Monday, December 19, 2022

Day 11: Walking Tour & Monserrate

Today I went on a “free” walking tour of central Bogota. There are “free” walking tours in nearly ever city, including in the US. GuruWalk is an app that lists many of them. It is expected to give a tip afterwards, but they are really free. 

I learn so much on these tours. The top exports in Colombia are oil, coal, roses, and emeralds. The architecture is a mixture of all the influences including spanish, french, and Italian. 

We sampled Chicha, which is a common low alcoholic drink in Colombia fermented from corn. It can be mixed with fruits such as mangos and today we tried it mixed with a fruit called lulo. I am in love with lulo. It is very tart; some say it tastes like a mixture of rhubarb and lime. I have been having a drink with it every night at my hostel bar. I will be seeking it out back home. 

We came across many more murals on our walk. Bogota is applying to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the things that holds them back is all the “graffiti” that has been added to the buildings. But I do love them. 

After the tour I walked to the cable car that went to Monserrate, a church on the hill. The walk was only 1.2 miles but I felt tired. Bogota is at 8,661 ft. Not as high as Cusco and although my breathing did not struggle like in Cusco my body did feel tired. 

The view from the top was amazing. I love, love, love city skylines and Bogota did not disappoint. It is a HUGE city which I should have expected at 7.8 million. 

While at the top I checked out the church and walked around the market. I also had lunch of two very common Colombian dishes; tamal (rice, chicken, and veggies wrapped in banana leaves) and Ajiaco (soup with potatoes and chicken). Both were delicious! 

I met a couple people on the walk up the hill to the cable car and we had lunch together. The woman was a nurse from Germany who traveled as much as possible; she was on her fifth long stent and planned to spend 6 months on this journey. The man was a teacher from Costa Rica and did as much traveling as possible. I love meeting other travelers and hearing about their adventures. We walked back down the hill together and shared an Uber back to our hostels. 

Everything is very low cost in Bogota. My Uber in the morning was 40 minutes long and cost $2.68. Crazy. I tried to give him a $5 tip but Uber maxed me out at $4.19. My evening Uber, including all three drop offs was nearly an hour and only $6.49. I gave him a $10.47 tip (50,000 COP) and I thought he would cry. 

I returned to my room, showered, did my laundry (in the sink), and am sitting at the hostel bar having dinner. It was a really good day. 

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