Holiday in Colombia (3): Bogotá (part 1)

Our one full day in Bogotá started at 9 am when we were collected from our hotel in the north of the city and driven into the city centre for a museum visit, a walking tour, and another museum visit. There was so much traffic that the journey took three-quarters of an hour.

First call was the Gold Museum. Now I have been before to a Latin American gold museum – the one in Lima, Peru – but this one in Bogotá is way, way better. The exhibits – there are some 32,000 – are stupendous, grouped by region and then chronologically, and the displays are extremely well- organised in a large modern museum. Outside the building were various street vendors and one that caught my eye was selling something called “big ass ants” which were advertised as an aphrodisiac.

The walked tour was of the district known as La Candelaria which is the oldest part of the city with many colonial buildings. At the centre of the district is Bolivar Square which has the Congress Building, the City Hall, and the Cathedral on different sides while, behind the Congress is the Presidential Palace. It was impossible not to notice the ubiquitous presence of armed police and soldiers in this sensitive area.

Our second call was the Botero Museum. This is actually an art gallery housed in a beautiful, restored colonial mansion. The name refers to the Colombian Fernando Botero and most of the exhibits are his paintings and sculptures which are something of an acquired taste with figures portrayed with bulging bodies and extra large heads. However, the museum also houses works by the likes of Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Picasso, and Dali.

Later most of the group chose to go on an optional cable ride to Montserrat Hill, while Silvia and I decided to remain downtown and soak up the multifarious sights and sounds of this bustling metropolis.

The evening should have been a quiet affair, yet for Silvia and I it proved to be a time of adventure followed by challenge – but details will have to await my next blog posting.


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