Taking the Long Way travel blog

Heading to Plaza de Boliviar

Plaza de Boliviar in La Candelaria

Catedral Primada


The entrance to the cable car up to Cerro do Monserrate


The cable car

Heading up the cable car

The city of Bogota

Church of the Fallen Christ on top of the summit

Looking across to Cerro de Guadalupe

On the summit there are a myriad of walkways, resturants and stalls

A spot of souvenier shopping?



Heading back down

Public transport options..

The taxis and buses all have their rego written on the sides...

Llamas are here and there around Bogota

Local bus

For some reason that I can’t remember now I booked myself on a flight from NYC that left at 6am from Newark Airport, an hour outside the city so that meant getting up at 2.15am to head to the airport on Sunday. A 3hr flight to Miami, a quick change over and another 3hr flight to Bogota and I arrived in Colombia! The time here is 15hrs behind Sydney time for anyone texting/calling.

I’m really excited about being in South America but at the same time feeling a little disappointed that this is my last continent before I head home and its making the reality of going back to Sydney and real life that little bit closer…Ah still a few months left yet though according to my bank balance, especially as the little Aussie dollar is heading forward in leaps and bounds and is doing the best it has since I left home!

So Colombia….the cocaine capital of the world, producing and exporting over 80% of the world’s cocaine market. That really isn’t of any particular significance to me personally but seeing as it is the basis of the country’s economy its pretty important. The internationally the headlines generally speak unfavourable about Colombia, its ongoing civil war and the high level of crime but its certainly no reflection of its people who I’ve found so far to be gregarious, social and courteous (even when I don’t speak Spanish!).

Bogota is not a perfectly safe place but parts of the city centre, and in particular La Candelaria (the colonial quarter) have increased their policing over recent years and are considered to be the safest areas for tourists. I'm staying in La Candelaria in a great little hostel called Musicology for the grand price of $8 each a night. I’m so happy to be back in a cheap country where my dollar goes much further! Security wise its not safe to carry any valuables around with you and it’s a definite no-no to be out after dark but as long as you stick to that things should be fine and I certainly haven’t had any problems at all. In fact I feel safer walking around here than I did in the ghetto I stayed in in NYC!

Bogota lies at an altitude of 2600m so its pretty cold here, about 14C year round with very chilly nights. The city is bordered on the east by a mountain range, topped by the two peaks of Cerro de Monserrate (which we went up by cable car) and Cerro de Guadalupe. In the city itself the Plaza de Boliviar is the heart of the historic town where we are staying with a mishmash of other architectural styles around. There is the classic Greek style Capitolio Nacional, the seat of the Congress, opposite the equally monumental Palacio de Justicia. The eastern side of the Plaza is taken up with the French-style Alcaldia, Mayor’s Office, adjacent to the neoclassical Catedral Primada.

I’m really really wishing that I had taken the time to learn some Spanish before I arrived in South America, my ‘20 key words and phrases’ really aren’t getting me too far here but I am learning quickly. First phrase I have learned and used regularly is ‘I don’t speak Spanish’!

Unfortunately I’ve had a cold since I arrived and spent the first 24 hours in bed so that put a limit to how much I could see here but I’ve made the most of today and wandered around despite the sniffles. I'm heading south to Cali tonight on an overnight bus that the hostel owners have assured us is perfectly safe, despite the Lonely Planet saying otherwise. Fingers crossed…

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