I consider myself amazingly blessed to work in a school district in which we get a week off for a Winter Break. I decided back in July of this year that I had to go to Colombia, due to hearing about it on various travel blogs and groups that it was the place to be.
I flew Avianca Airlines to Cartagena with a long layover in the capital city of Colombia: Bogotà. Upon arrival to Bogotà, I placed my luggage in the storage the airport provided and was on my way to maximize the 8 hours I had before having to come back for my last flight.
A man, by the name of Nelson, found me in the airport and asked if I wanted to go on a tour of the city. Now, generally I book things like these way in advance of arriving to a place, but when researching layover tours and things of the like, the prices were way to high for my cheap tastes. So my plan was to either:
find someone to be my taxi for the said number of hours
take a cab into the city and walk around to various hot spots
Luckily, Nelson found me before I had to make any of these decisions. We settled on 60,000 pesos ($21 USD) for him to take me around for 6 hours, which compared to the $200 plus I was seeing online, was a hell of a steal.
The first order of business was to fill my famished belly up nourishment. Nelson took me to a place that was a hybrid of a seafood market and restaurant, each on it’s own separate floor.
I was more than ready to dive in after browsing the menu with my money conversion app in hand. I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap it was for even the most lavish of dishes.
Pataconcitos Criollos con Camarones (Fried Plantains with Shrimp & Cheese)
All of this, for the equivalent of $11USD!!
After lunch, Nelson took me for a scenic tour through the streets and dropped me off to and area of Bogotà called La Candelaria. He said I could roam for as long as I wanted and to just meet him back at the car.
Driving through the streets of Bogotá
Through my walking, I ended up Museo Botero. This museum houses the worked of famed Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
In 2000, he donated 208 pieces of art to the Bank of the Republic, that included 123 works of his own. Botero has his own unique style of art known as Boterismo. He typically depicts people in extra large and exaggerated form. Check out some of his work below.
The museum also features works of art from other well known artists, including Pablo Picasso.
Work from Picasso, 1960
After exploring the museum, I took the time to do the same in the surrounding area.
I met back up with Nelson and asked to be taken Mount Monserrate. I remember reading about this prior to coming as a must-go-to if you are the type of person that appreciates a good view.
My ticket to ride the funicular to reach the top of Mount Monserrate
Standing at 10,341 feet above sea level, Monserrate houses a church (built in the 17th century) at its peak. The cool thing about going up this high is that you can see the entire downtown and southern Bogotá (and some areas of the north). I was super blessed to reach the top, by funicular, during the time the sun was setting, which made for the perfect ending to my layover.
The church at the top
Wonderful sunset as I was coming back down
After experiencing the breathtaking views, I decided it was time to meet back up with Nelson to head to the airport. Albeit I had about 4 more hours until my flight was scheduled to leave, a sister was exhausted after the long day of flying. I decided that I experienced enough and really just wanted to relax.
Tio Nelson & I saying our last farewells at the airport.
And relax is exactly what I did until it was time to board my late (11:30PM) flight to Cartagena..