Reaching Bogota in many ways was the end of one journey, and the start of another. It was time my best friend Ross had to go home. We had started our epic adventure 5 months ago when set off from London Gatwick: Destination Miami, Florida. Together we had the trip of a lifetime. 10 countries conquered. What a privilege. We’ve been fortunate enough to see things that many people will never have such an opportunity to do. Scaling volcanoes whilst spewing lava, diving with sharks, rays and turtles, zip lining through lushious green rainforest canopies are just three wonderful experiences. I could go on, but we’re currently in the process of making a little film – so watch this space!
On his final evening, we found a gem of a restaurant called Capital Cocina Y Cafe in the suburb of La Candelaria. It was a small, cosy restaurant with a great interior which had a similar feel to my favourite restaurant back home. It was clear that it was a city favourite as people were still coming in whilst we were leaving at around 10pm.
For Ross’s last day we decided to simply walk around the city to take it in as much as possible and to also visit Monserrate; the place with the most impressive viewpoint of the city. The city itself is the capital of Colombia and it’s fair to say its pretty big. Regarding its population, i guess it is similar to London, around the 9 million mark. Its elevation brings a refreshingly cooler climate in comparison to other parts of Colombia that I’ve visited. As it turns out, it’s actually the 4th highest capital city in the world sitting at 2625 meters above sea-level. La Paz in Bolivia is the highest – i hope to visit in the future. Sometimes i do think of strange things. I find it weird to think that in continental Europe, 2625 meters would provide you with blankets of ice and snow, where-as here, the temperature was around 18 degrees. What a difference a few miles closer to equator does eh?
Bogota is an interesting one. Originally i was going to attend my spanish school in the capital. However, after hours of research i decided with Medellin and I’m very pleased to say i have made the correct choice. I just never really felt entirely safe in Bogota, a feeling i don’t experience often. It was just one of those places where you would find yourself looking over your shoulder and holding your backpack straps a little tighter. Don’t get me wrong, there are some nice places. Bolívar Square for example, named after Simon Bolívar who essentially created the sovereign states of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia was very pleasant as colonial Spanish architecture was ever present.
However, there was just something missing. It was the small things. A lack of fruit stalls, the military holding guns that were the size of something you could crash a plane with, no kids running around playing football, and hardly any street music are things that spring to mind. Having said that, I must admit, the graffiti scene which the city is famous for was pretty cool. This along with Monserrate went a long way to redeem my view of the city somewhat.
Monserate is a mountain above Bogota that is reached by cable car. An extra 500 meters or so takes you to 3,152 metres above sea level. The view from the top really is a good one. On this day though, it was overcast and there was a low hanging smog over the city. Nothing unusual I’m sure. At one point there was a break in the cloud, and the sun shone through down on a small part of the city like a spotlight focusing on an actor on stage. Was really cool.
Overall, i didn’t spend much time in Bogota and I’m glad that was the case. I didn’t have the patience for it. In my opinion, there are far more interesting places to spend your time in this wonderful country. It struck me as a city that many visit and yet, very few manage to completely discover.