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.
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,
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