chimelong many times, but never without seeing at least a couple of “incidents”. Just prepare yourself to look away.

On that note, the food inside the park leave quite a bit to be desired. We’ve eaten it, but the dumplings (normally our fall-back food) taste like they might have been fried in flame retardant and the other options are pretty equally appealing. You aren’t technically supposed to bring in food from the outside, but they tend to be lenient with foreigners and we normally brought along some snacks.

The park has plenty of parking and can also be reached by metro. Go early and try to avoid week-ends and holidays in order to miss the crowds.

Legoland Malaysia

Our guest-poster today is Rachel. Congratulations to Rachel for winning the Taking the Adventure contest! Rachel is nine-years-old and lives in Thailand.  She has also lived in the United States, Germany, and Poland and has been to 24 different countries (wow!). She likes to play soccer, softball, and tennis and do jazz dance. She also loves to read and play with her friends .

In Malaysia there is a theme park called Legoland and its theme is Legos.

Legoland Malaysia Entrance

So the first thing we did in Legoland was put all our bags in the hotel. Here are the things we did the two days at Legoland: We started the rides with a ride called Lego Mindstorms. Me and my brother Simon loved the driving school and did it two times!

Legoland Driving School

We also went to this Lego Star Wars miniland model display.

Legoland Star Wars Display

Next there was a ride called the Dragon. Cool right?

This picture was taken from the tower. You can see The Dragon roller coaster in the upper left-hand corner.

This picture was taken from the tower. You can see The Dragon roller coaster in the upper left-hand corner.

Also at Legoland there is a waterpark. At the waterpark there is a lazy river and a little playground with a big bucket pouring water down on your head.

Legoland Waterpark

Me and my brother and dad had a lot of fun there. We did the waterpark on the second day at Legoland, but all of the days were fun!

Bamboo Rafting in Yangshuo, Guangxi, China

Review by Aidyn, Age 11 (Parent Notes below)

Crash! We bumped down the small water fall, more like a SUPER huge bump in rapids. Splash! the front of the raft hit the water and went under a bit before popping up and getting our tennis shoes all wet. It didn’t really matter, cause we were already sopping everywhere else possible. Anderson turned in his chair from the the raft in front of us and- squirt, made us even wetter with his water gun.

bamboo rafting

We had been staying at the Outside Inn in Yangshou, Guangxi, China.

The Outside Inn

The Outside Inn

While we were there, we did a lot of cool stuff outdoors, including biking, hiking, and, of course, bamboo rafting on the Li River.  And, as I said, we got really wet.

Flat Stanley happened to be along for this trip!

Flat Stanley happened to be along for this trip!

We were walking down to the docks when a LOT of ladies ran up. They were trying to sell us water guns, crowns made of fresh flowers, and other things, too. Mom got crowns for herself an us girls, and Dad got a water gun for each raft. Pretty soon we were in rafts and shooting at each other like mad.

All of the rafts waiting for passengers. Flat Stanley is first in line!

All of the rafts waiting for passengers. Flat Stanley is first in line!

To sum it all up, there were miniature waterfalls, our brothers shooting water at us, and we got drenched. It rocked. Plus it was cheap too! I seriously recommend it!

A fun fact: the picture on the back of the 20 yuan Chinese bill was taken on the Li river near Yangshuo!

A fun fact: the picture on the back of the 20 yuan Chinese bill was taken on the Li river near Yangshuo!

Parent Notes:

Bamboo rafting on the Li is a very gentle ride. Do expect your shoes to get wet, though, as there are a couple of places you go over a little ledge and the raft dips just enough for the water to come over it a bit. It’s definitely not rapids or anything close to it, though, and we felt perfectly comfortable bringing our baby along for the ride.

As you approach the river to get onto the raft, you will likely be ambushed by Chinese grandmothers selling water guns and crowns of fresh flowers. They will give them to your children and then turn around and hold their hand out for money. Just decide beforehand whether or not you care to buy anything and don’t feel badly saying no.

That said, the water guns can be fun on the river. You fill them by putting the end into the river and drawing back on the handle. Then you can shoot your friends and family members on other rafts. The flower crowns are also very pretty and make for fun pictures.

One More Day!

There is still one more day to send us your submissions for the Taking the Adventure contest. We would love to hear from you! See the details here.

-Aidyn and DelaneyAidyn and Delaney

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