Travel Tuesday- let’s go Colombia!

Posted on June 8, 2010. Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , |

Travel story and photos by Summer Makovkin. Copyright applies. You can see more of Summer’s work here.

5:30am arrival in Bogota. City waking up. Taxi ride to hotel in Zona Rosa. Grey morning light. Tiny cars. Fast moving traffic. All weaving in and out, but still, somehow, organized. It should be terrifying, but, somehow, I’m not afraid. Maybe that’s due to my tiredness, or maybe it’s because the cars are so small I imagine it wouldn’t hurt so bad if we crashed – like bumper cars. Motorcycles drive through the traffic wherever they want, and each rider must wear a neon vest with their license emblazoned upon the back.

A simple meal with our large group of 9. Sweet rice, plantains, and fish. Justin shows me his wad of Colombian cash. $20,000 is equal to $20. It boggles the mind. Our bill comes to $190,000. We joke about what we could do with that kind of money.

After breakfast we hop in a couple of cabs and head off to the Candelaria district, Parque Simon Bolivar – or, “Pigeon Park”, as we dubbed it within seconds of being there. The street vendors sell corn kernels to people who want to feed the pigeons. Swarms of birds congregate in pools around those throwing out the kernels. The cooing and the slap of flapping pigeon wings echoes through the huge square. The equatorial sun is bright and hot.

We head for the tram that goes to the top of Monserrate. It’s slow going and the daylight hours are fading. Gabriel and I feel like making some tracks. We break off from the group. Zach, Justin, and Thomas follow. In no time we are at the gondola. Tickets are purchased. The slow ascent begins to reveal the sprawl of Bogota below. The top boasts a spectacular view of a vast city in a valley, with hazy blue-green mountains rising up on all sides.At the top is a white stone church, a cobblestone courtyard, and a gorgeous art deco solarium restaurant perched on the crest of the mountain. We meet the rest of the group there and order wine and beer and an amazing traditional Colombian meal called: Bandeja Paisa. It’s all so beautiful!!

The sun begins to set. Gold and copper, to rose and magenta. We feel the bed calling. Back on the gondola. Taxi to the hotel. My feet are hot and tired. I will sleep well tonight.

Bandeja Pais. flickr


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