The next big question is……is it possible to see everything we wanted to see in Bogotá in 10 hours of daylight? The answer is yes, but you have to have a plan. I knew from the beginning that a trip of this magnitude would require precision planning if we were to accomplish everything. Staying on schedule would be imperative. I had used the Lonely Planet guide to plan the days in Bogotá and Medellin. I tend to like their books the best.
That morning we were up by 6 a.m., at breakfast by 7 a.m. which included an impromptu English lesson with our waiter, packed, and ready to be on the streets at 8 a.m… A final check with the desk clerk assured me our travel plan was sound. We left our luggage at the hotel and they arranged for a car to be ready to take us to the airport at 3 p.m. when we returned in the afternoon for our 6 p.m. flight. Great service at the Hotel de la Opera!
For me, there is no greater excitement than to step into the streets in any city in Latin America and start walking! It must be a combination of the language, the colors, the street vendors, the people, and the music that makes it so exciting. It makes my heart race!! For those of you that have traveled to Latin America you will know exactly what I am saying. This is the scene as we left our hotel:
While our hotel neighborhood may have been a little spooky at night, there was plenty of activity on the streets in the a.m. Our first stop was the Plaza Bolivar which is a famous landmark in Bogotá. We hung around the Plaza taking pics, talking with street vendors, asking directions and in general just being tourists. There was not another gringo in sight!!
From there it was off to what I was anticipating to be one of the highlights of my Latin American travels…….the world famous El Museo del Oro (The museum of gold). The regular museum was closed for renovation but they had a lot of the collection on display in a temporary location. It was incredible. This photo will give you an idea:
The goal was to be out of the museum of gold by 10:45 a.m. so we could take a cable car up the 2,000 ft mountain by the name of Monserrate. The Plan was to have lunch in one of the two restaurants at the top that were supposed to offer an incredible view of Bogotá. Since it was a little rainy and cloudy that morning we wanted to make sure we made it up to the top while there was still a decent view of the city. Fortunately it just a short cab ride to the base of the mountain. We took our first stab at hailing one of the street taxis ourselves. At least it wasn’t the driver that was doing the stabbing!!
The system of taxis in Bogotá is interesting because they have a meter that counts the number of units they drive and there is a chart in the back seat that cross references the fare to the number of units. The taxis don’t expect tips in Colombia and the other Colombians don’t want you giving them tips either otherwise it spoils it for them. Marino had told me that if you give a tip in a taxi you are immediately tagged as “the gringo”. I’m gringo enough; I didn’t need to add to my reputation.
next–Bogotá-Seeing Monserrate and time is running out.