Bogotá beginnings

Apart from ticking off the Galápagos Islands and Chilean Patagonia from our travel list the main reason we had come to South America was to catch up with our son Lee and his girlfriend Laura in her home city of Bogotá in Colombia. We arrived after dark and were met by Lee and Laura. From the airport we drove to the charming suburb of Usaquen. Lee had booked a small apartment via AirBnB for us to base ourselves in whilst in Bogotá.The following day was mostly an adjustment day as Bogotá is at over 2600m altitude, has a population of just over 8 million, lots of vehicular traffic and a steady daytime temperature of about 20 celcius with showers possible most days. To start with we took an Uber down to another green suburban, Parque 93, where we ate lunch at a trendy café, Alelú, before meeting Rich, an English friend of Lee’s, at the Bogotá Beer Company. Yes their beer was pretty good and we had a relaxing time drinking and chatting.That evening we went out to dinner at Andrés DC, a large multi storey restaurant/nightclub venue with Laura’s parents hosting us. It was a fun night but probably not as much fun for Lee and Laura who did a lot of interpreting as our Spanish is limited to a few words and phrases and Laura’s parents understand about the same amount of English.

The next day we drove up above the city to visit Monserrate, We met Laura and Travis, another of Lee’s friends, at the funicular ticket office. At the top it’s over 3100m in altitude with a great view over the city. It has a church and shrine atop the mountain. Initially we took the funicular railway most of the way up before exploring around.

The stain glass windows in the church were lovely.

After descending on the funicular we made our way on foot downtown through the university area.

As we were getting hungry we looked around the restaurants in the area eventually going into a French restaurant, Sant Just. There were only a few items on the menu but the food was simple and delicious.

Dessert was beautifully presented.We had a fun time chatting as we ate and drank. Travis is from Alaska so it was interesting as we have never been there yet. After lunch we took an Uber to the edge of the Plaza Bolivar. Our first stop was at the nearby Museo Botero, home to the artwork of Colombia’s most famous living artist, Fernando Botero. His painting style is well known for his oversized figures. Here’s his version of the Mona Lisa.The museum is on two levels with a beautiful central courtyard garden.

As well as over 100 of his own works (paintings and sculptures) he has donated more than 80 works of other famous artists to the museum.After spending some time in the museum we walked down to Plaza Bolivar. It’s a massive square with many historic buildings around its perimeter.

The Presidential residence is next to it.

Access is extremely limited.We continued our walk but as light was fading we turned back after reaching this monastery and returned to the Plaza Bolivar where we took an Uber back to our apartment in Usaquen, a slow trip in peak hour. After a brief rest we headed out to Wok, a lovely Asian restaurant and had a delicious meal before crashing into bed after a very long day.

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