My Top Ten Instagram Photos This Year (travelwellflysafe)

“Just give me a thousand words and you may make your own pictures.”
Erica Goros

I have been instagramming for about half of the year. I see the world in pictures anyway so it is really fun for me. I learn as I go. I have “internet brain” now. i think it’s going to be a real thing. It is getting harder and harder to immerse myself in a book or lengthy article. It is much easier to spend time looking at photos that have nothing to do with anything, places I want to go or have been or finding the perfect emoji to put on my comment. My topic hopping, time-wasting, hashtagging, bad spelling sessions have resulted in this blog. (No particular order)

#sunset (Yesilkurt,Turkey)


#hiking in#redmountain (St. George, Utah)


impossibly#wide #beach (Marajo, Brazil)


Can you take a bad #Venice photo? (Italy)


#car in#cuba (Varadero,Cuba)


#streetart in #bogota (Colombia)


Holding up the #mountain just noticed the #cross (Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina)


#cactus or #cacti  (Jujuy, Argentina)


#sunset makes the best #photo (Izmir, Turkey)


Another boring day in #marajo (Belém, Brazil)


None of my LA photos made it into the top ten. Instagram likes me out-of-town, with mountains, a beach and a great sunset. I agree.

Fly safe,



If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Graffiti Art In Bogota Colombia

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them – Graffiti Art In Bogota, Colombia

“Graffiti is not about clean lines, pretty colors and beautiful blends. Graffiti is my life’s turbulence exploded on a wall.” Mint Serf


Graffiti started in Bogotá in the seventies with different futbol fans proclaiming their loyalty. It was a time of drug cartels, poverty and a repressed military society.The graffiti was a way of protesting  and not so much about art.  In the nineties it became more artistic. As in other countries, it was started by art students near the Universities.


In Bogotá like everywhere else, graffiti and graffiti art was a crime. In 2011 Diego Felipe Becerra was spray-painting his signature  Felix the Cat image on the walls of an underpass when he was killed by police.


Public outrage and protests led to the city’s change in attitude toward street art as well as the arrest of the officers. Certain walls became legal for graffiti.



The city began hiring street artists for public murals.



Many walls were designated for artistic expression and beautiful murals were painted – usually with political or social messages.



Looking over the photos there is definitely much more of this in Bogotá then in other countries I have been to.


The street art scene in Bogotá is not so much a street gallery as it is art in the streets. There are many less paid for walls and much more self-expression than in some other cities.


The paint is expensive so they use cheaper paint that is not long-lasting. .  The art is constantly changing. There are wall wars with people painting over each other’s pieces.


DJ Lu was one of the earlier street artists and his stencils all had serious political messages. He uses common branding as a way of getting his message across quickly. (pineapple grenades, mosquitos ,guns )




Rodez paints with his sons (both college graduates) and sometimes gets help from other street artists. They often teach in Buenos Aires.



Animal Poder Crew is a street art collective started by Stinkfish and has grown to include graffiti artists and writers from all over the world.


Toxicomono started as a punk rock band and grew into a street art group.


The increase in street art also produces an increase in tagging or vandalism. It’s hard to tell street artists where they can and cannot paint. It doesn’t go with the nature of street art. It s harder to tell people who are angry or just have something to say that they can’t write their messages on walls either.


Then there was Justin Bieber. After a concert in Bogotá, he went with a police escort to write on city walls that were off-limits for graffiti. Overnight, hundreds of new artworks appeared on the underpass. When approached by police the artists said, “Why don’t you protect us like you did Justin Bieber?”

Thanks Luiz Lamprea for your knowledge and love of street art.


Fly safe,






Day Trip from Bogota, Colombia

Day Trip From Bogotá, Colombia

“I love nature, I just don’t want to get any of it on me.”  Woody Allen

We turn on to a deserted road (and I use the word road very loosely). There has been nothing but nature around for a while. I am in Colombia with a tour guide and driver that I have met this morning. I decide to just put it out there. “Are you going to kill me?” Apparently not. We are really going hiking.


I am headed to Encenillo Biological Reserve ( in Trinidad in the province of Guasca about an hour out of Bogotá. It was established in 2007 with the purpose of conserving forests and preserving some of the unique species of birds and plants of Colombia.


This is the last remnants of primary forest of the Eastern Andean Cordillera. It had trees and plants like certain species of orchids and cedars not found anywhere else.


This may be the last refuge of populations of species of birds and mammals such as gouache and armadillo in the area.



It was also an area for limestone and you can see many quarries on route. (regenerated quarry)



There are many different trails. Our excellent guide Martha  from the Encenillo  Reserve speaks no English and I had to really focus to understand. Luiz translated when necessary. My Spanish improved a lot by the end of the hike.



We started at the Encenillo forests past the regenerated limestone quarry and then took the orchid path. It was not easy for me.


I am not a  hiker. I was ready to give up before we reached the top with its beautiful view of the surrounding valleys. I happened to have been on a flat part two hours later when I heard we still had twenty-five  minutes to go.  It is just  not heroic to give up on the flat part so I kept going.


But it is not about the hike. It’s about seeing the incredible beauty in a place you have never been before. It’s about your attitude on the steep part where you cant get your footing or you are pushing branches away from your face. It’s about continuing on when you don’t think you can.  It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and making it to the top. ( some people got their first)

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It is also about getting to the bottom which is always harder for me.


Thanks to tour guide  Luiz Lamprea for his kindness and patience; Martha Ligio Gutierrez Avellaneda  for her passion and knowledge of the reserve; and Gonzalo Pulido for being such a good driver.

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Viaje Con Cuidado


La Cometa And Andres Carne De Res – Art, Food, Drink And Dancing in Bogota, Colombia

La Cometa and Andre Carne De Res, Bogotá, Colombia – Art, Food, Drink and Dancing

When you are everywhere, you are nowhere / When you are somewhere, you are everywhere.” Rumi

Sometimes a space is greater than the sum of its parts. And other times the parts are just as great. This was my experience with two must see places in Bogotá Colombia.

I went to La Cometa in Bogotá ( almost as soon as I got off the plane.


Instead of being kidnapped or forced to do cocaine, I found myself in this amazing contemporary art gallery.


This was not the Bogotá that the years of bad press had portrayed.   I was immediately at home in this country.


La Cometa is beautiful, peaceful and unexpected. (photo Lina Leal)


The space itself relaxes all your senses to focus on the art. It is well designed to wander, explore and draw your own conclusions.

The contemporary art always tells me about who a country is now.


La Cometa had Colombian and Latin American artists when I was there .


It is an important gallery in the Colombian art scene. The pieces are, happy, discordant, silly, fun, interesting, challenging or undefinable. (Lina Leal)


Art is always a personal spiritual journey for me.

I actually didn’t go to Andres Carne De Res because I didn’t go to Chia the suburb it is in. I went to Andres D.C. in Bogotá the “smaller and calmer outpost.”(

From the moment you walk in, it is an all night fiesta or rumba as they call it in Colombia.  There are four floors from Hell to Heaven or perhaps you sit in Purgatorio waiting to find out.



The restaurant was founded by artist Andre Jaramillo and the attention to the art and art details is crazy. I’m sure you can go there a 100 times and always see things you have never seen before.

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They also serve food. The menu is a novel/ art coffee table book.


Obviously there is a lot of carne (meat) as well as amazing traditional Colombian dishes and  everything else you can think of. Sixty four pages is a lot of menu. (Colombian appetizers)


The aguardiente is flowing. If you order wine, it is served in hand painted wine bottles that you are encouraged to take home.


The music is everything from Colombian salsa, my favorite Cuban songs to American. Everyone is dancing or wants to.

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There are Cirque de Soleil like characters walking around who’s job it is to embarrass you, get you up on the dance floor and make sure you laugh at yourself.


There is even shopping. Yes, I bought a few things.

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Andres Carne D.C is the party energy of Bogotá at its best.

Both spaces are creating a mood where anything can happen. What they have in common is they both use their space to design the sensory experience whether crazy or peaceful and they are both amazing and should not be missed.

Viaje Con Cuidado



Things That I Have Learned In Bogota, Colombia

Things I Have Learned In Bogotá, Colombia

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps.” Frank Herbert

Bogotá has the best water in South America.

In the year 2000 the Fernando Botero museum opened in Bogotá. The art collection was donated by Fernando Botero and is the most important donation in the country’s history. It includes 123 works by Botero and 85 works from his collection by artists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century such as Picasso, Giacometti, Monet, Dali, Matisse, Chagall, Renoir etc.


He had one stipulation. The artwork had to be eye level , unobstructed and free to all people.   The informality and openness of a collection equal to any high level museum is an unforgettable experience. It is amazing to stand directly in front of a priceless work of art without glass or security telling you to move back.IMG_3711

His overly large figures always make me laugh.

Bogotá has a lower murder rate than the Wash DC.

Bogotá has a lot of hippies. Parts of Upper Candalaria seem like Greenwich Village in the seventies.


The perfect view of Bogotá is from Monserrate.


Monserrate is a mountain in Bogotá. It is 3,152 meters high (10,341 ft) with a 17th century church and a shrine to El Senor Caldo (Fallen Lord).


If you are on a pilgrimage you will walk up from Bogotá (It takes an hour and a half) On Sunday you can see many families doing this. If you are a tourist you have the option to walk or take a funicular up. I did that and took the teleferico (cable car) down.

There is a rivalry between Medellin and Bogotá.

The airport is Bogotá is clean and organized. I did not see any clocks at the Colombian Airlines terminal – which is maybe why the planes were never on time.

The Gold Museum has the biggest collection of gold handicrafts in the world. It is a good place to see Colombia’s pre Colombian heritage.


Bogotá has the most extensive network of bicycle routes ( ciclorutas) in Latin America and almost in the world.



One of the most amazing things in Bogotá is Ciclovia. On Sundays from 7AM to 2PM seventy miles of the city is closed to traffic



It is a great way to enjoy the city. In addition to bicycling twenty stages are set up for yoga, aerobics and dance instruction.


Around two million riders, skateboarders ,walkers and joggers use the streets on Sundays.


This has been copied by many cities in the world though none have as large an area closed off.



I’m a huge fan of Marquez literature. I love the poetic magical realism. To me he is a wonderful story-teller whether I get the point of all his fantasies or not. In his world lines between beauty and cruelty and dreams and reality are always blurred. Seems to be a lot like life. Marquez died on Thursday at 87. Dream forever Gabo.


He is known as Gabo in Colombia. He won the Nobel prize for literature in 1982 and wrote two of my all time favorite books – 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. At the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Plaza  there is an amazing bookstore, Juan Valdez coffee shop and tango classes on Sunday.


Sunday flea market in Usaquen is a fun thing to do. There are unique kitchen items like wooden cooking utensils, handmade place mats and tablecloths, trays and plates made from different materials, and the famous chamba pottery.


There are hand crafted preserves, candies, fruit and coca leaf products  and everything is 100 per cent Colombian. Fruit and juice sellers, jewelry makers ,street entertainers and musicians are everywhere. ( guama – a pod fruit with a delicious chewy  cotton like inside)



No matter how much partying you have done Saturday night, Sunday is not a day to do nothing in Bogotá. There is just too much going on. (kids in plastic on water?)


Muchas Gracias Beronica Buitrago Vega for a wonderful time in Bogota and for setting the tone for an amazing trip.


Viaje Con Cuidado,