Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bogota, Colombia (Day 1 post-Cartagena)

After getting back from Cartagena, it was time to explore the capital of Colombia, Bogota.  I checked into my hotel in the early afternoon and took a great walk around La Candelaria, the historic center of the city.  Here are the photos, all taken with my lesser of two cameras (I had to check out the security situation before I braved taking out the expensive one).

My room at Hotel Casa Guadalupe was awesome.  Great value for my money.

However, it's truly hidden on this side street near one of the historic plazas.

The hotel is actually on the right, but you'd never know it.

Time to head downhill and see what there was to be seen.

The hotel was a few dozen meters from Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo, which is thought by some to be the birthplace of Bogota.

The security presence in Bogota was impressive, although the reasons for it are obviously sad.

Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo

Church at Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo

Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo


The most impressive thing about Bogota is how the mountains just descend into the city... or is it that the city ascends into the mountains?  Whatever the case, the altitude was not to be trifled with (8,612 ft. above sea level), even if Bogota is "only" the third highest capital city in South America.

The number of students in the area was a welcome sight.  

A look down to Plaza de Bolivar, the true heart of Bogota.

This colorful building is a vegetarian restaurant, although I didn't eat there.

Pack mules on the city streets weren't common, but they were still there.

Templo la Candelaria, on the right

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

Templo la Candelaria

The Primary Cathedral of Bogota, in the distance (Museo Botero on the left).

Templo la Candelaria

Museo Botero with the Primary Cathedral

Primary Cathedral

I was looking for a place called La Puerta Falsa.  I thought this might be the place.

After all, it looked so enticing.  

However, a few doors down, I found the legendary 200 year old establishment.

The exterior (and interior) was modest.

So were the prices on the menu.  That's a good thing, obviously.

Chocolate Santafereno completo, which put La Puerta Falsa on the map.  Hot chocolate with cheese - a true Bogota tradition.  The cocoa was possibly the best I've ever had.  That simple looking bread, by the way, was delicious in its own right.

Time to head into La Plaza de Bolivar itself.

Gorgeous sky (with a pigeon flying by).

Speaking of pigeons, you'd think you were in St. Mark's in Venice.

Or maybe Trafalgar Square in London (Edificio Lievano in the background, where the mayor works).

Palacio de Justicia, north end of square.

Primary Cathedral

Capitolio Nacional, at the southern end of the square

Capitolio Nacional

Palacio de Justicia

Inscription on the Palacio de Justicia

Edificio Lievano

Primary Cathedral with the attached Capilla del Sagrario

Primary Cathedral

Primary Cathedral

Capilla del Sagrario

A llama in the square (for tourists)

Primary Cathedral

Llama vendor looking for tourists

Colegio Mayor de San Bartolome, southeast corner of the square

Colegio Mayor de San Bartolome

Graffiti is everywhere in Bogota, but especially the Plaza de Bolivar.

The Primary Cathedral wasn't open that day, but I was able to briefly enter the Capilla del Sagrario.

There was a service going on.

Fortunately, the entryway was half of the charm of the place.

Palacio de Justicia

I believe this was above the Capilla del Sagrario.

Vendor and statue in front of the Capitolio Nacional

Capitolio Nacional

Looking past the statue of Simon Bolivar towards the Colegio Mayor.


Statue of Simon Bolivar

Plaza de Bolivar

The plaza is truly a magnet.

Around the city there are green statues of people placed in high places.

I'd get better photos later with my other camera, but here's a grainy closeup.

Time to take leave of the plaza and walk around some more.

I went down the southwest corner, towards Casa de Narino, where the president lives.

Iglesia Museo de Santa Clara

Looking across to the Colegio Mayor (I wasn't supposed to take this picture, but I didn't know that the soldiers minded, since they didn't tell me on the first day).

Looking down Calle de Santa Clara

Street signs in Bogota have a lovely font.

Casa de Narino

One of several checkpoints in the area.

Casa de Narino

Casa de Narino

Casa de Narino

Casa de Narino

Not sure who these two were...


At least they added some color.

I think in retrospect that I should have been shot for this photo.

I mean, look at those guns.




No harm, no foul, however.

Casa de Narino

Many Colombians wanted their photo taken in front of Casa de Narino, which is equivalent to the U.S.'s White House.

The building in the background is the Templo de San Agustin, across the street from Casa de Narino.

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Templo de San Agustin

Colorful buildings near Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen, a national monument of Colombia.

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen


Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

Sanctuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen

It was finally evening, which is a great time to explore Bogota (if you take precautions).

Templo La Candelaria

Walking back towards my hotel near Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo

Church at Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo

Church at Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo

Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo

One thing I had to try in Bogota was canelazo, a hot drink made with aguardiente.  The recommended place was Pequena Santa Fe, right on Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo.

My drink was made efficiently and rapidly.

In a chilly city like Bogota, a nice canelazo works wonders (and the fire didn't hurt, either).

After resting at my hotel for a bit, Chang finally met me for dinner.  We walked down to Plaza de Bolivar, since Chang actually hadn't been there in a long time (he's a native, so he takes it for granted).

I thought this was kinda funny.  "Hey Chang, they misspelled your name!"

Some of the graffiti in Bogota was actually impressive, artistically.  


We finally found food back at Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo, at El Gato Gris.  I like how the lighting on Chang's face makes him look like Mike Tyson.

Chang's friend Rodrigo met us there as well.

Chang loves his food (and his goofy facial expressions).

"We are the three... amigos!"

Coming up = Day 2.  Stay tuned.

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