Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Arriving in Colombia: Bogota

The sprawl of Bogota from Monserrate
While we would have liked to have explored Brazil much more, when we flew to Colombia we were very pleased to arrive back in a Spanish speaking country, where we could properly communicate again. 

I don't think I've ever had such a good conversation with a taxi driver than the one I had from Bogota airport to our hostel!

We arrived early evening so just had time to check in and go for dinner before heading to bed.

The next day our friends Gill and Justin were arriving. They had been travelling around Peru and Ecuador.  Justin was heading back to the US after a day with us in Bogota, while Gill had two weeks with us before flying home to the UK. 

We had just over 2 days in the Colombia's capital, before we started to explore the rest of the country.

Luckily the day Gill and Justin arrived was beautifully clear and perfect for a trip up Monserrate - the iconic mountain that dominates the centre of Bogota. 

If you're staying in La Candelaria it's a short walk to the funicular or cable car (both take you to the top and they are next to each other, but just operate at different times). 

The view from the top was incredible and revealed the vastness of Colombia's capital, which has more than 10 million inhabitants (at least that is the population size according to our taxi driver!).

Bogota at sunset
But be warned! Legend has it that if you go up the mountain with your boyfriend/girlfriend, you won't marry them. To be safe we split up from our prospective partners before we went up and then made up once we were safely back at 2600 metres!

In the evening we wandered around the Candelaria area, before settling down at the Bogota Beer Company bar, where we sampled craft beers and stuffed our faces with pizza. The craft beer was really quite good and the Candelaria Classica become one of my favourite tipples while we were in Colombia.

Sampling Bogota Beer Company Beer

The next morning we unfortunately had to say goodbye to Justin, who headed back to the states.

We then contemplated going on the Bogota Bike Tours city tour - which was one of the most recommended activities on Trip Advisor - but the rain scared us off and so we headed to the gold museum instead.

This was definitely worth a look for the thousands of beautifully crafted pieces of pre-hispanic gold. The display is well set out and with interesting commentary in English as well as Spanish that sets out the meanings and usages of the gold pieces to the indigenous people of Colombia. This was probably the best museum we went to in South America in terms of the way the displays were set out and explained.

We enjoyed our short visit to Bogota. There is very much more to see and explore than we managed in our two days, but we got a good flavour of the city.  We were particularly pleased to get a clear day to ride up Monserrate to see the city from above. 

Have you been to Bogota? How much did it rain? What was your favourite bit of the city?

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