After a 2 week visit with family and friends in Canada, first in Winnipeg, then in Calgary, we finally hopped on the flights that would take us to Colombia, via Toronto. We touched down late in the evening of November 27th in Bogota and made our way to our rented appartment in the old town, “La Candelaria.”
Our first steps in Bogota were cautious ones following the recent social protests and resulting government imposed curfew which took place just days prior to our arrival. Hundreds of thousands of people had taken to the streets to protest against government corruption, austerity measures (Colombia is one of the countries in South America with the largest gap between rich and poor), and lack of enforcement of the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Vandalism and looting also occured during the protests and environmental and animal rights activists and women’s rights groups also joined in the protests. A nationwide strike is planned for December 4th. Interestingly, a general strike (to protest reforms to the retirement system) is planned for December 5th in France, illustrating the similarities between the social mouvements taking place simultaneously across many countries around the world at this time. Increased police and military presence is currently evident everywhere and as a tourist, this is both comforting and unsettling.
Bogota is full of great museums, including the excellent Museo del Oro (gold museum) and the Botero Museum.
Bogota is also home to many excellent restaurants, including the crazy local institution “Andrès Carne de Res” in the northern neighborhood of Chia.
Right down the street from our apartment was the famous Fulanitos restaurant, with delicious regional cuisine served in a historical house with several beautifully decorated dining rooms.
Two of the biggest Bogota attractions are the Catedral de Sal, a cathedral constructed underground in the salt mines of Zipaquira, a town north of Bogota, and the Cerro de Montserrate, a hill on the south-east side of Bogota where a sanctuary stands. The views of Bogota from the top are amazing!
Of course there are many churches and cathedrals in the city, some of which we were able to visit during our stay.
We enjoyed our stay in Bogota and are currently in Cartagena, where we are waiting to pick up Tommy and Milou when they arrive on the Guayaquil Express. South American time is approximative and for Laurent and I who are used to Swiss precision, the vague delivery date that has been communicated to us by the shipping company is far from satisfying. We also should mention that the shipping company switched boats on us and we learned this by chance! However, we need to learn to be patient and adapt to the local processes. The real adventure will begin once Tommy rolls off the ship and we hit the road. Stay tuned!