|Flying over the Andes|
Day 1 - So after our drama of arriving we got up the next day ready to take on the city. Diosa, our Spanish teacher from London's aunt, is lovely. She lives in Villa Magdela, which is a suburb about 40 minutes north of the city centre. She has a great 3 bedroom flat in a security building. She has been so welcoming and really made us feel like this is our home away from home.
On our first day sight-seeing Diosa walked us to the bus station so we knew where it was, and asked for our bus tickets for us and tried to tell us which bus to catch. Her English is pretty good, better than our Spanish, we manage to converse ok with the help of Table Top a great translation app we can form broken sentences and use this for when neither of us know a word for something.
|Our host in Bogota, Diosa|
Bless her, Diosa is lovely but she thinks Bogota is 'muy peligroso' (very dangerous) and got a bit worried when we got home at 7.30 at night when we said we expected to be back at 7.
We got on the bus, a note here, the bus system in Bogota is great but confusing, there are many buses going down the same dedicated bus lanes but only stop at certain stops and there is not a great way of knowing which stop the bus will stop at, 5 buses later, when we think we have worked it out something goes wrong.
|Kids at the Museo Botero|
We had a very tasty meal at a pasta and salad place in the old town called Andante Ma Non Troppo, delicious! It is quite cheap here to eat out (with GBP as the currency of our budget), we are under budget each day, which has evened out the overspends in Brazil and Argentina.
As the day was relatively clear - note that due to the mountains and the elevation (we are at 2600 metres here) the weather is generally cloudy and occasional rain - we took the funicular up to Cerro de Monserrate which is at 3200 metres, to be honest we have noticed the altitude when we have been walking up the streets in the historic town (which are very steep), and have had to stop occasionally to catch our breaths and way up here was no different - the views are literally breathtaking. There is a church built on top of the mountain - we could not imagine how they got the materials up there.
|View from Cerro de Monserrate|
Day 2 was spent other Museo del Oro, the gold museum. The largest collection of had made gold artificacts in the world. Three hours of looking at gold, don't get us wrong it was amazing, there was just a lot of it! We then went emerald shopping, Columbia is famous for its emeralds, there must be 100 shops selling them, we didn't count them but they are in one area of about 2 streets plus the Emerald Trade Centre, and despite all these emeralds, Ellen didn't find anything she liked, she's too fussy, she wanted platinum - which is surprisingly not common here, despite Columbia having a large supply of it. We'll have to look in Cartagena.
We did see one of the most distressing and moving things we have seen on our travels, a man on the street, he didn't look more than 20, filthy - not just dirty, filthy. No shoes, thread-bare clothes and he was reaching out to a woman walking along eating something, he looked like he could hardly walk. We have seen questionable homeless people begging all over the place but this guy - both of us were fighting back tears with the sight of him, we walked into the nearest shop which was a Subway and got him a sub with a coke and added a banana we had in our bag and walked back and have it to him, he looked genuinely shocked that we were giving it to him. There is so much poverty here in South America, it's quite shocking.
|Zipaquira Plaza de Independencia|
|Local bus, Columbian style|
Next stop; Cartagena, our flight is at 8 and we have to leave at 5am. ouch.