Bogota, Take 2

Bogota Travel Blog

 › entry 82 of 84 › view all entries
Monserrate behind a church in the Candelaria
It was strange to be back in Bogota, for the first time in almost 8 months of traveling I was going somewhere that I had been before, somewhere at least somewhat familiar. Although by now, the beginning of my trip seems so far away but at the same time just like yesterday. I was last in Bogota right around the beginning of the new year. On my first visit I managed to hit the high points such as the gold musuem, Monserrate, and Zipaquira. For this time I wanted to hit a few things that I missed the first time as well as just hang out for the last few days of my vacation. Since I liked Bogota the first time I was here I was also interested to see how it would hold up after the hundreds of other cities that I had visited on my trip.
Looking towards north Bogota from Torre Colpatria


My first impression was that I had come to the right conclusion after my first stay here. The climate is very nice here, with warm sun during the day but cold at night due to the 8,500 foot elevation. There was some occasional rain, but nothing very heavy and never lasted very long. Compared to the other South American cities I thought that Bogota had the perfect balance between being modern enough without losing much of its traditional culture, that along with the warmth and friendliness of the people makes for a great combination. Since the gold musuem was being renovated the last time I was here I went back to see if they had finished the renovations but sadly they still hadn´t finished and the same temporary collection was on display at the Botero Musuem.
A guilded door and a stone sphere in the Museo Nacional
The old section of the Candelaria was the same as I remembered but this time I was able to visit the archealogical musuem there that I didn´t get to the first time. The musuem had an extensive collection of pottery from the various indigenous groups in Colombia but sadly they don´t allow you to take pictures. Another musuem that I visited was the Museo Nacional, a huge musuem in what used to be the main prison in Bogota, with extensive collections on the history of Colombia and the discovery of South America with the clash between the Spanish and the native people. Since I wasn´t going back up to Monserrate I decided to go up to the top of Colpatria tower, located in downtown Bogota, where there is a viewpoint on the 46th floor and excellent panoramic views of the city.
Bullfight during the Summer Festival, August 3, 2008 in Bogota, Colombia
As it was Sunday, the main street, the Septima, was closed to traffic and filled with cyclists, rollerbladers, and walkers and the sidewalks were lined with vendors and some performers, a nice and pleasant atmosphere. 

Nearby the tower is the Plaza de Toros and luckily my visit happened to coincide with the 12th annual Summer Festival and they were holding free bullfights on Saturday and Sunday. I hadn´t been able to catch a bullfight yet in South America so I was interested to see this traditional cultural event. The stadium was packed with people and the bulls were as big as 350kg and the crowd really got going when some of the matadors performed some behind the back olays and other daring maneuvers. This was especially true at the end after the alcohol that everyone was consuming had taken affect.
Face to face with the bull
Although the whole spectacle was rather gruesome and led to some families taking their crying kids away, it was definitely authentic South American.

I also made a trip to San Andresito, a big marketplace where they sell all sorts of gray and black market goods and discounted items such as sunglasses, watches, electronic stuff, perfume, and footwear. There are some stalls selling pirated movies for about $1.50 a disc and they have seriously extensive catalogs of movies with everything you could want. Some 15 blocks away is the central market in Bogota where they have all sorts of different tropical fruits and juices that are so good, something I´ll certainly miss once I get back to the United States.

Amidst the immense complex of city parks is the Botanical Garden.
The rose garden of the botanical garden
Bogota´s elevation and climate give it the versatility to support many kinds of plants and the outdoor collection of plants ranges from paramo to cloud forest to semi-arid forests. There is an indoor greenhouse that contains every warmer habitat from tropical rainforest, complete with artificial rain from the sprinklers, to total desert in the very next room.

Considering the other big South American cities I found Bogota to be my favorite. While Buenos Aires, my second favorite, was also very nice, the problem with Buenos Aires is that in many parts of the city you could look around and what you would see could literally place you anywhere in the world. It is nice enough but it doesn´t really have any charisma or anything to really draw you in, in addition to being so touristed, which also makes things less enticing. I´m glad that I was fortunate enough to spend my last few days here but now, after 8 months on the road, it is finally time to go home.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Monserrate behind a church in the …
Monserrate behind a church in the…
Looking towards north Bogota from …
Looking towards north Bogota from…
A guilded door and a stone sphere …
A guilded door and a stone sphere…
Bullfight during the Summer Festi…
Face to face with the bull
Face to face with the bull
The rose garden of the botanical g…
The rose garden of the botanical …
The Mona Lisa from the Botero Muse…
The Mona Lisa from the Botero Mus…
A close-up of a small piece from t…
A close-up of a small piece from …
Cyclists on the closed streets of …
Cyclists on the closed streets of…
The Plaza de Toros and the Planeta…
The Plaza de Toros and the Planet…
Summer Festival at the Plaze de To…
Summer Festival at the Plaze de T…
Pigeons flying through Plaza Boliv…
Pigeons flying through Plaza Boli…
Pottery piece from the Museo Nacio…
Pottery piece from the Museo Naci…
The aftermath of a bullfight
The aftermath of a bullfight
Exotic plant section of the Jardin…
Exotic plant section of the Jardi…
Colorful desert plants in the bota…
Colorful desert plants in the bot…
Bogota
photo by: caliphil007