Bogota

February 06, 2015

Skyline After 6 weeks in Cali, I went back home to attend the wedding of my friends Tao Tao and Andrew. It was more or less a LPhiE and KDPhi reunion. After the wedding I headed to Bogota, Colombia to resume my adventures. This time I was flying with Jet Blue since the flight was the cheapest round trip to SF. However, when returning to Colombia, they demanded I had a return flight back out of the country or they wouldn’t let me fly. The agent recommended that I just buy a refundable ticket and then cancel it before the flight takes off. This sounded like a reasonable solution so I continued with the purchase and off I went back into Colombia.

The City

Skyline Bogota is the capitol of Colombia and also the largest city in the country. The general atmosphere was completely different from what I had experienced in Cali. People had warned me the city was cold, but I don’t think I was quite ready for how cold it actually was. It reminded me of being back home in Michigan during the early winter when there wasn’t snow yet. I had to wear long sleeve shirts and both jackets just to stay warm. Luckily the Hostel I was staying in was fairly new and had nice new comforters that were really warm. The city was much more modern and the people were much more refined. Many people were walking around in suits and not caring about the foreigners that were all around. Not wanting to bother taking my huge backpack onto the bus system, I decided to take a taxi from the airport to the hostel I had booked in Chapinero. Chapinero is between Candelaria (historical center) and Zona Rosa (trendy bar/restaurants).
Each location was about a 10-minute bus/taxi ride. The bus system was easy to figure out if i was going up and down the main street, Septima (7th Street).

Things to Do

I did quite a bit of walking in the city, walking an hour one way into the center just to get a better feel for the city. I really loved walking up and down Septima in the historical center. There were plenty of street performers doing chalk art, or doing various performances. Additionally, the city offered Gold Museum Gold Museum a variety of museums to explore. I went to the gold museum, modern art museum, coin exhibit, and Botero exhibit. Additionally, there is a fantastic view of the city from Cerro Monserrate. You are able to take the cable car up or you can hike up. When I arrived, the line to use the cable car was rather long, so I decided just to do the hour hike up the mountain. You can also visit the Salt Cathedral, which is about an hour away. We booked the tour through Salt Cathedral Botero Museum the hostel, which is more expensive than if you were to do it on your own. However, a number of guests at the hostel said they did it on their own but ended up wasting time finding the right bus etc. But it was about half the cost of the tour, and you are able to spend as much time as you would like there. I really recommend doing the graffiti Graffiti tour through the city. It’s technically free, with a tip, but the guide was very pushy about the tip and being in the 25-30Mil (12.50-15) range. But the information provided I thought was interesting. He talks about the various styles seen in Bogota and also what the various artists' messages were. I was lucky enough to have strolled through downtown while there was a parade going through the city. They parade was displaying all the various cultural clothing and dances.
Parade Parade

Tourists Story

While you travel you learn how to more or less be safe. One of the most important things is to know how to get back to the place you are staying. This means either becoming very familiar with the area, or at very least know the address so that if needed you are able to take a Taxi back home. Well this little tidbit was lost on one Australian traveler. I was sitting in the hostel having a chill night since it was Sunday and I was getting ready to leave the next morning. But we hear this frantic knocking on the front door. The receptionist answers the door and I hear some muffled conversation to the gist of “Please tell this taxi driver I live here”. You could immediately see that he’s very frantic and jittery, which I could only assume that he was on a fair amount of coke. He immediately calls over my friend to help 1212 Hostel explain the situation, since my friend was able to speak English/Spanish at least semi fluently. It turns out that he went out to meet up some girls and after the night was over, he took her home in the taxi, but didn’t remember where his hostel was. So all he could do was say the name of the hostel 12:12 Hostel. Which of course the taxi driver assumed it was on the cross streets of Carerra 12 and Calle 12. So the taxi driver takes him there, and of course it’s not the safest area of Bogota late at night. Additionally, he didn’t have money to pay the taxi driver. This of course leads to an unhappy taxi driver and ends up leaving him there in the bad neighborhood. He was lucky enough to find some police that entrusted his well being to another driver. The driver was told to provide proof that he dropped him off at the correct place. The taxi driver used an Ipad to record the fact that he indeed dropped off the Aussie. And also noted that he took a fare of 20Mil, which is approximately the cost to go from the airport to the hostel. Which means the taxi driver was probably driving all over town looking for this hostel. I could not imagine what was going through the Aussies head when he left the hostel in the first place.

Places to Dance

I was traveling which such a dancing high from Cali; I was hoping to find some good dancers in the Bogota area. But during the week I was there, I was unable to find a really good dancing spot. The best place I had found was Andres Carne de Res. They have two locations, the originally is really far away and the newer one which is in Zona Rosa. We just went to the closer one and I had a great time dancing there. The skill level of the dancers was not that great though, but I managed to find one or two dancers that were able to dance. But this would be an indicator for the type of dancers I would encounter for the rest of my trip.

Outside of Bogota

Villa De Levya After Bogota we headed to Villa De Leyva, a small colonial town just outside of Bogota. The town had a beautiful main square, which was probably by far the largest I’ve seen in any colonial town in Colombia. But there wasn’t really much to do outside of hanging around the main square. We did take a LONG walk to the fossil museum to see the nearly complete Kronosaurus fossil. Though I would have probably turned around before arriving had it not been for a particular German who was traveling with us. He had his heart set on seeing the fossil and pushed everyone to keep going. We took a few detours to see things like the Terracota House and various view points.

Terracota House Fossil Town Square Kids

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