ColombiaSightseeingSouth America

11/19: Soggy Day in Bogota

Ji and I arrived in Bogota late the night before (after being upgraded to First Class – woot woot!), and went straight to our hotel and to sleep. But today was going to be an exciting day – a Bogota Bike Tour.

We started our day in the charming outdoor breakfast space in the hotel, and though the eggs were a little questionable the rest of the food was delicious.

Breakfast Table
Bike Tour
We headed into the city for a tour we had organized with Mike’s Bogota Bike Tours, which we found on Trip Advisor and was so great. There were about 15 people, with Mike being the leader and Christian and Blanca our extended guides. We met a fun American named Ana and we had some good laughs while Ji tried to remember how to shift gears. A bevvy of pictures to follow:

Getting ready to bike Bogota

Note the statue on the little orange building.  This is actually a rendering of the owner of the shop, and these artworks can be found all over Bogota

They love their graffiti here; it’s a work of art rather than delinquent messiness.  So beautiful!  (and much more to come)


These folks fed the pigeons in order to get pictures of themselves covered with birds

Many buildings in the business district were covered in paintball markings; a sign of a recent student protest on the state of the economy

Emerald street dealers, trying to cut a deal

Emeralds.  $300 for this jewel-filled paper

Lama love

Lorenzo the Lama

Feeding Lorenzo

Ji, watching Lorenzo

Mike took us to a place that sells “Viagra Natural”

It’s really a bunch of crabs in some sort of water

Graffiti Alley

The bike crowd in Graffiti Alley

Bogota Market
Mike took us to a fruit market where we indulged in all sorts of wonderful food and tastes and took a tour of the market as a whole. There were a lot of fruits we’d never tried before – some of them good and some of them not so good. But always worth the try; of course.

Fruit Market

Tomato-like fruit – very sour

Ji’s expression after she ate the above fruit.  Not a fan.

Mike explains each piece of fruit before cutting it up for us

Fruit Fun and Silliness

My favorite piece of fruit

During a tour of the market, this guy got very excited we were there and wanted us to take photos

Pretty eggs

Ji and her root

Oatmeal raison cookies

Our cookie man

Red Light District; defecating is prohibido

Blanca interacts with the art

Gorgeous graffiti

Central Cemetery of Bogotá
Mike took us to the Central Cemetery of Bogotá, which is a lovely spot in the center of the city and has all sorts of interesting things to see.



Touring the cemetery

This is the grave marker for one of Colombia’s presidents…

While this is a grave marker for a rich kid.


Whispering wishes (on behalf of Ji’s Mom) into Leo Siegfried Kopp’s statue


Patron grave of prostitutes


The markings of unused graves.  PP = Personal Property (privately owned)

L = For lease

Recession-friendly tombstone marker

Statues in a local park; part of a competition to replicate indigenous art

Coffee Shop
Next stop was a coffee factory with cocoa and a coffee shop. They gave us some cocoa but it was so full of sugar that it was nearly impossible to eat. The coffee, however, was delicious.  Ji and I shared a table with a guy from Finland named Aigars (Eye-garz) who was eating some of the yuca bread.  We didn’t love that.  Sort of smelled like sweat socks.

Coffee and Cocoa


Coffee making


In the coffee shop

Ji’s esspresso

The art of making a cappuccino

My teddy bear cappuccino

Happy, caffeine-filled Ji

Rain Tour
After the coffee shop, the clouds got very grey and it began to sprinkle. Then it began to pour. And pour. And POUR. It wasn’t overly warm in Bogota that day, so we were wet and cold very quickly. Mike ushered his soaking bike tour into a covered area where we waited for the worst part of the downpour to pass over, and he handed out ponchos to each of us. After 10 minutes of waiting we powered on through the rain and into a bullfighting ring.

Bullfighting Ring

Bullfighting galleys

The group at the bullfighting ring

Bullfighting art

This statue is where Mike told us this joke:

A tourist has been visiting Bogota for a week. He is leaving the next day and he still hasn’t tried the food.

He goes to a restaurant and sits down to order and then sees what the man next to him has. It looks very tasty. The waiter comes to take his order and the tourist tells him he wants what the other man beside him is having. The waiter says there is no more left. The tourist then asks him what the meal is and the waiter replies that it is the testicles from the bull that lost the bullfight earlier that morning. He tells the tourist that if he comes back tomorrow he’ll save this meal for him.

The tourist thinks, “What the heck, it’ll be my last day here,” so he comes back the next day and the waiter has his food prepared for him when he comes. The man eats the meal and thinks it is delicious. But he is confused about one thing. He calls the waiter over and asks him why his meal looked smaller than the meal the other man had the day before.

The waiter replies, “Oh, sorry sir, sometimes the bull wins.”

Taking cover from another downpour

Empanadas and The Gold Museum
After the bike tour was over, we said goodbye to our soggy friends and walked to the Museo del Oro to see their collection. But first we found a number of stands selling food. Ji was craving empanadas, and we were both starving, so we took cover in a lady’s delicious cabana. She let us try the drinks too; both were odd tasting but we were happy to have food and drink.

Ji, looking at the art

Teeny tiny alligator

Really incredible artwork

Wacky “shaman” room; all sorts of chanting and singing and darkened lights
We learned some really interesting things; like the lost-wax casting method of gold making.   We also learned of some of the very advanced channel architecture of the indigenous Colombians (whose name completely escapes me as I write this up); very interesting stuff.  Ji’s favorite thing, though?  The gold groin covers.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of those.  And there were a few timelines that showed the various milestones in the history of gold making.  We were slightly confused, though, why the times were referred to as “AC” and “DC”.  Why not BC and AD?  And what does gold have to do with the band?  And how long does it take for two highly-educated women to figure out that AC/DC is the spanish equivalent of BC/AD?  Apparently it takes a day or two.

It was cold in the Gold Museum, and combined with being soaking wet we were absolutely chilled to the bone.  So we caught a taxi to the hotel and spent time in very hot, hot showers until we felt warm again.

Our first dinner in Colombia was at Astrid y Gatson, a convenient 10 minute walk from our hotel and absolutely delicious.  We took each of the waiter’s recommendations and loved every bite.  We had reservations at 7:00 or 7:30, and we were only two of a few people there.  But when we left the place was packed.  Clearly the Colombian cool people culture is to go out much later than we do.  Didn’t matter to us, though.  We were ready for bed.