We spent 8 hours on an over night bus and arrived in Bogota at 6 in the morning. Breakfast was waiting for us at the hotel when we arrived-cereal, eggs, toast, and a fruit that looked like an orange from the outside, but on the inside was gooey and full of edible seeds (see right). I really enjoyed it, but Scott was not a fan.
After breakfast we went on a breif introductory tour of La Candelaria, the downtown area of Bogota with Carmen our tour guide, who actually grew up in Bogota. The colonial influence in the archeitecture was apparent we headed to Plaza Berrio, a cobble stone piazza surrounded by huge stone builidings. While headed to the Plaza, we took a short cut through the oldest church in Bogota; Iglesia San Fransisco, while Sunday mass was in progression.
We joined several members of our tour group for a four hour bike tour of the city. The tour covered the majority of the city and our guide Mateo was quite knowledge. We stopped throughout the tour to admire street art, all of which express powerful messages about politics, violence, drugs, and displacement of minority groups in Colombia. One mural showcased a well-liked Colombian comedian who was killed after talking about policians during one of his comedic performances. From what Mateo said, it seems that there is a movement among the youth of Colombia to leave the violence in the past and express frustrations through more creative mediums. It is shocking how widespread violence is here here. Mateo's own father was 1 of only 100 members of a political party that survived after Pablo Escabors called a hit out on every person in that party.
The bike tour made a stop at a coffee shop where we were able to try freshly dried coffee beans and a stop at a farmers market where we tried 3 different kinds of fruit native to Colombia. Our tour was detoured due to a large parade that was taking place on the main street- they are trying to promote the downtown by frequently hosting events like parades and carnivals. The detour allowed us to see an even larger portion of the city-quiet neighborhoods, parks, the "wealthy" pary of town, and Colombian's very own red light district- who knew?
After the bike tour, Scott and I set out to explore the city, and most importantly sample the local street food. Bogota has a much different feel and demographic than the prevoius cities we have been too. It is by far the most metropoltain and the most sophisticated. And everyone is bundled up in warm weather clothing-it feel like we've entered into the season of Autumn.
The main street, Ciclovia is closed on Sundays and people were walking, running, biking, and spending time with their families. We wondered down Ciclovia, and had a lot of fun watching street performers, people watching and marvling at how cheap the food was. We had a couple ice cream cones, a grilled ear of corn, and a slice of pizza, all for less than $4.50 USD.
Our second day in Bogota started with a rainy morning. We had wanted to see the view of Bogota from the top of Monserrate, but were advised that ther hour hike to get theree is very anticlimactic when the sky is cloudy and overcast, so we opted to go to Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao instead-a huge farmers market. We hopped in a cab and headed to the market.
We tasted a buch of fruits. It was very hard to order them and ask the vendors to cut it for us since we spoke more Spanish than they did English.
Soursop - was very gooey inside, tasted like a sour pineapple..maybe a hot of berry?
Plum - tasted like the ones we have at home, but are much much smaller
Dragon fruit - tasted like a firmer kiwi, not at tart. Must be rare since it was pricer than the other fruits.
Gooseberry - It was funny to see these here since I first tried these several month back with Sylvie at her parent's house. The container read, "Produced in Bogota, Colombia"
We enjoyed a nice dinner as it was our last night in Colombia.