Biking In Bogota

March 17th, 2010

Day 58.  With only one full day in Bogota, we got up bright and early to see the sights.  Bogota is situated on a mountain plateau with the Andes mountain range to the East.  At 7:45am we took a funicular up to the top of one of the mountains to the church of montserrate overlooking the city with spectacular views.


After a traditional and tasty emapanda (deep fried breaded Cornish pasty which everyone in Colombia eats for breakfast) from a student cafe on the university grounds, we took a bike tour of the city with Mike Cesar, an ex-journalist, ex-geneticist, ex-law student from California who has lived in South America for years and settled in Columbia in the last four years.

Here are some of the highlights:

Peace memorial made from melted weaponry

A stop for some Borojo juice with liquidised river crab, thought to be a potent aphrodisiac.

Borojo with liquidised river crabs

Live river crabs pre-liquidisation

Next stop, the central fruit market …

Bogota fruit market

Bogota is called the Athens of South America on account of its multitude of universities.  We visited the main public university.  Like most universities in Bogota, it hires its own private security, and interestingly, it is illegal for the national police to set foot in this university as a concession following past altercations between students and police.

Camilo Torres University Library, possibly the only university library in the world with machine gun holes painted on it.

Every self respecting university in South America (or otherwise) needs a picture of Che. Note the anti American propaganda to the left!

Finally, we bribed the guard to let us into the bull ring.  Bull fighting is a popular sport with Bogota’s wealthy set.  A front row ticket can cost up to US$300.  The season is very short from January to March, mainly because the sport is dominated by Spanish stars who visit Colombia when it is off-season for them.

Bull ring

Where the grim action happens

En route we saw an interesting statue by one of Colombia’s most celebrated  artists.  His style is to draw and sculpt figures with “generous proportions”.

Statue of horse and horseman by Botero

Later on, we visited Botero’s art gallery which not only contains his own works, but also works donated by him from his private collection which includes many Picassos and works by French impressionists.

Fat Mona Lisa

Finally, no visit to Bogota is complete without a visit to the Gold Museum.

Golden angel

Golden mask

Here’s a sample of some of the plentiful graffiti we’ve seen in Bogota.  This one is a take on Colombia’s reputation as an illegal cocaine exporter.  It’s use wasn’t particularly evident to us, though we’re sure we mostly stuck to the more sanitised areas of the city, however Colombia is apparently responsible for exporting 90% of the world’s cocaine.  (Only 50% is actually grown here, but it refines the raw material from surrounding countries).


One Response to “Biking In Bogota”

  1. Aseema says:

    thanks for this entry – the ‘fat’ photos really made me smile

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