Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2012, 13th - 17th March: Bogotá, Colombia

For the full complement of photos that accompany this blog entry, use the following link to the corresponding set in my Flickr account:

While not a record breaker, Bogotá´s altitude at 2600 metres (8500 feet) is sufficiently high for Colombia´s capital city to be a touch on the chilly side at times, with regular rain and air thin enough to make rotund folk breathless on stairs.

The La Candelaria district where I stayed is the historic centre of the city, with sights such as Plaza de Bolivar, the Cerro de Monserrate teleférico (cable car) and numerous museums nearby. La Candelaria has a ´shabby chic´ feel, but has plenty of character and is memorably different to some barrios (districts) of other South American cities which are just too geometric (following the ubiquitous grid system for street layout) and architecturally unimaginative.

Iglesia del Carmen, La Candlaria

Atop a steep hill behind the La Candelaria district is the Cerro Monserrate teleférico (cable car) which takes you to the summit where there is a church and commanding views of the city below. Being six foot four of wind and piss, my height makes it pretty difficult to blend-in in South America. This was evident at the top of Cerro de Monserrate where some school children were fascinated by such a human anomaly and excitedly assembled for photos with the very tall guy.

Cerro de Monserrate Teleférico 

El Gringo Alto Con Colombianos

One day, Brian from Ireland (who I met in the hostel) and I hired some bicycles and completed a ´follow your nose until you find something interesting´ cycling tour of the city. This took in some of the less salubrious districts, including the La Maria and En Consuelo barrios which have great views of Bogotá from their position on the hills that flank the city. While cycling up those very steep hills, the altitude was evident with my lungs going into overdrive. In En Consuelo, eating with the locals in a café gave us a super cheap lunch.

During Cycle Tour - La Maria Barrio

In Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) I was particularly interested in the artefacts which relate to the Shamanistic culture that was present in the indigenous communities (before the Spanish invaders). The artefacts frequently represented the animals and animal combinations that are used in Shamanistic journeying.

Artefact in Museo del Oro

Tim the Tool

In the hostel in Bogotá I was fortunate to meet Bo from Korea. Her kindness was apparent when after journeying to Medellín with me she visited me and generally looked out for me for my first few days in hospital there (see next blog entry).

Tim & Bo with Colombian Beers

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