Bogota, Colombia

Arriving in Bogota at 7pm the sun had set and we grabbed a taxi to our friends apartment (Barry and Laura, who we met on the border between Uruguay and Brazil). Our taxi for airport cost 50,000 colombian pesos. But we later learned that it should have been about half this. Ripped off already, I hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come! We stayed with Barry and Laura for the night. Their apartment building was the one of the highest buildings in Bogota and provided an amazing view of the city from the balcony.

The next morning, a little cafe called Masa was the venue for breakfast and then we grabbed some authentic Colombian coffee in Amor Perfecto before we we set out to explore Bogota for the day. 

Taxis in Bogota are more expensive than uber, unlike Doha, but in my (short) experience, apart from the airport, both were good. I’ve read stories about how normal taxis should be avoided for safety reasons but, again, in my experience there were no issues. Besides you won’t always have Internet to order an uber…

To start the exploration a train up to the top of Monserrate and a cable car back down provided the perfect start. The city of Bogota is about 2,700m above sea level and the views from the top of Monserrate at 3,100m gave a spectacular overview of the vast city in the middle of the Andes. 

After this, the standard walking tour around the city was next on the list. I had very low expectations about Bogota, but the tour was very good and brought us to older parts of the town and provided a good history lesson in relation to the country’s struggle for independence and some information about Pablo Escobar and the drug trade too. During the tour our guide told us about emeralds with people selling emeralds on the street or them being sold in jewelry stores, as Colombia was the emerald country (apparently, can’t say if ever heard that it was). As he was telling us this an old woman came up and tried to show/sell us them. Our guide was very good in letting her show us but clearly telling her that we were not interested. 

Our guide brought us to a part of town where chichas, an old traditional alcoholic drink, made from sugar, corn and God knows what was available. We got a free shot and got to keep the traditional ‘cup’ (emptied shell of some sort of fruit), which was a nice touch.

Fernando Botero, the most famous artist in Colombia, donated a huge amount of paintings to the government to display in a museum on the condition that they make the museum free for all to see. So this was next on the tour. He was famous for painting fat people… and bringing different meanings across through these paintings. I’m not sure what this one is meant to mean though…

Our last stop on the tour gave us a bit more insight on the history of Bolivar, one of the main people involved in Colombia gaining its independence from Spain before a little education on some antics regarding Pablo Escobar. After this we grabbed some food and headed back to the apartment for a goodbye drink and take in that view one last time. The trip to Bogota was quick but, a little over 24 hours after we landed, I was happy with how it went. Next up was Medellin for a few days. Another day, another city. 

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