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.

This huge fruit is called guanabana. The inside is white with black seeds. We had guanabana juice at every hotel breakfast. It was Shawn’s favorite.
Colorful picture of a variety of fruit.
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This fruit, although it looks like a tomato and is called a tree tomato, is actually a tamarillo. It grows on a small shrub. It is used mostly for juice.
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Our guides, Tatiana and Juanita
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Dragon fruit or pitaya is native to Colombia.  We had a taste and it was sweet and refreshing.
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I loved the way they hung up the garlic.
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Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes – Colombia grows 43 kinds of common potatoes and 5 types of yellow flesh potatoes. Many traditional foods include potatoes.

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.

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Purple spidery looking flower. If you know the name, please let me know.
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Beautiful yellow calla lilies
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Hybrid Calla Lilies Red Alert

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.

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Monserrate Station.  I guess we were lucky because the line was short and it didn’t take very long to get on and begin our ride up to the top.

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.

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The Sanctuary of Monserrate 
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Inside the sanctuary
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Our Lady of Monserrate 
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View of Bogota from the top
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You can see how far the city extends.  
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Shawn under the arch at the top
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Enjoying the view!
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Souvenir Market
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Friendly onlooker!

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.  

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Everyone stood around this lit up exhibit while music played and then the lights expanded to include all the walls around that also lit up and showed hundreds of pieces of gold.  It was very well done.
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The gold piece seen here is very important because the museum started with this one piece.
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One of the main pieces called, “Muisca Raft”.
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Emerald Rocks

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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