Arrival into Bogota
Why Colombia? Many years ago I taught school in Talara, Peru. One of my co-workers, an American from Oklahoma, had spent the last three years teaching in Bogota, Colombia. He loved the city and the vibrant culture of the Colombian people. He inspired my desire to discover the wonders of Colombia for myself!
We arrived late into Bogota after an uneventful flight from San Diego via Dallas. Our flight was an hour behind schedule and so it was 12:30 am when we met our driver and guide in the main hall. Tatiana was our guide and a company representative. We rode through the darkened streets of Bogota and soon arrived at the Sofitel Victoria Regia Hotel. We made arrangements to meet the next day at 9 am.
We learned a lot about South American “time” and realized after the first week that we needed to have patience waiting for our tours to begin and our guides to arrive. Part of the problem in Bogota is the congested city highways. According to the “Global Traffic Scorecard”, Bogota is ranked as the most traffic-congested in all of South America and 5th worldwide.
Our driver and guide arrived a bit late due to an accident which blocked the street of our hotel. We met the city guide, Nicolas, who was our main city guide and so we ended up with both Tatiana and Nicolas as our tour guides for the day. We had the whole day mapped out previously, but Nickolas got carried away showing us graffiti and we ended up doing very little that was on our original schedule. Although it was quite a distance outside the city center, Nicholas decided to take us to the industrial area of the city where more than 50 international artists have painted on brick warehouses.
Graffiti Along the Way
Bogota has always been home to graffiti and street art, but until 2011 it was considered illegal. This all changed when a young graffiti artist, Diego Felipe Becerra, was killed by police when creating his signature image of Felix the Cat. They tried to portray him as a suspected armed robber, but outcries from the people and other graffiti artists along with the condemnation from The UN sparked a wave of change for graffiti and how it was viewed. Graffiti was decriminalized and became a popular art form attracting local and international artists. Despite the still remaining uneasy peace between the artists and the authorities, Bogota has become a real hot spot for amazing street art on the cities’ walls.
The Graffiti District (Puente Aranda)
Some of my favorites! Check out the slideshow and see more graffiti art.
After a walk through several blocks of graffiti warehouse walls, we returned to the city center and saw more graffiti along the way.
The driver dropped us off in front of the city library and our guide said it was a good place for a cup of coffee and it was! There was a very nice cafe inside and I had a great coffee latte.
A walk through the Candelaria neighborhood is next.