Two days after we arrived in Bogota, we watched an amazing video and live performance extravaganza in Plaza de Bolivar. A newspaper called it a visual journey through the history of Bogota. It was repeated every evening the week before Christmas in a jam packed plaza. The entrances were controlled and bags searched. The atmosphere was much like Time Square on New Year’s Eve but very much a family event. Though it was a holiday season event, Christmas was not a part of the presentation. Some photos please!
I couldn’t get a decent photo but in the middle of the show an acrobatic “Angel” entered, flying overhead from the back of the plaza to just short of the screens, flipping and dancing along the way.
The white church at the top of this peak (east of the city) is and has been a Mecca for pilgrims but everyone takes part in this challenging 1500 step hike. I read that the typical time to walk up is 60 – 90 minutes. We did it in the 90. We started too late in the day (11:00) to have the entire trail in the shade, so sun and altitude slowed us. That’s my story. There are three options for the hike up and down: walk, take the funicular, which operates till noon, or the cable car, which runs after noon. We walked up and took the cable car down.
Dave at the beginning of the trail. Pleasantly surprised to find the entire length was stone steps – no scrambling.
We saw this sign repeated along the trail. Each time a successive altitude was highlighted, indicating in meters (2350 in total) how far we’ve progressed laterally, not vertically. Helped gauge your progress, or lack thereof.
Thankfully, there were half a dozen snack vendors strategically placed along the trail. The watermelon hit the spot, and was another excuse to rest.
Lots of groups of kids bouncing up and down the trail – Christmas break. If an adult was descending in a crisp shirt, likely he or she rode up.
More than 34,000 pieces of gold in the Museum of Gold (Museo del Oro) from all of the major pre-Hispanic cultures of Colombia. The guide books note if you only see one thing in Bogota, make it this museum. After visiting it, I would have to agree. If you take the guided tour in English (we should have!), you could get more of the history surrounding the pieces. The pieces were beautifully displayed and the building well guarded.
Some of my photos are below but it’s hard to do the collection justice.
The next set of photos are from the last exhibit. You enter a black room and haunting Colombian music begins. Lights begin to dance on the wraparound glass panels in this circular room, revealing thousands of gold pieces suspended in the “waters of Lake Guatavita”, again referring to the legend of El Dorado. It was a very moving exhibit. As we were going in, I asked the attendant if it was also in English and he said yes, English. And every other language, I found out. Only music, lights and gold – no words.
One of our guide books advertised a twice-a-week changing of the guard on the grounds near the presidents residence. Two hundred formally outfitted soldiers. Well something got lost in translation or the parade is no more. We did, however, catch a mini guard change our first day there.
If you don’t recognize the name of Colombian born painter and sculptor Fernando Botero ( b 1932), you might recognize his style – massive curvaceousness (a word, Irene?), or just plain chubby. The large Banco de la Republic museum complex dedicated two floors to these chubby-image paintings and sculptures, all donated by Mr. Botero. A sampling is below.
When we get to Medellin, we will visit Botero Plaza, where 23 of his chubby bronzes reside.
This is a borrowed photo and it looks like the only clothed piece in the Medellin plaza.
In addition to the large collection of Botero art, this museum also had a wonderful sampling of other very famous artists, such as Picasso, Chagall, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Miro, Dali, and Max Ernst. Below is a sample of the sample.
Another feature of the hostel is a lovely large court yard garden, complete with hammocks, benches, fountain and friendly resident cat. To get to our upstairs apartment, we had to exit the lower floor and walk through the garden to get to the outside staircase to the second floor.
Colombians appear to be a very social group, many walking arm in arm, always chatting away. The streets in the La Candelaria neighborhood seemed like one big rolling social hour. These images are from early Friday evening, so maybe everyone was just getting in the weekend and holiday spirit.