Two days in Bogota, our welcome to Colombia!
We are spending three nights and two days in Bogota and we arrived at the airport on time but ended up wasting a bit of time at the airport to get a sim card for our wifi as usual. We finally managed, got cash and got an uber to our b&b called Casona del Patio. Very good wifi, safe neighbourhood, comfortable bed and included breakfast! What to ask more… We soon found out that we were exactly next to an amazing restaurant area called Zona G. For the first night in Bogota we decided to treat ourselves and went to the number 10 rated on Trip Advisor called Criterion which is literally 10 minutes away walking. We were about to order the tasting menu but decided to be good with money and shared a delicious mushrooms starter and then had an epic steak followed by two pretty special desserts. So good, we are already liking Colombia! Everyone looks LOCO here!
We had breakfast at 8am with tasty french toasts, juice and coffee and then got an Uber (which is very cheap and works really well here in Bogota) to the Candelaria area from Chapinero which is the “posh” commercial area where we are staying. We were planning to join the 10:30am bike tour of the city which is number one on Trip advisor. Somehow we got to the wrong bike place which was completely empty and the guy didn’t speak English. Thank God Bruce thought to double check and found out this wasn’t the place we were looking for! We managed somehow, while ratting at each other, to get to the right place at 10:28 and got accepted on the tour just about! It was a great tour that lasted 5hrs with a few breaks, one to learn about coffee making and to taste one, and one to taste some local fruits. We saw some amazing street art, we saw the city from above on a bridge over the highway, we cycled the busy streets of Bogota, some times got a bit scared in the heavy traffic. We went to a local market and tried lots of fruits, including some very weird one never seen before like the appletato (mix between an apple and a potato) ine called Lulu which we really liked and a very sour yellow kiwi. To end the tour we stopped for a beer and played a crazy and absolutely terrifying game (Tejo) which involves beer, clay, and explosive. Only Colombians could have invented such a crazy game. The aim is to hit with a metal disk the centre of a clay basket from a distance, the middle of the clay basket has a metal circle which at the beginning you cover with small bits of explosive. When someone hits the explosive they get a point. The noise is very strong, much more than you’d expect. It made me jump and shout every single time! Luckily none of us was very good at it so we didn’t hit the explosive many times. Bruce and I never got it once!
The tour ended at 3:30 and we were hungry so we went for possibly the cheapest meal of this trip with a couple from Australia that has already travelled 11 months out of the 16 they have, and James a guy from London that has just started his one month trip.
Our set lunch costed us £2 each with soup, main and drink. Not tasty but such good value you couldn’t turn it down. After lunch we had a short stroll around La Candelaria and then got an Uber back to our neighbourhood Chapinero. The weather has been super varied, with hot sun which burnt our nose, rain, cold wind, clouds. We had pretty much everything in one day. I truly recommend this tour, it’s great exercise since we rode 16km on our bikes at 2,500m of altitude and it’s a great way to see the city and learn about its multicultural background. In the evening we tried to go to a restaurant called Astrid and Gaston which is a well rated Peruvian but it was fully booked so we booked a table for tomorrow and found somewhere else. We ate some good but not outstanding fish in a place called Oyster 69 instead, but the dessert was amazing one cheese cake and one chocolate cake – very naughty I know – but worth the £3 it costed!
Today we decided to make the most of the museums that Bogota has to offer! Had a nice breakky with fried eggs and bread and hot chocolate and then were off again with our £1.50 uber to La Candelaria where we started the day with a visit at the Botero Museum which is the number one attraction on Trip Advisor for Bogota. The museum is free but the audioguide is only £2 and it’s very well made and worth getting. It’s on two floors and it has a very comprehensive collection of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero but also of a lot of famous artists that influenced his work throughout the years. Botero himself organised the artworks in the museum in a way that helps the visitor better understand his art. We did the ground floor first and then stopped for a coffee. The top floor has mainly statues, some of which are really nice but I personally enjoyed more the ground floor. After finishing the museum we got a great lunch for £10 each at a lovely and friendly gastro pub called capital cocina y cafe, we shared some empanadas and Bruce had a very unusual Lulu juice, for mains he had beef and I had pork, both very good and the dessert was offered by the house, a healthy carrot cake. The perfect break in between museums. For the afternoon we had planned a visit at the gold museum, which is number 2 on Trip Advisor and the biggest gold Museum in the world. On the way there though we saw a lot of armed police and got curious and ended up entering the army and navy museum which was being visited by a famous politician hence why all the police. It was interesting, although more for Bruce since it was full of guns, helicopters, uniforms and other boy’s toys type of things. The gold museum was then the third of the day, and we were both quite tired and museumed out, and found it quite boring and huge. We ended up coming back at about 5pm and realised that we can watch Netflix from here which was a nice surprise. We watched one of the last episodes of Narcos, the series about Colombian cartels and Pablo Escobar which is very topical since we are here and we didn’t manage to finish the series before we left England.
We then had a nice dinner at Astrid and Gaston, a spicy ceviche, and for main a plate called Winter Jump with mixed seafood on a bed of rice and quinoa and a rare tuna steak which was also tasty. We decided to be good for once and missed dessert since we still have some of the chocolates we made in Cusco as part of our chocolate lesson. Another episode of Narcos and it was bed time! Only two episodes left. Tomorrow early wake up to watch the England-Wales game which is at 8am here!
We had breakfast at 7:30am and were told that the game would be on tv ESPN and we could watch it from the room. It wasn’t the case though, which caused Brucey and consequently me a lot of distress. Luckily I found it on streaming but the wifi was up and down which made the entire game really stressful. Especially when England scored and the screen froze just before the goal and just after it stopped on a fan cheering for about 5 minutes in which Brucey was punching walls and I was shouting at him for doing so! In the end all was well when England won 2-1 at the last minute. As soon as the game ended we got in the uber to the airport since we are flying to Santa Marta today, finally some heat and sea level again!! On the plane we met again with James from the bike tour who was taking the same plane, we got asked by a family to swap place with them and ended up sitting with James! Small world sometimes!