After landing back in Bogotas El Dorado airport we decided the best option to get into town would be a taxi. Unfortunately this didn’t work out too well with the usual 30 minute trip taking a ridiculous 2hrs 30 minutes due to traffic. Its safe to say we were glad to finally arrive at our hostel, ‘the cranky croc’.
Colombia’s capital has had its fair share of problems over the years and perhaps wouldn’t be the first choice holiday destination for many people. However the city is trying hard to shake its dangerous past and now for the most part is a big clean, safe city. Obviously with any large city, you have to keep your wits about you but we didn’t feel too uncomfortable for the 4 days we spent there.
Our first day we decided to explore our neighbourhood of ‘La Candelaria’ taking in a couple of museums nearby, one of which belonging to maybe Colombia’s most famous artist - Botero. Basically every painting or sculpture by the Medellin artist makes the subject out to be a bit larger than life - or fat whichever way you want to look at it! My personal favourite was his take on the Mona Lisa, which I think was a few people’s favourite based on the chuckling going on. We also visited the gold museum, billed as the best of its kind in South America. Made up of 4 floors of artefacts from all over the continent, as interesting as it was (and I love Gold Rush) it was a little ‘samey’ after a while.
The following day we ditched the usual walking tour in favour of a bike tour, hoping to see a bit more of the city than on foot. We joined the aptly named ‘bogota bikes’ for their morning tour and covered around 16km of the city in just a few hours. Along the way we visited cool street art, a house full of collectables from all over the world (hoarder heaven) and even a house devoted to rubbish - literally just full of rubbish, it stank!
Other interesting sites included the main square where during the height of Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror the Government brought in tanks to take out the M19 guerilla group who had taken over a building to destroy it along with any evidence inciting Mr Escobar to drug trafficking. We also visited a local fruit market to try out all sorts of weird and wonderful fruits, some delicious, some disgusting and also a local coffee factory.
The last part of the tour was in a strange bar/sporting environment where locals come to get drunk and throw big metal discs into a clay target with the aim of hitting the centre circle made up of small pockets of gun powder! Perhaps Colombia’s take on the skittle alley down the working men’s club on a Friday night - just a bit louder! I was a natural.
George’s cousin Emmy, fresh from her Medical exams, flew into town the following day to spend a month travelling Colombia with her friend Kara. We took in the Police Museum with them and shared our best find in Colombia …..Crepes & Waffles (although I don’t think they were as excited about it as us!) George loved seeing Emmy.
Our flight to Panama was the next day so after a brief reminder of home we went our separate ways the following morning and headed back to El Dorado (for the third time) for our flight, this time with Copa Airlines.