Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Bogotá was better than I thought it might be. Mostly it was made enjoyable by meeting up and sharing meals with some nice people. I am becoming more used to navigating Couchsurfers and before coming to Bogotá I had posted my interest in meeting people for language/cultural exchange.To be honest the couchsurfer website is mega clunky and I have been unable to become a 'verified member' not withstanding that I paid for this status - no one takes responsibility for sorting out problems and it feels like virtual anarchy. Well anyway, I now have several good notes on my profile and in the end I received 4 offers for meetups but only had time to meet up with Myriam an  HR manager at a university department offering degrees for doctors and musicians. As a  cyclist and salsa fan, so she seemed like a good bet for a nice conversation. She was very kind in picking me up from the hotel in her car and we went to the unimaginetavely named Zona G which is mostly bars and restaurants where we had a nice dinner of pasta and later checked out a salsa venue, Bar Cubano  but it was pretty empty so we had one dance and left it at that. 

During the day I headed for the Candalaria district in the old part of central Bogota. Basically it comprises a mixture of well maintained and refurbished colonial buildings and others less tidy or in the process of gentrification. There are some nice looking restaurants and coffee bars and the area sits alongside the main State buildings, Presidential Palace and Plaza Bolivar the seat of Colombia's independence. It all has a relaxed feel and the area contains a number of universities and therefore a many young people hanging out between lectures. I walked up through the pretty gardens of one University to get a good view of the city. I was surprised by how quickly the cityscape gives way to small holdings and farms stretching up and beyond the its limits.

The next day I made visiting the national museum the main focus. It was rather disappointing and apart from its setting, an old prison it seemed poorly archived and failed to tell a coherent historical story of Colombia's development. That evening I met up with Ana who had been a member of the Croydon-Spanish group. She took me to a nice part of town and we had a Cauca Valley style meal, a sort of pizza but on a base of Platano

Probably I didn't do Bogota justice - I noticed some quite cool areas and felt that it would be a city worth exploring further - maybe I'll spend a few more days there when I leave.


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