At the Paloquemao Market
Our second day in Bogota proved to be very busy. We met Juanita, who was our guide for the day and along with Tatiana, we started off to take a look at one of the local markets, Paloquemao. Shawn and I enjoy visiting the local markets because that is where you see the working people in action. We went to see the fruit and vegetables first. We saw many unusual kinds of fruit and even got to taste a few.
After wandering around the fruit and vegetable section, we hurried outside to see the flowers before they were all sold out. I was amazed at all the dyed flowers and although not authentic, they presented a splash of color on the overcast and cloudy day.
To the Top of Monserrate
We found our driver and headed toward the Monserrate Station where we would take the funicular up El Cerro de Monserrate where panoramic views of Bogota can be seen.
The mountain of Cerro de Monserrate is 10,000 feet above sea level and rises over Bogota dominating the skyline of the capital. Monserrate has been considered an important sacred place since before the arrival of the Spanish. The sun rises directly behind the mountain during the solstice in June and is an important part of the religious traditions of the local indigenous people. Today the mountain and the church at the top have become an important destination for tourists and pilgrims.
The Gold Museum
Our time at the top was about up so we waited for the funicular train and went down the mountain. From there, the driver picked us up and we drove to the Gold Museum in the Candelaria neighborhood. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the sophistication of the Gold Museum. The Gold Museum contains more than 55,000 pieces of gold and other materials from all of Colombia’s Pre-Colombian cultures. One exhibit was very dramatic. We entered a room and all the lights were turned off and the only part lit up was a covered glass exhibit in the center that contains many pieces of gold.
After the Gold Museum, we checked out the gift shop and then meandered our way toward the popular Asian restaurant called the Wok. We had a delicious lunch and more food than we could eat at one time.
We returned to our hotel a bit early as we had to leave the hotel at 7:30 am for our flight to Medellin. A few points about our hotel, the Sofitel – our room was very small, the phone did not work ( it hadn’t been charged), water continually sat in the sink and restaurant food over-priced. We ate in the hotel restaurant on the first night. Shawn had a chicken dish and I had salmon. My salmon was raw in the middle and the vegetables unrecognizable. Our meal cost over $62.00 (more than any meal we had in Colombia).
The second night we decided to find a restaurant close by and ended up at an Italian restaurant called Di Lucca. It was a short walk from our hotel. The food was delicious. I had vegetable ravioli and Shawn had lasagna. It was a nice evening out!.
Next up – Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia.