We are so tired!! The jet lag is catching up with us now.... Yesterday which was our first day in Bogota we were up at 06.20 already, since the sun rises early it is hard to sleep any longer. We got up and had a lovely hot shower, however we couldn'tīt change our clothes since the backpacks hadn'tīt arrived which was awful. So we had to put on the same clothes as we traveled in the day before. Anyway, we headed out to explore Bogota, took a walk down to Plaza Simon Bolivar which is the main square in the city center. We took it easy taking in the square and all itīs monuments. Then we found a tourist office in one corner of the square and started chatting to this lovely tourist police. We just thought they were there for every-ones security but no. They also provide lots of information and are just as well informed as a tourist guide. Our sweet tourist police Ivan offered to tell us about the square. He told us about the Catedral Primada which is Bogota's largest church
. It has a curios clock which was ordered to be made by a famous Swiss clock maker, the poor man made a mistake on the Latin numbers and instead of putting IV for 4 he put IIII and was therefore assassinated. As a protest to this cruelty, they started making all the clocks in Bogota with the same error. Next door is the Capilla del Sagrario, the only colonial building in the famous square overlooked by a statue of Simon Bolivar himself, just slightly improved, legend says the statue is a good bit taller than the real man. In the same square you can also find the Palacio de Justicia, the supreme court. The Capitolio Naciónal which is both the senate and the congress. After chatting to Ivan for a good while we went to get some information from the tourist office and ended up signing ourselves up for a walking tour the same afternoon, a completely free service. We took a stroll around the closest neighborhood and had a quick lunch for less than 2eur for the two of us. Then a quick stop back to the hotel for a rest before the walking tour. The tour was great, our guide was called Heidi, she took us around the Plaza Simon Bolivar again and then for a tour around La Candelaria for 2hours and 45 minutes. After wards we stayed behind to ask her about information about the Zona Cafetera since she mentioned that she had worked as a tour guide there and we want to visit after leaving Bogota. We ended up chatting with Heidi and Christian, her colleague and she asked if we wanted to have a coffee, Christian was just leaving the office so we waited for him to look up and finish his shift
. The coffee plan turned into beers and snacks in a really nice little place called Gato Gris in Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo. A famous square for young people to gather for having drinks and snacks in the evenings and weekends. Since it had been a long day and the guys had fairly far to travel home, we left around 22.00 to get back to the hostel and rest. Great news!!! The backpacks were waiting for us in the reception!!!! Went straight to change to comfy sleeping clothes and was hoping for a good rest. Unfortunately our room is right by the patio and going to bed early meant the fellow hostelers were chatting in the patio which made it hard to sleep. Finally they also went to bed and we got to sleep. It is fairly cold at night and even though there are plenty of blankets on the bed, I got my sleeping bag out and crawled in, then threw the blankets on top of me. Nice and cosy.
This morning we were of course awake early again, 06.45, so we got up, had a shower and a well deserved change of clothes. Wonderful!!! We went to get some money out from the cash machine and it worked perfectly fine. Then off we went to the Museo del Oro (Gold museum), the most important gold museum in the world. Very impressive. I was feeling a little dizzy, not sure if it was because or tiredness or the altitude. Bogota is located on 2600 meters. After the museum we went for a good walk along Carrera 7 which runs through a good part of Bogota and on Sundays they close it off for traffic for people to cycle, run, walk up and down the big street
. Along the way there are plenty of street vendors so we got ourselves a freshly squeezed orange juice for about 0.30eur. The walk was a great way to see a bit of how the locals chill on their day off. We just strolled along watching all the people. On the way back we stopped for lunch in a really local place and had lunch for less than 2eur each, it was a menu which consisted of a hot soup and then a plate with rice, potatoes, fried banana, your choice of meat (chicken for me) and your choice of frijoles (brown refried beans) or lentejas (lentils cooked with some vegs). And a fresh juice with your meal. It was really great value for money!! Now we are back at the hostel just chilling out, we were thinking to go to Cerro de Monserrate which is a mountain overlooking the whole city with a beautiful church at the top. However it got cloudy and started raining so I donīt think there is much point cause we wonīt be able to enjoy the views. All in all I have to say that Bogota is perfectly safe to be walking around. We havenīt had any incidents at all and the Colombians are wonderful friendly and helpful people!! For dinner we went to a place just off the main square to have some Ajiaco, which is like a soup with potatoes, chicken, corn on the cob and with rice and half an avocado on the side. It was nice but a very heavy meal.
This morning we managed to sleep a little longer, until 06:45!! We decided to have breakfast out, went to a local cafe and had fried egg and bread with a lovely coffee. After breakfast we went walking to the cable car to take us up to Cerro Montserrate, which is a mountain overlooking Bogota with a beautiful white church at the top. In the afternoon we took a long walk around all the little streets around the centre and just took in the city. We also visited the Museo Botero which was a private art collection of Seņor Botero himself, he decided to donate all his collection to the Colombian state as long as they promised to make a museum with free entry of it. The collection includes a lot of paitings by Botero himself and some pieces by Picasso, Dalí etc. Finally we have decided to continue to Salento tomorrow. Just emailed the Plantation House to book a room, from there we can make excursions to the Valle Cocora and visit some coffee plantations. Time to head off to bed because we are taking the bus at 09.30 tomorrow and it takes around 8 hours to get there. Bye for now Bogota!