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Bogotá

This past weekend I took my first trip to the big city to visit some friends. One of the first things that struck me about Bogotá was the prevalence of graffiti on nearly every building we passed while on the metro. There is a large culture of street artists there since graffiti is not illegal, but rather hugely supported. Another thing that struck me was the temperature! Thanks to its elevation of 8,512 feet the weather is quite a bit cooler than what I’m used to in Bucaramanga, a welcomed change! The day I left Colorado on the heels of an epic blizzard I had no idea that cool weather was going to be one of the things I’d be missing the most.

Este fin de semana fui a la ciudad grande para visitar algunos amigos mios. Imediatamente me estaba maravillada con el graffiti que cubre cada edificio. Allá hay una escena de graffiti muy fuerte porque graffiti no es ilegal, sino apoyado grandemente. Tambien me gustó mucho la temperatura de Bogotá. El día que salí Colorado, durante una tormenta de nieve fuertisima, no sabía que iba a extrañar tanto el clima frio.

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Bogotá is not an easy city to navigate, after my late arrival on a Saturday afternoon we spent 2 hours on 4 buses to get to Diego’s apartment. Subsequently, we didn’t have enough energy to do more than visit a cafe in the Chapinero neighborhood that evening. The next morning we got up bright and early to climb El Cerro de Monserrate. It turns out everyone else had the same idea, so the trail was crowded to say the least. Monserrate is a famous landmark of Bogotá which can be seen from nearly every corner of the city. The history of the site dates back to the 1620’s when Spanish conquistadors began using it as a holy site and later constructed a church which was completed in 1657.

Llegué muy tarde por la tarde en Sábado y después de dos horas en cuatro buses para llegar al apartmento de Diego, no teníamos suficiente energía para hacer algo más de ir un cafe en Chapinero. La proxima manana madrugamos para subir El Cerro de Monserrate junto con todo el mundo! Estaba muy aborratodo! Monserrate es conocidísimo en Bogotá y tiene una iglesia que fue construido en el año 1657.

The view from the beginning of our hike./La vista antes de nuestro camino.

The view of Monserrate from the beginning of our hike./La vista de Monserrate antes de nuestro camino.

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Dripping with sweat, we arrived at the top after an hour and fifteen minutes! At the top sits the church, an old house and a giant artesian marketplace. We munched on fresh cheese with bocadillo and chicha while taking pictures of everything.

Muy sudados, lo logramos después de una hora y cuarto! En la cima se quedan la iglesia, una casa antigua y un mercado artesanal grande. Tomamos cuajada con bocadillo y chicha mientras tomando muchisimas fotos.

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There's also a tramway to the top./También puedes llegar a la cima por teleférico.

There’s also a cable car to the top./También puedes llegar a la cima por teleférico.

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Cuajada! Mmmmmm.

Cuajada! Mmmmmm.

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After our hike we headed to a charming restaurant in El Churro to have lunch. El Churro is the block where the city of Bogotá was supposedly born many centuries ago. It’s located in the historic part of the city called La Candelaria. I was very happy to be able to be able to meet up with Vaya, my former co-worker at Colombo from Greece who’s spending her last weeks in Colombia. We went to a photography exhibit in one of the art museums featuring work by Vik Muniz. His work is very interesting because he recreates famous images using mediums such as peanut butter, toy soldiers or trash.

Después de nuestro camino largisimo almorzamos en un restaurante encantador en El Churro, donde nacio Bogotá. Con alegría, me reuní con mi amiga gregia Vaya! Nos fuimos a una exposición de fotografía de Vik Muniz en un museo. Sus obras son muy interesantes porque reproduce imágenes famosas con medios como mantequilla de mani, juguetes o basura.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent in La Candalaria with our fingers glued to our camera shutters.

Pasamos el resto de esta tarde en La Candalaria con los dedos pegados al disparador de nuestras cámaras.

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In the evening we wandered over to the Zona T neighborhood, hoping to go salsa dancing, but found the club we had in mind to be closed. After our monstrous hike in the morning, that was probably for the best. Instead we settled into an Irish Pub and at last I discovered that delicious beer does indeed exist in Colombia! I had been having my doubts after having grown accustomed to Denver’s abundance of microbreweries.

Monday was very relaxed. We took a bus north and got a ride with a friend to her finca in the village of Guaymaral. The day was spent cooking, eating, playing with small dogs and lounging in the beauuuuutiful garden. While hanging out in the kitchen our host asked me what I missed from the United States. The first thing that always comes to my mind when asked this question (after friends and family of course) is…..peanut butter! It does indeed exist here, but it’s very, very expensive. Likewise, I know that I could make my own, but I miss the consistency of store-bought peanut butter. To my delight she told me that she had some peanut butter in the cupboard! I may or may not have eaten three peanut butter sandwiches throughout the day. They were second in tastiness only to the amazing dessert we had with condensed milk, lime and crackers.

Por la noche damos una vuelta en Zona T. Queríamos bailar salsa en un club recomendado por una amiga, pero lo encontramos cerrado. Probablamente mejor después de nuestro camino muy agotador por la mañana. Al fin, fuimos a un Irish Pub y descubrí que, de hecho, ¡cerveza rica existe en Colombia! Tenía mis dudas puesto que Colorado es famoso por su cerveza artesenal.

El Lunes fue muy relejado. Nos reunimos con una amiga en el norte de Bogotá y ella nos llevó a su finca en Guaymaral. Pasamos el día cocinando, comiendo, jugando con perritos y charlando en el jardín hermoso. Mientras estábamos en la cocina, nuestro anfitrióna me preguntó lo que extraño de los EE.UU. La contesté, “¡mantequilla de maní!”. Para mi placer, me dijo que tenía mantequilla de maní en la alacena y procedí a comer tres sandwiches de mantequilla de maní durante el día.

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Diego or Bob Dylan??

Diego or Bob Dylan??

I flew back to Bucaramanga late on Monday night and on Tuesday morning I was gifted with a special souvenir from my trip: food poisoning from the tap water in Bogotá! Luckily I was just confined to bed for a day and made a quick recovery.

El Lunes regresé a Bucaramanga por avión muy tarde por la noche. El Martes recibí un regalo de intoxicación del agua de Bogotá. Afortunadamente la pasó en un día. 

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