Equipped with several phone numbers we arrived in Bogota, relatives or long time “amigos” of Leonardo, our Columbian friend and neighbor in Vienna. One was Carmen, a friend from Leonardo’s studies at the Academy of Art. Carmen’s family owns the very cozy Restaurante Rosita on the Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo, the supposedly very place where Santa Fé de Bogotá was founded in 1538.
At Rosita, an evening full of laughter, excellent food & wine received it final and perfect touch by two amazing musicians and singers. Claro & Obsuro, two extremely handsome young men performed with great charm for a very intimate circle of maybe 15 persons.
The following day we joined thousands of Bogatenos in the Ciclovia. Every Sunday and Holiday, 122 kilometers of Bogota’s busy streets are closed for traffic and people on bikes, skateboards, rollerblades or others simply walking or pushing a pram take over.
The streets are lined with legal and illegal food stalls selling anything from yummy fruit salads, “Arepas” to corn on the cob. Again we got so involved, enjoying the peaceful crowd and sampling the food that we biked to the most northern point of the Ciclovia and then cut across to the west as far as possible. Shortly before 02:00 pm, which is the time when the streets are turned over to cars and busses, we realized that we were still 80 blocks from La Candelaria.
By then we had already covered an ambitious 250 blocks and were simply exhausted. Black clouds announcing a downpour further dampened our morale. We had a vague map of this city of 8 million and with this we desperately tried to find a short cut to get back home. Heidi was in tears. Near collapsing we rode amidst horrid traffic partly through neighborhoods that even braver people would consider a no-go-zone.
Despite all this self-inflicted misery, we have no regrets. It is a real pity that tourists are not ready yet to use the Ciclovia to see more of Bogota than just La Candelaria. It even seems that they do no even explore this very center intensively, but eat, sleep and hang out in hostels recommended by the Lonely Planet.
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