Bogota, Colombia 2017, Part 1

Bogota, ChichaColombia is a fascinating place, and Bogota (the capital) is no exception. I arrived late on Friday night after four flights and having my luggage routed to LA instead of with my flight to Houston and the paperwork associated with that. Needless to say I was pretty exhausted. I’d booked an Airbnb and was so thankful that they were so accommodating. Taxis and Uber make the city easy to get around, if you can find one (not a problem at the airport).

JugglerOn Saturday I did what I love to do when visiting a new city, take a free walking tour. I used Beyond Colombia and we met at the Museo de Oro in the Candelaria district at 10am. There were around 15 of us, and our guide Angelica meandered the streets, explaining various sights in the city. The city is a strange melting pot of heritage from the colonial to the modern day, many of the streets and buildings have a tale to tell, whether of conquest, protest, revolution, liberation, corruption, change and all the blood that flows between. Like most places in the developing world, Bogota is a city that has been many things and is still figuring out its future. I thoroughly recommend taking the tour, and listening to a Bogotano tell you their story.

By PedroDiazS (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsA few highlights of the tour was stopping at a café near Chorro de Quivado (The original site of Bogota) for some Bogotano Chicha, which was a nice if slightly sour fruity drink made from corn. Visiting the Casa de Moneda/Museo Botero buildings briefly and seeing a piece of art by Botero which many believe has a double meaning (possibly triple) depending on the angle you view it. And then there are the hidden statues by Jorge Olava in the Candelaria that you have to be looking for to notice them such as the juggler, the shoe shiner, the soldier, the fishing boy, and more.

After the walk I met the reason I was actually staying in Bogota, my friend Angelica. We had met years earlier on my previous trip to Colombia, where we had developed the start of a friendship, and we had arranged to meet again and hang out.

We took my guide from Beyond Colombia and visited one of the best cafes I have been to in South America, Amor Patrio. This little café hidden on the first floor of an unassuming building in La Candelaria is an expression of love for coffee, books. The staff here are so passionate about coffee that they offer most preparations as well as a great range of beautifully roasted Colombian beans and more than happy to talk about the qualities of all of them. We chose to have a Single Origin Santander Ibrik (a Turkish preparation).

Amor PatrioThe coffee was prepared in front of us, with a staff member explaining the equipment, ingredients and a little of the history of the preparation. It was almost performance art, as they gracefully prepared the coffee for us.  Which is why, this is the café I recommend coffee lovers to visit during their stay.

We stayed here for an hour or so enjoying our coffee, the atmosphere and talking before heading out to wander the city.
Continued in Part 2