Family Reunion in Bogota
Trip Start Apr 17, 2004
5Trip End Ongoing
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We arrived to Bogota around 3pm and took a taxi to Diana's aunt's house. It was a huge family reunion. Diana's parents and sisters were there as well as her 97 year old grandmother, uncle, aunt, and five 1st cousins. Although I didn't understand the majority of the conversations, I did love a home cooked Colombian meal. The meat and potatoes were fantastic! We all sat around and had tons to drink.
Around 7pm we drove to Diana's cousin's home. This is where we will be staying while we are here. Soon all of her relatives come over here and even some more. Again, more drinks and talking. Dinner couldn't be outdone by lunch and it was amazing. Home cooked ajiaco soup!!
We woke up about 8am. At around 9:30 we had lunch with Diana's parents, sisters, uncle and cousin at a typic Colombian cafe. There were so many varieties of bread and they were all delicious.
Later we took taxis to the downtown area of Bogota. We walked around quite a bit. Next we visited the Gold Museum. It was great with numerous silver, gold and copper artifacts from numerous cultures from Colombia's past. There was also a temporary exhibit with many artifacts from China's Shanghai Museum.
After the museum it was time to eat again. We went to a very typic restaurant. I had the paisa which is a massive plate with chorizo, blood sausage, rice, a fried eggs, beans, fried pork, avocado, etc, etc. Of course I needed a Pilsen cerveza to wash it all down.
After a meal like that the only choices were a siesta or to walk it off and walk it off I did inside of the National Museum.
Following the museum, Diana and I went with her sisters, cousin Christian and his girlfriend Catalina to walk around some nice areas. We stopped for a variety of locally made cervezas at the Bogota Beer Factory. From there we walked to anther nice area and had drinks and hamburgers.
We left today at 8am in a large van to transport ten of us on some tours outside of Bogota. Our first stop was the city of Sesquile. We viewed the church in the main square and Diana, her uncle and I enjoyed a beer in a small supermarket.
Next we drove to Lake Guatavita, a site some believe to be the home of the legendary city of El Dorado. It was a grueling hike up, up, up on a path already at an elevation of over 9000 feet.
Guatavita, the sacred lake, belongs geographically and legally to the municipality of Sesquilé. It used to be the ceremonial site where the Indians worshipped Chie, the goddess of water, during lavish ceremonies that gave rise to the legend of El Dorado. According to the legend, the Muisca Indian chief would arrive, covered with dust, on a wooden raft, with four of his priests and the treasures collected in his community. After throwing the treasures into the lake as a symbol of adoration, he would immerse himself in the water. For the natives, the value of gold was not economic, but a means to come closer to their gods. The story came to the ears of the Spaniards, who organized expeditions to take the precious jewels our ancestors had ingeniously created over the course of many years. In fact, it is said that during one of the first lootings ordered by Phillip II, over fourteen loads of gold were taken. The Spaniards attempted to drain the lake several times. The high cost of these expeditions made them give up, but not after obtaining the best part of the booty. The gold they took was a lot and very heavy; very little has been recovered.
The legend of El Dorado tells that the Muisca chief would arrive at the lake on a wooden raft with four of his priests. After being covered in gold, he would immerse himself in the water with treasures offered in adoration.
Our next stop was the city of Guatavita. It was a nice, clean city with all white buildings. We explored the streets a little.
Then we drove to Briceno for another typical lunch filled with chorizo, blood sausage, various meats, soup, potatoes and much more. Delicious and filling.
Our next stop was the city of Zipa Quira to visit the underground Salt Cathedral.
We arrived back in Bogota around 7pm. At 9pm we went back out to Usaqen which had many restaurants and bars. We went for dinner at Pomodoro, an Italian restaurant. After we walked around some more and then went somewhere else for another drink.
Diana, her sisters and I met up with everyone else at 10Am. We took a funicular to the top of a mountain to visit Monserrate and it's church. There were also great panoramic views of the city of Bogota.
When we came back down we walked a bit and then visited the home of Simon Bolivar.
Next we walked the streets in the neighborhood of Candelaria. We visited the museum of history of coins in Colombia. Next door we visited the museum for Fernando Botero. They had a great collection of his paintings and sculptures, most of which showed the gordo ladies.
Next we walked to the main square. We saw the national cathedral, Congress, and the presidential residence.
We then took two taxis to a shopping area and ate at Waffles and Crepes. Guess what hey serve there? The Crepes were so creative served with meat, or chicken, or seafood. It was delicious. Of course we had dessert Crepes too!
We then took a taxi to another shopping area for drinks.
Diana and I met up with two of her friends at a famous restaurant called Quadres DC. They had delicious food, some entertainment and great presentation of food and beverage.