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Travels in Colombia – Bogota

Travels in Colombia – Bogota

Sunset on the Caribbean coast Colombia

Travels in Colombia

Colombia is an optimistic and joyous country to visit. They don’t want to be defined by their pas,t but want to look forward to their future and live life to the full. It is a country full of colour and vibrancy. I keep getting asked “is it safe* – absolutely. It is a country full of friendly, happy people who appreciate and enjoy life.

I was on a 22 day trip with G Adventures. I had a few days to explore on my own before and after.

Me at peace at Tayrona national park

Bogota

I began in Bogota.  It is not as hot and humid as other places and has its own micro climate, so the weather can be very changeable. This is due to it being surrounded by mountains. I was lucky to have good weather the entire time. There is a lot to see and do in Bogota.

The mountains surrounding Bogota

 Beyond Colombia offer free walking tours and free food tours twice a day. I went on both, an excellent way to get orientated, learn about past and present history and sample some of the local delights. First was the food tour, a great way to spend an afternoon. There were a fair few people on the tour and lot of nationalities, Canadian, Belgian, German, Australian and, South Korean.

 

Most of the food was not in the slightest bit healthy, fried and laden with carbs and calories. They also have some strange combinations. There was something that was similar to a waffle that is topped with caramel and cheese. Remarkably not as bad as it sounds. Mick Jagger and the Stones played a concert in Bogota and he purchased a waffle from one of the carts. The next day the vendor had a picture of him on the front of his cart. The next week lots of carts had Mick Jagger pictures on them, all claiming they had sold the waffle to him.

The Mick Jagger waffle stall Bogota

 

Me with a waffle from the Mick Jagger cart in Bogota, Colombia
For breakfast there is hot chocolate, into this they dip cheese until it melts and they eat it.
Hot chocolate and cheese in Bogota, Colombia
I tried the local spirit which tasted like aniseed. I hate aniseed.
The local firewater in Bogota, Colombia
I tried empanadas, soups, cheese balls, fresh juices and Capybara ( not sure how I felt about this, I only found out afterwards). Initially I was told it was like a pig but not a pig. I also tried the ‘Kick ass ants’ my friend Viri told me about. They tasted okay, very salty and crunchy, a little like peanuts as Viri had described them. Unfortunately, due to her accent we thought she’d said penis, this caused much hilarity.
Kick ass anta Bogota, Colombia
Barbecue Colombian style in Bogota
I also learnt a lot about the bad days, the drugs., the kidnappings, FARC. They acknowledge the problems in their past but now embrace the future and are so happy that tourists want to come to their country and see the people for what they really are, friendly and hospitable. I got on really well with the guide’s mother who invited me to come back to Bogota and stay with them. Bogota is a crazy mix. In some places it’s modern, in others it’s full of eccentricity and craziness. It’s a mixture of old and new. At first I found it a little overwhelming after Costa Rica. I missed the quiet and calm of the jungle. I missed the sounds of the cicadas, insects, frogs and birds. I missed being woken up by the calls of howler monkeys. The tour ended at a coffee shop, it’s an art they take very seriously.
Making coffee is an art form in Colombia, Bogota
Main square in Bogota, Colombia
Modern building in Bogota, Colombia
The next, day I started with a free walking tour. There was so much to see and I learnt so much about the history of Colombia and saw photos from the olden days. It’s an amazing city with 15th century churches, modern skyscrapers and incredible street art/grafitti which is both beautiful and thought provoking. It’s a city full of colour. I loved the Candelabria, the old section of Bogota, so colourful, with lots of bright murals adorning the walls and quaint little cafes.
Juggling statue in Bogota, Colombia
Funky street in Bogota, Colombia
There was more food and drink, Including Chicha, this I love, I drank it in Peru and to me it tastes like cider. Also tried Chakula, it’s a type of seed pod and is ground and mixed with lots of herbs and spices and formed into balls. These are placed in hot water and it forms something that resembles hot chocolate. It is full of protein and good things and is supposed to give drinkers an energy boost. Athletes drink it as part of their training.
Trying chakula in Bogota, Colombia
Me sampling chakula in Bogota, Colombia
At another stop we we sampled a type of tea with cinnamon and a shot of the, local alcoholic spirit.
Trying shots in Bogota, Colombia
Next I was in for a treat. We went to the exhibition of Botero. I love his work and the way they play around with proportions.
The Botero museum in Bogota, Colombia
Botero painting in Bogota, Colombia
In the afternoon was the next free tour, a graffiti tour. I learnt a lot about politics and protest. I learnt about corruption and the recent student protests. So much of the street art has powerful messages. One of my favourites was done to celebrate International Women’s Day. It is an image of a woman with long flowing hair and across it are messages written by women who have suffered abuse or loss.
Powerful graffiti in Bogota, Colombia
There were so many powerful images and so much colour. This one is by a female artist. It is made up of messages and words from female survivors of  abuse.
Moving graffiti image in Bogota, Colombia
A celebration of famous cats painted by different artists.
Cat street art in Bogota, Colombia
More street art.
Street art in Bogota, Colombia
Me against a backdrop of street art in Bogota
Beautiful graffiti in Bogota, Colombia
Rainforest graffiti in Bogota, Colombia
Graffiti tour in Bogota, Colombia
Me and funky street art in Bogota, Colombia
Fabulous street art in Bogota, Colombia
Me posing with street art in Bogota, Colombia
Bogota has a very beautiful and panoramic vista surrounded by mountains. I found it a very interesting, friendly and colourful city and well worth a visit.

Book a tour to Colombia with G Adventures

See my posts on Cartagena
 Medellin

Street car in Bogota, Colombia
Local character in Bogota, Colombia

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