We decided to take a rest from the jet lag we had and stay for a few nights in Bogotá before we start the real thing in North Colombia. We found David and his family on couchsurfing and stayed with them.
Panela and Coffee
I have to admit that our days in the city were quite overwhelming for Luis and me. Bogotá has so many things to offer that our brain couldn’t hold it. But one thing I will remember David’s family’s welcoming. They treat us with warm “agua-panela”, which literally means “panela water”. It’s made of unrefined cane sugar, and it’s a solid form of sucrose derived from the boiling and evaporation of sugar cane juice. How does it taste? …well, since it is a naturally sweet, it’s a good sweet.
Another way to drink panela is mixing it with coffee and Colombia has the perfect climate and elevation for it. The Arabica coffee, also known as mountain coffee, it’s the most cultivated spice grown in the world. Known for its rich, mild flavour and considered high quality, Colombia started their plantation in 1790 and today is the third biggest exporter of coffee in the world, after Brazil and Vietnam, producing 11.5 million bags per year. As you can imagine Colombian coffee combined with a natural sweetener of panela, it’s simply ‘muy rico!’. For me, this was a good start and represents how warm, sweet, and polite Colombian’s are.
This is how panela looks like
Weather in Bogotá
On the next morning, Myriam (David’s mother) cooked “Changua” for all of us. “Changua” is a typical soup for the breakfast in Bogotá. It’s made of boiled milk, mixed with eggs, onions, and cilantro. It was an absolutely good way to start the day in this unpredictable weather of Bogotá. Trust me!
I said unpredictable weather because the climate here is always changing. Most of the time is gloomy with a fresh air, but in the next second, it might start to drizzle and the sun is out at the same time, and then can become windy in the next minute. If Bogotá was a human, I think it’s a woman with PMS, difficult to understand!! The best way to go around in Bogotá is to bring a light jacket, windproof or a water repellant one. It’s perfect for these dry and rainy days changes throughout the year. Thank’s to Berg Outdoor we had a good one.
This was our Changua
Luis and I went to downtown where the cultural core of Bogotá is. From museums to churches, restaurants to bars, everything is centered in this area. The city is quite busy and packed even on weekdays. We saw groups of tourists with their tour guides explaining the history of the streets and shops of Bogotá.
Apart from tourists, something that called our attention was the amount of police in every corner of the streets, with big shotguns ready to act. With a conscious mind that Bogotá doesn’t look that safe, Luis saw the police could work to his benefit. At least near a police officer things should be safe and so he did a sketch of the La Candelaria junction as you can see in the picture below.
Read the sketch story of this drawing
Surroundings of Bogotá
Luis Hector & Myriam (David’s parents) invited us to go to Monserrate Hill on the weekend, to see the most beautiful view of the whole city of Bogotá. I refused to go! I read a myth of Monserrate in a blog (which I forgot where) saying that if one goes to Monserrate with the partner, the couple won’t last long. I know, I sound a silly superstitious, but we never know, and at least we can continue this life together!
Gladly Hector had another offer and coop with my superstitious mind. We went to Guadalupe Hill instead, which is a landmark of Bogotá as well as Monserrate Hill. When we reach the top of the hill we were delighted with the city sight of the Colombian Capital and the mountains surrounding it. It was so beautiful!! For Luis and I, coming here was a relief after the chaos and insecure feeling the city gave us.
For us, Bogotá became special because of the warm hospitality of David’s family.