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Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2008

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Flag of Colombia  , Bogota,
Thursday, May 8, 2008

We left San gil on the 8.30am bus to Bogota (25,000p with Copetran). Caroline spent her time gazing out of the window the whole way, it was  beautiful landscape, as all of Colombia seems to be. Caroline has the ability to gaze and do nothing for a substantial period of time, unlike me who needs a few distractions, my MP4 player and a good book. The bus took 7 hours to get to the bus terminal but we would have been a lot cleverer to have got off at Portal de Norte which has a direct link into the city and would have saved us 7,000 pesos. One arrived at the terminal we were looked after by a very well meaning younger Colombian couple, as with every Colombian we have met they were very friendly and wanted to help us, I think the Colombians people have definitely been the nicest South Americans yet. The Taxi to the old town cost us 10,000p though took a very long time due to our taxi man not have a scooby where we were going!!! When we finally arrived at the Platypus hostel we found out there were no rooms available in the main hostel  and likewise at Hostel Sue next door. We finally settled for a dorm in Hostel Sue 2 which turned out to be a mixture of Home Improvements and Blue Peter as workers spent all day drilling the bathrooms and staff we making lampshades everywhere. Despite the commotion the actual hostel was quite nice and had a kitchen. Billard table, laundry service and cable TV all for the sum of 17,000p each!
Immediately upon arrival we bumped into Matt, Richard and Sarah from Playa Blanca and arranged to meet up for dinner as it was Sarahīs last night in South America. The restaurant we went to was just round the corner and had a good food and a great fireplace, something that is always welcomed in cold damp Bogota. Although Caroline and I we budgeting and only stuck to starters while watching everyone else eating Fillet Mignon the meal was great fun. We were also joined by Irish John from Taganga and an English chap called Dominic. After dinner we settled for a few home made brews at a local bar.
Up early the next morning we were determined to fit as much as possible into our 1 day in Bogota. On recommendation we headed straight for the old town to the National Police Museum (Calle 9, 9-47 free). Straight away we were greeted by a very nice young police man who showed us round the museum, explaining the whole Pablo Estobar shabam, how members of his drug cartel and him were taken down in the 1990s. Lots of other interesting things to look at like fanny pistols that were hidden by women trying to conceal weapons. We even met the Major, the director of the museum, a very friendly happy old man who told us he respected our grandfathers for fighting in WW2.
All around the old town are lots of colonial buildings, one of the most impressive was the Presidents house, Casa de Nerino, no wonder he doesn't want to give up presidency, it is as huge and bling as Buckingham Palace! Straight onto the Botero Art Gallery, again free and interesting. He is pretty much the only famous Colombiam artist, still designing today, his trademark is fat satirical characters, both us didn't yawn once going round the museum so that says something about his art! It is also home to many painting by the likes of Dali, Renoir and Picasso to name but a few.
Back at the hostel we picked a very hungover Matt and Rich, jumped on the metro and headed our of town for Catedral de Sal, taking us a lot longer than what we thought - 1.5hrs. We arrived to find the cathedral was only open another 30mins and the tour takes an hour not including the museum. But the nice people kept it open for us and down we went. The area is a network of mines that 10yrs ago they made into an underground salt cathedral. It was not quite what I was expecting, but cleverly done and impressive. Used every Sunday and for all the normal services, and is still mined today.
After all that tourist stuff we decided I was time to check out the capitals nightlife. A cheap dinner with Matt and Rich set us up nicely for our very late night out. We were told to go to Escobarīs club which was a funky little club, where we bumped into Sean who owned the Macondo hostel in San Gill. A closing club in Colombia by no means the end of the night, so sharing a taxi with 3 other Colombians we went onto another club.
The next morning was a nightmare. We woke at 10.30am to discover we had overslept and our flight to Leticia was at 12.15pm (bear in mind the airport is 40mins away and we hadn't sorted our hostel bill or packed). We made it to the airport in time, only for dumbo Jamie to loose his boarding card within 5 mins of the lady issuing it. Following more palaver we eventually boarded the flight safely
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