A slice of EADA in Bogota

Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
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Trip End Mar 23, 2010


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Where I stayed
Carlosīs Flat

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

In advance of our arrival to Bogota we had sent an email to Mike's classmates who currently live there. We received a gracious offer from Carlos to stay at his place as he had a couple extra rooms. So, upon our arrival we made our way to his apartment in the north of the city where he greeted us and showed us our room (a big thanks to Carlos and Ana Maria for being amazing hosts and showing us a great time!). Carlos had some errands to run and we had been up since 3:30am so we parted ways and we took a four hour siesta to catch up on our sleep. It turned out to be a good decision as that night was the birthday party for another classmate (Juan Carlos), which was held at an amazing restaurant/club called Andres. There we met up with even more EADA classmates and spent the night eating a great selection of Colombian food (highlights being a sweet corn bread with melted cheese and various salsas), drinking a traditional liquor called Aguardiente (which Mike preferred to call agua caliente for simplicity) and dancing to the Salsa/Merengue. Actually we spent most of our time watching the locals dance as it was beyond or abilities, or should we say beyond Mike's abilities.

The next day Carlos took us on a driving tour of the city. The city is very unique with most buildings being constructed out of red brick. To get the best possible view of the city and its over 7 million inhabitants we took a funicular up the mountains that run parallel to the city. Great vantage point to understand its layout and to get some nice pics. In addition to the city sites we also learned a little bit about Bogotaīs innovative health and environmental initiatives. First, Bogota has the most extensive network of bike lanes in the world. Second, every Sunday the main road is closed to traffic and turned into a giant biking/rollerblading street for families to enjoy. Finally, twice a week, depending on whether your plates end with an even or odd number, you cannot drive your car and therefore must carpool or take public transportation. Three great ideas that Canadian cities should investigate to improve our carbon footprint and to encourage healthy lifestyles.

The next day we ventured on our own into Bogota's downtown in the old city. We enjoyed walking around the main plaza then headed to check out some of South America's best museums. Unfortunately the Museo del Oro was closed, but most of the others were open, and to our pleasant surprise, free. We went to the Botero museum, a Colombian artist who is known for his depiction of fat people in his work. We had seen his "Fat Cat" in Raval in Barcelona, and enjoyed the lightness (despite his "heavy" subjects) in his work. We enjoyed other paintings as well including some good old Catalans like Joan Miro, Picasso and Dahli.

The next day we headed off to the beautiful land of coffee, which we've put in a separate entry as we had lots to say!

We arrived back to Bogota on Friday and headed to the Zona T, a newer commercial area in the north of the city with lots of shopping, bars and restaurants. Shannon did a bit of shopping in preparation for the upcoming hot climate. That afternoon we met up for beers with another EADA friend, Alan, who was in town for business from Cali. A few other friends joined us on the patio and then we made our way to the Hard Rock cafe...with a good reason...to watch the Canadian hockey team take on Slovakia in the Olympic semi finals.

We woke up to another beautiful day (about 23 and sunny, a bit warmer than usual for the city). Early afternoon we made our way to one of Bogota's most famous sites, Cathedral de sal, a cathedral built underground in an old salt mine. It was quite an impressive place unlike anything we'd seen before. That evening we headed to the home of other friends from EADA, Julian and his wife Maca. We had seen them at the beginning of our trip in Lima, where Julian was on a project, and now again they had extended an invite to the group to see their lovely new home just outside of Bogota. We had a really great evening with great friends to close our time in Bogota.
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