Bogota is very easy on the eye, buildings wise. An array of gorgeous wee buildings in different colours and designs line the streets near Plaza de Bolivar and all the way to the nearby area “La Candelaria”.
Main museum. Because I was staying with Felipe and getting a tour everywhere we walked, I didn’t once feel the need to visit a museum. Plus he’d have been bored by it. I remember thinking – let’s spend our entire time walking outside, I can read the books and history on my bus to Venezuela.
It’s not unusual to see a Llama right bang in the city centre, though I’m pretty pleased I got close enough to get this photo.
There was this striking yellow church which immediately reminded me of the beautiful yellow “Nagytemplom” in the Hungarian city of Debrecen. Here’s the Debrecen one at an angle, the only surviving photo I have of it:
Anyway, flashbacks and comparisons always happen when you travel around, so we’ll leave it at that. Back to Bogota…
A football stadium, but not the national team one – the Colombian National team play their home matches in Barranquilla rather than in Bogota. Apart from Chile, I don’t remember a country in South America where I didn’t see one – and in most cases I was inside one. Colombia’s football history is bittersweet – Their nickname is often “Los Cafeteros” (the coffee growers) and they have won the Copa America just once in 2001. They famously scored 4 goals against USSR in their very first World Cup in 1962, however the sadness of Colombian life is evident from the shooting of right back Andres Escobar in 1994 (who scored the own goal which basically put Colombia out of USA 1994) and the imprisonment of former stars Carlos Valderamma and Rene Higuita. To put this into perspective for Northern Irish readers, it would be like Anton Rogan being shot by the UDA for scoring an o.g. for NI, and David Healy and Steve Davis being banged up for drugs. The parallels may not quite fit, but it does go to show that Colombia has far more problems than my own country of Northern Ireland. Sometimes we forget things like that in life.
It was a quiet day when we were there in Bogota – actually I just remembered it was New Year’s Eve 2010. The streets round La Candelaria were very quiet. Here a photo taken by Julio, we were the only 2 people on the street. I like this photo, it’s like I’m a lost Northern Irishman looking for a pub that’s open just to get my fill of Guinness!
Relaxing in the same spot! You’ll find my Bogota photos are longer and a different shape. This was just after the Inca Trail where my camera broke at Winaywayna and I was trying to get used to my new camera. The photos on the other streets came out so badly unfortunately that some of my Bogota images are merely in my head. Here’s one of the “bad photos.”
La Candelaria is beautiful to walk around and I believe there are a few hostels there. At night it can be dangerous, muggings and shootings have been known to happen.
We made a visit to Drinker’s Square, where at night alcoholics, druggys and locals mingle and enjoy an evening. By day the same square is deserted…
Pretty murals and colourful buildings in and around La Candelaria (and “Drinker’s Square”).
Tits cake in a Bogota cake shop.
There are local restaurants everywhere – Bogota is not commercial or over the top with foreign restaurants. Felipe took me to this one – He had fish soup.
And I went for a beef dish, which came with rice, spaghetti, banana, chips and the beef steak. Papaya juice on the side. I don’t know if this is traditional Colombian, but it was nice and it was cheap.
A market that was empty the day we were there.
Cerro de Montserrate up on the hill. Apparently a great view of Bogota. But I didn’t go up to see it.
Bringing the crates in – life goes on – daily workers by a restaurant.
A funky wee market square. There’s a few of them about. Similar to those in Bolivia and Ecuador selling souvenirs, cheap jewellery and colourful clothing.
Iglesia de San Francisco sits proudly in Bogota on a corner by yet another square. I went inside briefly and there was a service on.
Flying the flag outside Iglesia de San Francisco.
Avenida Jimenez. One of the main streets in downtown Bogota.
Carrera 7 – next main street along with bus routes.
Museo del Oro – the Gold Museum.
Cafes, art galleries and museums give Bogota colour, imagination and what I felt was a bit of an “Italian flavour.”
This pretty local was flambouyant dressed in the Colombian flag colours, which gave me a reminder of World Cup 1990, when a Colombian fan wore something similar. Myself, being dressed in the green Northern Ireland shirt, joined in for a photo.
A nice moment which I will forever remember in Bogota – Northern Ireland and Colombia join together – we played them in a friendly in 1994, losing 2-0.
They could have fooled me, I thought Northern Ireland was the Emerald country. I also enjoyed this bit!
More typical streets in Bogota. Charming. I even found some graffiti with Jhonny on it so another photo was in store.
Cafe Pasaje downtown Bogota was where I enjoyed my first Bogota bar experience. Friendly, relaxed and an ice cold beer. Another special moment. I had an Aguila (Eagle) – the best Colombian beer I had.
These “phone stalls” make me laugh. Even locals in Colombia don’t own mobile phones, not sure if it’s because they are scared they will get stolen or because they can’t afford the phones. Basically you pay the vendor “x” amount of money depending on how long you spend on the phone he lends you. The phones are cheap, shit ones, so nobody would think of stealing them. Felipe doesn’t own a phone, but carries around a piece of paper with important numbers on it and then chooses the correct moment to use them. It makes a nice change from London, Sydney or The Kong where people flash their iPhones and Nokias all over the show. Do that in Bogota and your phone will not last 5 minutes. Believe me.
Similarly to La Paz, these mayhemic “Collectivos” or “Minibuses” are everywhere and a very good way to get around. Only if your Spanish and directions are any good though. I used them a couple of times with Felipe, but I would not have wanted to use them on my own in Bogota, just in case I ended up on “bullet street” (a street in Bogota famous for murders).
A trendy Pedestrian precinct. Open and wide, therefore slightly safer from thiefs.
One of the main bus station interchanges at Avenida Jimenez, with a market nearby.
We got off a bus near Margarita’s flat and had a short walk around this area, near “Nice.”