Yesterday, after a very long flight (London to Madrid, Madrid to Bogota) I finally arrived in Colombia. Well… mostly arrived.
Today I take my last leg of the journey as I fly from Bogota to Manizales, where I’ll be living for the next month. It was nice to have yesterday evening in Bogota to see a little bit of the city (and get a good night’s sleep). Once I showered and felt like a human being again I took a taxi to La Candelaria, the old city of Bogota. After wandering down cobbled streets and past colourful historic buildings I went for dinner at ‘Capital Cocina y Cafe’. I had found the restaurant on TripAdvisor before I left my hotel (the best restaurant in La Candelaria it said) and I have to say it more than lived up to the hype. I had pataconas (double fried plantain chips with guacamole), Colombian style filet steak and, of course, red wine. I was famished but I forced myself to slow down and really appreciate the meal as I listened to the bustle of the kitchen and the crackle of “Here Comes the Sun” on the radio as I watched the drizzle of rain outside.
It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, at what’s considered a very nice restaurant and yet the whole meal only cost £17. It will take me a little while to get used to converting pesos to pounds but no time to appreciate how affordable everything is here, and such good quality. While driving to La Candelaria I got to see the beauty of the city at night. Downtown Bogota was scattered with towering skyscrapers that glittered in the evening light, which were dwarfed by the mountains that rise dramatically along the city. The wild face to face with the cosmopolitan. To get to La Candelaria we took a winding road that curved along the mountain, providing panoramic views looking out over the whole city as the sun set. I wasn’t able to get a clear picture in the bumpy ride, but a photo wouldn’t do it justice anyway.
On the way back from La Candelaria I watched the bustling nightlife of Bogota in action. I loved was how much beautiful street art I saw all around Bogota, especially lining the highway. Some of it was evidently commissioned, some not, but it really captured the culture and vivacity of the city.
I wish I’d had more time in Bogota but I will hopefully try to visit again during the month I am here, and I am so excited to get to Manizales and start my work at Cafexport (it’s a fair trade coffee company). I’m looking forward to improving my Spanish as well. Speaking has been a little rocky since I arrived in Colombia, but overall better than expected (luckily I have my translator app when I’m in a pinch). Plus, from experience, half of learning a language is immersing yourself in the environment. Maybe I’ll be fluent at the end of the month…though that might be too optimistic.
What I love most about travelling and living in new countries is that you arrive a stranger and, at the end, you leave with another home. I already love Columbia and have a feeling one month won’t be long enough!
Fun fact: Columbia is my 40th country and the first South American country I’ve been too. I’ve now been to every continent except Antarctica!