Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Calories, Calles and Carreras of Bogota

Written by Adam
One fascinating aspect of walking the streets of Bogota, Colombia is the incredible variety of snack foods and general merchandise that are easily available from earnest street vendors.  There are thousands of industrious people living in Bogota who have staked a claim to a busy street corner to park a pushcart on.  Others utilize the street-level alcoves of large buildings.  I have yet to see a single vending machine anywhere in the city.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Venturing out: Fusagasugá

Written by Karen.
We ventured out of Bogota again over the weekend, heading south this time and dropping 2,943 feet in altitude to visit the town of Fusagasugá. Since Fusagasugá or Fusa, as it is also called, is about 40 miles outside of Bogota, we figured that with an early start we should arrive by 11:30 am, at the latest.  

What's for Lunch?

Written by Karen.
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here in Bogota, and is usually served between 12:00 and 3:30 pm.  We discovered the wonderful concept of set menus early in the month and have since tried different restaurants throughout the City.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Off the Beaten Track - Villeta, Colombia

Written by Karen.
In the morning, Adam and I join up with Fernando, a local adventure trek guide, who will take us on a hike that will include walking to a series of waterfalls.  The waterfalls are called the Monkey Leaps, located in the jungle just outside of Villeta. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Off the Beaten Track - La Vega, Colombia

The Lagoon Park, La Vega
Written by Karen.
After making our way from the small town of San Francisco (Enchanted Garden) and grabbing a bit to eat on the way, we drove further south to the small town of La Vega. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Stumbling into the Twilight Zone?

A University to Educate Educators
Written by Karen.
Adam and I hit the streets of Bogota again yesterday. This time we headed back up to the northern part of Bogota, to a neighborhood called the 93 Parque. We had seen some pictures of tranquil parks and large trees in established neighborhoods, and figured that it would be a nice area to explore.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks

Written by Karen.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  It is an opportunity to take the time to simply be appreciative.  It is a holiday usually spent with friends and family - who after all - are what matter.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Off the Beaten Track - San Francisco, Colombia

Written by Karen.
Our first foray off the beaten track was visiting the small town of San Francisco, approximately 1 hour northwest of Bogota. A new friend of ours, Carolina, was taking us to where she and her husband, Ricardo, lived in Villeta for a two-day visit.  However, along the way, we planned to stop and see the Jardin Encantado, or the Enchanted Garden, located in San Francisco.  Cost: 12,000 COP ($6.67 USD) per person entrance fee.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Street Graffiti or Fine Art?

Written by Karen.
Every large city has an abundance of street graffiti, and Bogota, Colombia is certainly not an exception. As we've been walking the streets over the past several weeks, I've been taking pictures of some of the more interesting graffiti that we've come across.  Graffiti or Fine Art?  You decide.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bogota Museums - Casa Botero

Written by Karen.
I readily admit it....we like museums. And Bogota has a lot of museums. Some are better than others, but we manage to learn something from each of them.  

We haven't made a dent yet with all of the museum opportunities that are available, but we have visited quite a few so far: The National Museum; The Museum of Gold; The Police Museum; Casa Botero; The Mint House Museum; and, the Charles Darwin exhibit sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History.

Over the next few weeks, I will highlight a few of the more memorable museums that we have visited so far.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Venturing Out: Zipaquirá

Written by Karen.
We ventured out of Bogota about 17 miles to the north to visit the small colonial town of Zipaquirá.  According to Wikipedia, Zipaquirá, or Zipa as it is also called, is one of the oldest colonial towns in Colombia and is more often associated with the Salt Cathedral that was built inside the mountain on the outskirts of town.  We didn't go up to the Salt Cathedral on this day, but did explore the cobblestoned streets and enjoy the ambience of the town itself.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Forecast: 20% Chance of Rain in Bogota

I'll let this video speak for itself.  (You Tube Video: Video footage taken on the bus)  Gonna buy a boat if we hear a forecast of 50% chance of rain!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Top of the Mountain!

Mount Monserrate from Central Bogota 
Written by Karen.
We visited Mount Monserrate today, located some 10,341 feet above sea level with grand, sweeping, panoramic views of the city of Bogota below. It was about an hour walk from our apartment to where you can take the aerial cable car to the top of the mountain.  The walk there is mostly all uphill, and the last mile is probably a sustained 8% grade.  Needless to say, we were sucking air by the time we got to the ticket counter!  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Traffic in Bogota, Colombia

Written by Karen.
When someone says that traffic is heavy, or intense, or crazy, we wonder just how heavy, intense or crazy the described traffic actually is.  Is it like the 405 during rush hour in Southern California, or is it more like the pinball driving experience coming over the hill on Highway 17 into the Silicon Valley?  Or is it like nothing you have ever experienced before?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Safe and Secure

Written by Karen.

Presidential Palace
We've gotten used to the altitude and thin air/pollution and have been hitting the streets pretty hard.  We have logged quite a few miles so far - but walking (and getting lost!) -  is the best way to really get a sense of what's around you when you are in a new place. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bogota - First Impressions

Written by Karen.

Except for the dramatic - and fast moving - clouds and the altitude headache that forces you to take it slow until you acclimate to the thinner air,  it's easy to forget that you are well over 8,000 feet above sea level.  There are no dramatic mountain ranges that tower above you or surround this huge city to remind you that you are at a high elevation. But, the forces that occur at this altitude are strong and we plan to take it slow for our first couple of days.