Arriving in Bogota is pretty easy, the airport is on the small-ish side, customs and immigration are smooth, there’s a few ATMs to withdraw local money from and the taxis outside are plenty.
A yellow, official taxi is very encouraged, it will have a meter and not cost you over $10-12 for areas like La Candelaria, that’s what I did and got to my airbnb in a little over 30 minutes.
Bogotà, with a strong accent on the last ‘a’ is one of those city names I always liked to say out loud, and a place I dreamt of visiting for a long time.
The ride from the airport shows a city with lots of greenery but also lots of traffic and fog, the sky is low and grey.
Arriving in the district of La Calendelaria (where museums, old churches and other main attractions lay) is an awakening call for the eye; the houses are very colourful and pretty.
Roofs are in terracotta, streets are mainly paved with cobblestone, there’s a few blocks that remind me of the best of Quito or Cuzco.
My designated lunch spot was Quinua y Amaranto, it promised to be an healthy and veg alternative and it did not disappoint. I had lunch for 6$ and a full menu of fava soup, rice with veggies and salad and a small fruit/desert of unknown origin (but the texture of a persimmon).
I walked down to Plaza Bolivar which is pretty and has a towery yellow cathedral but the square has too many pigeons and then head to a cafe called Arte y Pasion. Coffee was ok, they had a few varieties but I was especially intrigued by ‘el campesino’ (the farmer drink) which was a mix of herbs poured into a cup via a coffee filter of some sort. Not really a coffee, no. I pointed at a small glass I saw on others people tables, it turns out it was panela, I took a huge drink of caramel, basically.
Walked more in this old neighbourhood, took pictures of colourful walls and wooden doors, of odd street vendors (ants for sexual drive?, sugar cane drinks but hot and with cinammon?) and then stopped again for an afternoon snack.
La Puerta Falsa is a place well rated on a few sites, it’s a family cafe/pastries shop that’s almost 200 years old but still tiny, with something around 20 sits, including a mezzanine above the counter. The specialties are pretty much two: tamales with chicken, that look like enormous artichokes to me (or maybe it’s just their colours), and ‘chocolate completo’.
A ‘chocolate completo’ is a Colombian breakfast favorite made of 1)cup of hot chocolate 2)an open bread roll with butter on both sides 3)a piece of very white cheese with the texture of the mozzarellas from Wisconsin (no, it’s not a compliment), 4)a small bread bun made with cheese and yucca starch (or so I’ve heard).
The way you eat it: cut the cheese in pieces and drown them in the hot chocolate until they melt and become stringy, add the bread and butter in pieces too and spoon out whatever comes at you.
I had had cheese and hot chocolate in Quito last year, but a much smaller plate! This is not for the faint of heart.
Dinner was an excuse to go to the district of La Macarena, I would have walked but it was greatly discouraged by my host, so took a yellow taxi.
Tapas Macarena is a pretty Spanish place very small and cute that has excellent food and wine from Chile. Dishes are not cheap but also not the classical tapas size.
I’ll have lunch with the leftovers, I feel so smart when I can make two meals out of one…