Coming to Bogota was entering a completly new Colombia. I hadn´t any expectations so got a bit confused once I arrived. The architecture is so different to what I have seen before. It was a bit weird. The streets looked like I were in England. The weather (18°C instead of over 30°C) felt like my hometown Frankfurt but everyone still speaking Spanish. Even the look of the people was different to the coast.
For the first time in weeks I felt like being in a big city – and I have to recognize that it felt a bit like home. Even though I am still feeling sick I went for a walk, ate in a nice and healthy restaurant and my hostal was also pretty nice. It´s called 12:12 – it is not in the centre but in a calm and save area close to the financial center.
After spending some time here, I must recongize this is my favorite city so far on the trip. I just loved the vibe from the day one. I don´t understand why everyone told me that Bogota isn´t nice, not worth a visit… Just shows me again that advices are good but its always best checking things out for your own as the perception is something so subjective.
They even close part of the streets on Sunday morning till noon so people can go cycling in the city. I heard from other South American cities like Sao Paulo doing this and was happy to find out that Bogota is also doing it on a weekly basis.
One day in the city
The center is much nicer than Medellin. First I went up to Montserrate where you have a fantastic view above Bogota. It was quite cold so make sure you bring warm cloth in case you want to stay up a bit longer. After that I walked direction to Plaza de Boliver and from there just walked around the streets. Down to the city center and then back to La Candelaria neighbourhood. On Calle 7 you will find a lot of stores and as it was Sunday I found a flea market, on another spot a creative market (mercado de las pulgas, calle 7, every Sunday – worth a visit) and the typical mercadillo basically on the whole street 7. Every 10 meters you can find another “attraction”: people dancing or making music or doing gambling with guniea pigs (they let them walk and the people have to guess in which house it will enter). And there are actually people watching in all of those spots. A vivid athmosphre which is interesting to watch for a while. And also great for food, instead of going for lunch I jsut snacked around, some grilled grain of maize here, some waffles there and later a guanabana juice – and I was pretty full.
End of the story I had a great day in the city!
Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira
On my other day I went to Zipaquira, a small town about an hour away. It´s pretty nice and has a nice place and some artesanal shops.
To go there take a local bus to the northern terminal and from there buses to the town are departuring every couple of minutes (ticket 4.800 COP).
The highlight of the city is definitely the salt catherdral, 180 meters below earth, constructed close to and salt mine. Entry is quite expensive with 50.000 COP for foreigners but its worth the visit. On the way down you got a guided tour included and on the way back you can walk for yourself taking pictures. There is also a short 3D film about the area, a commercial zone and of course the church itself. On the day I visited there was a wedding scheduled for the evening so it was full of flowers which made it even look nicer.