Bogota, Colombia

Welp…remember a few weeks ago when I wrote my last Colombia blogpost, in advance of my next international trip to Israel & Jordan? Yeah, that trip got cancelled the day after, and Israel shut its borders pretty soon after. And then, a week later, much of the US also went into self-isolation mode, so as you know, these days we are all sitting at home and not traveling until who-knows-when. I’m thankful I was able to squeeze out a trip to Florida for a week before the isolation really hit (Miami, Key West, & Universal Studios), which I’ll post about later since I have all the time in the world now. For the next few weeks (months?), I’m happy to do my part and sit at home in efforts to #flattenthecurve. School has become completely virtual too, so one silver lining to all of this is that I’m no longer doing the weekly Boston – NHV commute anymore! I’m sure when classes start again next week, it’ll become a lot busier, but for now I’m happy taking advantage of this downtime to read, workout, and catch up on my TV shows.

So here’s the last post from our Colombia travels a few months ago – hopefully not the only international destination this year, but it looks like our Spain trip in May is also getting cancelled 😦 Hopefully things calm down by the late summer so we can make up for it!

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2 Days in Bogota

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DSC_0834Most international flights go into Bogota, and I really thought it would just be a “jumping off” city to the other beautiful destinations I was excited to see in Colombia. How wrong I was! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but as soon as we got into an Uber to our hotel, I noticed how pleasantly *calm* the city was. I think all the talks about the drug history in Colombia, along with people’s surprise (“Why are you going there?”) when we said we were going to Colombia, affected by biases. Bogota immediately shattered those biases, so much so that I wish we had stayed longer.

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courtyard at the Museo Botero

We had a (cheap, but clean) Ibis hotel near the museum district. Our first day, we visited the La Candaleria district, which is full of beautiful murals. Street art is decriminalized in Bogota, so there’s tons of graffiti and murals everywhere.  We wish we had enough time to take a walking tour, but we walked around ourselves and ended up at the Botero Museum (free!). I love Botero, even though M thinks that all his work looks the same.

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We also visited the Bolivar Square, which is right next door to one of the oldest restaurants in Bogota – La Puerta Falsa. Here we had delicious “chocolate completo” and ajiaco (really hearty chicken soup); the restaurant is pretty small, so even though we came in around 3 PM, there was still around an hour long wait.

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Ajiaco

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Ubers are technically legal in Bogota, but they still operate – we took UberX to be safe. This is how we got to my favorite part of Bogota – Monserrate! There was a really long line to take the cable cars and funicular up the mountain, but you can also hike up if you want to make the pilgrimage. This is where the best view in Bogota, and you can have some delicious arepas at the top while walking around to explore the church and gardens. DSC_0839

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the cable car up Monserrate

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DSC_0830On our way down, we visited Simon Bolivar’s house at the foot of the mountain. It was so cool to learn a bit more about Bolivar and how he liberated most of South America. It’s still on my list to read a biography about him, hopefully ahead of the next time we visit South America (Peru in October, hopefully!)

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Our final museum was the National Museum of Colombia, where our hotel was located. There were student discounts everywhere so it was only around $1 to get in; most things in the museum was in Spanish so I couldn’t really enjoy it to the full extent, but the architecture of the museum was beautiful (it was a former penitentiary).

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Even though we only spent 2 days in Bogota, we felt like we got a good taste of the city, and had a great time wandering around our neighborhoods. Overall, Colombia was one of our favorite international trips we’ve ever taken, and we can’t wait to return to South America!

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