Colombia travel blog by Mark Berman -
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Bogota is a huge city, the primary difference from the other places in Colombia that I have visited is that it is much colder, especially at night! It is the
most colonial of cities I have been to in Colombia. North of Bogota are some great and popular destinations, they being the colonial town of Villa de Leyva,
the salt cathedral in Zipaquira, the Spanish style town of Guatavita and Tunja - a place of interesting street food. West of Bogota if you like the jungle and
river excursions is Girardot.
1. Plaza Bolivar
Plaza Bolivar is a huge open space with many interesting buildings surrounding it including palaces, government buildings and churches. Of course there
is a monument to Simon Bolivar right in the middle. It was at the end of the day when I got caught up in a huge student protest right there, where
students climbed up on the monument and dressed Mr Bolivar up in alternative clothing while the riot squad formed barriers between them and the
government buildings. Around this amazing plaza you see domes, clock and bell towers, statues of important people including Camilo Torres (1766-1816)
a politician and Bartolome Lobo Guerrero (1546-1622) a founder. In one corner of the plaza on a tiled roof sits a sculpture of a man sitting. All
around are interesting buildings like churches, colleges and monuments.
2. La Candelaria
Up the hill are the historic cobblestone
streets and colorful houses known as La Candelaria, there is a lot to explore here. Many of the houses have sculptured bronze figures on the roofs
or balconies. It is a beautiful and colorful part of the city and has a lot of character with the hills in the background and the church on top of
Cerro (Mountain) Monserrate visible from everywhere.
3. Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo
There is a small plaza that is in the heart
of La Candelaria called Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo, a monument of an acrobat juggling 3 pins while riding a one-wheel bike stands on top of an archway.
There's colorful street art on the walls, a white church and a cafe. This area is generally not policed but there are security men around so be a
little more careful when walking around. There is an amazing narrow alleyway that leads off this plaza heading down, the walls are painted with
colorful murals of weird and wonderful things. There are art shops and hostels here too, it is a bit of a hippies area and a students hang out.
At the bottom of this alleyway there is another open area. The residential streets with their interesting colorful houses are definitely worth a look.
4. Water Park and Center
The park of water, Parque Aguas is a series of water pools that flow from one to the other. It's nothing spectacular but a nice area to have a seat
in the sunshine if there happens to be any. Nearby is a big dome stand with pillars and a statue of Simon Bolivar in the middle. A building that
looks like a palace Academia Colombiana with its grand pillars has monuments to Felix Restrepo S. J. (1887-1965) director of the school and
to Miguel Antonio Caro
(1843-1909) scholar and
poet amongst other talents. Nearby is Parque Santander with its statue, pigeons and stalls selling yummy sweet things to
eat. Around the corner is a great stone church Iglesia de San Francisco constructed in 1550 and taking 17yrs to complete. Nearby stands a
statue of Carlos Lleras Restrepo (1908-1994) the President of Colombia from (1966-1970). Bogota is full of history and historic architecture!
5. Cerro Monserrate (Hill)
By taxi is the best way to get to Cerro Monserrate
and bought a return ticket for the cable car to
ascend to the top, the ticket is around $7,000 pesos each way. Monserrate is 3152 meters above sea and is the symbol of Bogota. At the foot of the
cable car are some nice gardens and waterfalls. The cable car takes you up for fabulous views of the whole city, especially if it's a nice day.
In my case it wasn't particually. At the top is the white church Santuario del Senor de Monserrate with its archways and colored stained glass
windows. Outside are nice pathways for walking around to see the gardens, statues and monuments for which there are many. The air is very fresh up here indeed.
The Gold Museum
Museo del Oro is the famous gold museum. It has many many pieces of gold-work including jewelery, figures, faces, masks, tools
and ornaments. All kinds of things.
A short walk away is Museo Botero which features the work of Fernando Botero
and his amazing sculptures and paintings.
If you have visited Medellin
you no doubt would have visited Parque
Botero in the city. Museo Botero has many paintings by the man including Madre Superiora, La Carta, Naranjas, Pareja Bailando, El Presidente, Mona
Lisa and lots more. Some of the bronze works include Gato, Maternidad, Adam and Eve (Adan y Eva) and Venus Dormida, it's worth a look!
the military museum 1 or 2 streets away from Museo Botero. On display are canons, guns, missiles, rockets, bombs, planes, helicopters, tanks and monuments
to men such as Alexandro Ioan Cuza and other military leaders. The place is run by the military, figure.
The Independence Museum
Museo de La Independencia is a huge museum with different floors and many things to see to do with Colombia's history. I recommend it and beside is the tranquil park - Parque Independencia.