I did pretty much everything I wanted to in Bogotá on the first day except climbing to the top of Cerro de Montserrat, one of the mountain peaks that overlooks Bogotá. Cerro de Montserrat is at about 10,000 ft and there are two ways to get to the top. You can either take a cable car or you can hike the trail. I decided to take the long route. Some people can run to the top in 20 minutes... well it took me a little over an hour to make it to the top. The altitude was noticeable, I definitely lost my breath really quick... or at least that’s the excuses I'm going use. The view from the top made up for the hike. From the top of Cerro de Montserrat you can see all of Bogota. This view gives you an idea of just how big Bogota really is. With Cerro de Montserrat checked off my list, the only thing left to do in Bogotá was shoot more photos. I spent the remainder of my day wandering the streets shooting photos. At one point I wandered a bit to far off the beaten track. I saw a fight break out (I was across the street so I didn’t get any photos) and immediately afterwards the police came up to me to see if I had photos (probably a good thing I didn’t).
On Saturday night Manuel made it back and we went out to dinner. He took me to an awesome place that served dishes on fried banana skins. It’s a traditional Colombia dish from the coast. It was sooo good. After that we went out to a “leftist” bar that had a huge painting of CHE on the outside. We met up with some friends and where out til 2 or 3. We walked home from the bar (probably about 20 blocks) without any hesitation or problem.
I got a bit of a late start on Sunday and made an attempt to rent a bike. Unfortunately the bike shop closed at 1pm so I didn’t have enough time to rent one. I spent the rest of the day walking around and shooting more photos. I had to call it an early day and get back to Manuel’s so I could get some food, pack my bags and head to the bus station. I had to be in Medellin by the next morning, which meant I had to catch an overnight bus. The trip from Bogota to Medellin is about 9 hours.
All and all I was very impressed with Bogotá as a city. I liked the layout, the climate, the people, the style, the food and the nightlife.
Before I move on from Bogotá, here are a few random details:
- There was lots of fresh fruit available on the streets for snacks.
- You could get a cup of freshly squeezed OJ for 50 cents.
- No need for a calling card or cell phone, there were multiple people all over the city renting their minutes. Just look for “150 (or 200 or 300) minuto.”
- I drank the water. No problem. I ate the street food. No problem.
- Although the streets are numbered, there are no street signs. You have to look at house numbers to figure out where you are at.
- Being a vegetarian didn’t prove to be as difficult as I thought it would be.
- I was asked if I was “French.” That was a first for me.
- Cabs are cheap and supposedly hailing them from the street isnt as risky as it is in Mexico (although you should still call a number).
- Bus fare cost around 1200 - 1500 pesos or about 50 cents.
A view of north Bogota from Manuel's shower... yes his shower.
View from Cerro de Montserrat (Panorama of 4 photos).
The walking trail to the top. Awesome views along the way.
Someone's llame at the base of Cerro de Montserrat.
A very European looking government building.
A corner bookstore... literally a corner bookstore.
Police partrolling a corner a few blocks off the 7th. (This is where i saw a fight break out)
A midget mariachi performer.
He can do birthdays and other events, or so he said.
I took this photo for my dad.
Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo
Cool sunset in Bogotá.
Kids playing soccer in Bogotá.
I loved all the fruit vendors in Bogotá.
Shooting street performers may be cliché, but this guy was good.
I'm not sure who find him more entertaining, the kids or the parents.
"I need to finish my studies, help me!"
Traditional musicians from the coast.
Need a cell phone, just look for signs like this...
Another cool old car.