22.08.2016 – 25.08.2016
Yes, “fridge” is actually the perfect description for the capital of Colombia! We walked out of the airport and wanted to put on some gloves and a scarf – 15C difference in the temperature from one city to another is something!
Okay, so how do we get in the city center? Ah and by the way, do we know where the hostel is? Funny things happened to us in these 2 months of travelling… in the beginning, we would search every hostel adress in google maps, set a pin point, take a screenshot and we were prepared. Recently, we were glad knowing the neighborhood of the hostel 😀 A couple of days ago however, we downloaded this great app called “maps.me”, which works pretty pretty well offline and we never get lost again!
As we wait for the bus to take us into the center and neighborhood “La Candelaria” of Bogotá, we asked one lady at the bus stop, who obviously worked for the bus company, which one we should take. And there something very Colombian or maybe even Latin American happens:
We: “Could you tell us how to get to Candelaria please?”
Lady: “Yes, you take this bus until Portal Dorado, change it and take another one until the stop <Universidades>.”
We: “Okay thanks! And do we need to buy a ticket beforehand?”
Lady: “Yes, you need a card which you have to charge.”
We: “Ah, and do we buy the card at the driver?”
We: “Oh okay, where do we purchase it then?”
Lady: “I sell them”….
So instead of offering us the card right away, she would only give the exact information we had asked for, and not more. 🙂
Once we arrived at the hostel after asking several times for the right street, we changed into some warmer clothes for our free walking tour. This tour was very special, as the guide took us to this tiny street in La Candelaria, where a lot of small cafés are located and street artists sell their artesanias.
We went in one of the cafés and tried a typical drink called “chicha”. Smelling it, we would describe it as being very sweet, but once we tried it, it actually tasted really bitter and reminded us of very old beer. 😉 It is a fermented or non-fermented beverage usually derived from maize. The second thing we got to try is called “chucula”, a hot chocalate mix made from roasted grains. It was the best thing we could do to not get too cold in Bogotá! Continuing our tour, we learned more about Fernando Botero, a famous artist from Medellin having his very own style of paintings and about “La Violencia”, a 10 years period of violence and civil war due to the assassination of a popular politician called Jorge Gaitán [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Violencia].
Right after we ended the tour we headed to Monserrate, a famous viewpoint which can be reached by cable car to watch the sunset over Bogotá – what a huge city!
Ending this infomative day with a good and light dinner (ha, such a lie, it i impossible to eat light in Colombia! Just google “Sancocho” and you know what we mean ;)), we started the next day early to go to Zipaquirá , where the famous Salt Cathedral is located. It is built within a salt mine 180 meters underground and mainly serves as a tourist attraction and a place for pilgrimage during Easter time. You can easily go by public transportation there, taking one of the super long TransMilenio buses to the stop “Portal Norte”, from where you can catch a bus to Zipaquirá. The best thing is to always ask people for the way, because they seriously take you by the hand and bring you to the exact bus stop/location you need to go. 🙂
Our last day in Bogotá we spent in the “Museo del Oro”, the museum of gold. It exhibits thousands of pieces of gold from the major pre-hispanic cultures in Colombia. Furthermore, it shows the findings by regions as well as how these pieces were used in rituals. Definitely one of the most interesting museums we’ve visited.
Later this day, we started our first night bus trip, how exciting! 😉 In 7-8 hours it would take us to Perreira, a short stopover on our way to Salento, and we would safe money on a hostel since we travel through the night. We had booked the tickets in an agency in Bogotá the same day with the bus company “Bolivariano”, although it is very common to purchase them at the ticket counter in the terminal shortly before departure. The tricky part was to actually get to the terminal where the bus would leave. Everyone told us to take a taxi as it is the easiest way – no, we will accept the challenge and go by bus! 🙂 The big terminal is called “Terminal de Transporte” and sometimes you would find it additionally under “Salitre”. We took the bus line K, direction airport, from the stop “Universidades”, and needed to get off at the stop “El tiempo” (not Salitre, that would be too far!). From there we walked over the pedestrian bridge to the right side. Once we crossed the street over the bridge, we kept walking right until Carrera 69, then left. We continued for another 15min walking always straight until we saw the “T” tower and the terminal [find a detailed description here: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/colombia/bogota/transport/getting-around/local-transport].
Let’s see how our first night bus trip goes…