It’s always  good to come home but this time, my trip to Colombia, kept me wishing to stay longer.

WHERE TO STAY IN BOGOTÁ

First stop.
B.O.G. Hotel, (Carrera 11 #867) was purchased 6 years ago and totally re -done. The 55 room building felt more like a small gathering place. Each morning at breakfast there were greetings, ‘hola’ (good morning). As a woman on own, I was thankful for the security that doesn’t allow just anyone to go to another floor without their plastic room key which doubles as the security card. And the staff was so obliging, friendly and helpful. And each day/night when I returned, always exhausted, I was always enchanted by the brown, beige, white, quiet and modern interior.

B.O.G. Hotel

 

WHERE TO GO NEAR BOGOTÁ

Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira, about a half hour drive from Bogotá, is a 2km (1.2 miles) walk through this salt created cavern. Each ‘room’ had a hand carved cross and the statue in salt, of Christ. A bumpy, once mud floor, and wonderful chandeliers, in salt, tell the story of Jesus’ walk similar to the, via della Rosa.

Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira

WHAT AND WHERE TO SHOP IN BOGOTÁ

The fashionable shopping on Calle de los Anticuarios, has an assortment of wonderful designs and small boutiques. St. Dom. had wonderful Colombian designs, but at a price. Each was spectacular and I wanted most. But prices got in the way. I did buy a jacket and dress at Julieta Suarez Boutique, a few doors away, and the designer, Sandra Cabrales, is one of the labels. I actually wondered how she can provide these fashions at the price. And price certainly was right.

There were many small boutiques, all with different “takes” and the palettes were creative. Woman don’t like dull clothing in that part of the world and go for the most varied and vivid coloration, a pleasant surprise after the sea of black back in the north. Antiques, mens wear, new furniture designs, craft and cafes, all held forth. It’s a short street filled with great shops.

 

WHERE TO EAT IN BOGOTÁ

El Cielo,(calle 70 #4-47) probably the most noted restaurant where a must-reserve, is a necessity. We had 13 delicious small portion after portion from fish to meat to sweets, and all were amazingly different .Although, very similar to late El Bulli, and Bray, England’s, Fat Duck.

The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro, Carrero 6 #15-82).and Harry’s Bar (calle 70 #5-57), as expected, were filled and that’s why having a local friend is valuable. Food matters to the chef and their followers.

Columbia Gold Museum

Piece from the Gold Museum


WHAT TO SEE IN BOGOTÁ

The Botero Museum. (calle #4-41) Who would miss it? He is my favourite contemporary artist. The museum is an old mansion which has been converted. Located in historical centre of Bogota, only 13 kilometres (7.9 miles) from my hotel, it was an astonishing display of Fernando Botero’s work, both paintings and sculptures. He added his private collection, e.g Picassco, Soutine, Freud and many more. The museum,, is so easy to walk through and has the noted ‘huge hand’ to welcome all. The master’s touch.

Another must-see museum is The Gold Museum (Museiio del Oro). Exquisite gold items with all that is expected. No fumbles here.

My Tour Guide Lizette

My Tour Guide Lizette


RARE THINGS TO DO IN BOGOTÁ

Things to do include coffee tasting. Lizette and I sat and listened to words that could have been at a wine tasting. Afterwards, we had our chance to taste several flavours and since I don’t have a sensitive palate, I admit, I know the good from the lousy. I love coffee. I usually have several cups a day, but don’t have the ‘nose’ or the sensitive taste buds to pick out flavors.

I was so impressed with Lizette who obviously has what it takes to become a connoisseur. I did guess some of the flavors.

It’s my first time but won’t be my last. I intend to keep practicing. A unique experience for the two other woman with diplomas, Coffee Tasting at Racafe SAS . Don’t miss it.

Sandra Cabrales

Me with designer Sandra Cabrales

EMERALDS

Known worldwide for their emeralds, I did see a huge 6 carat, perfect green. I wasn’t there to buy so there was no pressure. About $75,000, I was told and it looked like a reasonable amount. But not for sitting at a computer and typing all day.

Colombia isn’t what I expected. There are so many resources and now that the ‘narcs’ are (almost) gone, or so it seems, there’s a lively, open, atmosphere. Nothing to fear.

The costs of items have gone up but so have the numbers of travelers.

Colombia is now becoming a country to explore.