Colombia – Bogota

What better reason to spend some time getting to know the beautiful city of Bogota than a Colombian Wedding? Our friends Mafe and Craig had invited us to their wedding in August, and we immediately said yes. Visiting Colombia has eluded us for years (a day trip to Cartagena doesn’t really count), so we were looking forward to our 5 day getaway to Bogota.

Getting to Colombia was quite an adventure, as we started our journey in Saigon with a flight to Istanbul (and a 21 hour layover), before hopping on the next leg of our journey which was a 14 hour flight from Istanbul to Bogota. Thankfully the flight was with Turkish Airlines, who put us up in a hotel for the long layover and had plenty of entertainment onboard to keep us occupied. Once we arrived to Bogota, we chucked our luggage into storage at our hotel and immediately hopped in a taxi to catch a 10 am free city walking tour. What a way to kick start our stay in Bogota, as we got the layout of downtown in a few hours. By the time the tour ended, we were able to check into our hotel by 3 pm and managed to snooze for a few hours before linking up with Lars, who was also in town for Craig & Mafe’s wedding. Good times as we drank a few beers in the room before hitting the streets, stumbling into a circus restaurant, and ending up at a bikers’ bar.

Day 2 of our Bogota adventure saw us catching a morning cable car ride up to Monserrate, a mountain that dominates the skyline of Bogota and offers fine vistas of the city. We opted to hike down and felt bad for the hikers who were huffing and puffing their way up the hill. The 10,000 Peso ($3) ride up was worth every penny! Since we had a stag do (bachelor party) and hen do (bachelorette party) to catch that night, we decided to forego a visit to the gold museum for another day. Our respective parties at Andrés DC (at El Retiro Mall) were loads of fun, although the boys carried on their partying in the night club district of town (Zona Rosa).

Day 3 was a visit to the excellent gold museum, where we spent a few hours admiring the gold on display. Wow, just wow! Next up was a quick visit to the 23rd floor of the Avianca building, home to the Emerald Museum. Afterwards, we did a self guided graffiti tour around the La Candelaria district where there are some amazing works of art painted on the sides of walls and buildings. That evening was a rehearsal dinner at M Cocina Arabe, a lovely Middle Eastern restaurant that was the perfect venue to meet Craig and Mafe’s family and friends. Our friend Matt from the TransAfrica trip showed up and it was lovely to reconnect (7 years since we last saw him!)

Day 4 saw us getting up early for breakfast before rushing to the Sabana train station downtown for a ride on a refurbished steam train to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Matt and Lars joined us for a fun filled day where the salt mines and cathedral were better than expected. Lunch was at the Lobo Feroz burger joint in Cajicá (yum), followed by a short train ride back to Bogota. There, we joined Matt and Lars for beer at the BBC (Bogota Beer Company), topped with pizza for dinner. What a fun day today!

Day 5…wedding day for Mafe and Craig! We had free time until 1:30 pm where we had to link up at the Hotel Dorado in the Zona Rosa district to catch a bus to the Hacienda Pozo Chico. Traffic leaving Bogota on a Sunday afternoon was horrendous, but we managed to get to the hacienda by 3:30 pm, well before the wedding ceremony kicked off. It was a lovely wedding that brought tears of joy, followed by plenty of drink and food and dancing. The party lasted for hours until the wee hours of the morning when we had to load on the bus for the short ride back into Bogota. Well done guys…you threw an amazing wedding ceremony and it will be hard to top that!

Day 6 saw us catching a few hours of shut eye in the morning before having to pack for our onward journey to Ecuador. Goodbye Bogota…you’ve treated us well and we would love to come back!

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