Title: A cold short stay Location: Bogota, Colombia
I guess most of you like me haven't heard much good news from Colombia in a long time. If you ever hear anything on TV then its mostly related to Cocaine, the Medellin or Cali cartel, Colombia being the kidnapping capital of the world or the US trying to make another place better by starting a war. Well all good enough reasons to check it out (just kidding). The reason why I'm here is a friend of mine brought Colombia up when I asked him where to go in South America. He seemed to be quite taken by this country. Other people that I've met had never anything bad to say about Colombia and I hope I won't be the first one.
So after a quick flight from Rio to Santiago de Chile, a 10 hour stopover in the lovely airport there and another 5 hour flight I arrived in Bogotá. I didn't really know what to expect. The first thing I realized is that this place is freaking cold. Not really a surprise as Bogotá is 2600m above sea level and the temperature here does not touch 20 degrees too often. Due to the proximity to the equator the temperature is in fact constant all year around.
Was actually quite nice to get the pullover out and not sweat all day long. I stayed in the old part of the city and never ventured into any other part but I heard that it's the usual "big South American city" mix of high risers, slums and lots of traffic. What do you expect from a city of 7 million people? Saying that the old part is like you expect it to be cobblestone streets, old colonial houses, narrow streets, lots of churches and the lot. Not too bad for a start and definitely better than what I expected.
As I only stayed 1 1/2 days I couldn't do to much sightseeing but I managed to see the Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) which is apparently the most important Gold Museum in the world (how many are there anyway?). It displays mainly (90%) pre-colonization gold artefacts found in Colombia and some other related stuff like stone figures. It seems that the olden day Colombian liked their gold jewelry as much as modern day girls and created quite elaborate pieces of jewelry. The Museum features also a special room called "the vault" which has gold artefacts from wall to wall.
As I said I didn't stay too long in Bogotá but it had a nice feel to it and it gave me some good conversation with Spanish locals and market people - a real chance to practice my Spanish, it also felt safer than most of the big South American cities I have been to so far.