Bogota and Solento
12.04.2008 - 22.04.2008
To the Capital...
The journey to Bogota was nice... for a change! In bus entertainment of Shakira on the big screen was very welcome!
The city appears to have a lot of history and culture... and some amazing museums and galleries... all of which are at risk of making me sound rather intellectual when I drop into conversation that I've seen the works of Botero (sampled below), Dali, Renoir, Picasso to name a few... don't you know! (Some of you aren't convinced... I can tell!)
Botero seem to have a fascination of making everyone look like a chunky monkey... check out Mona Lisa!
Wandering through the city is great... behind all of the commercial streets, you can easily find the markets, selling inexpensive and fresh fruit, veg, sea food... and anything else you want... in fact, even some old tat that you would never buy... since some of the markets specialise in second hand gear... kind of like a UK boot sale! We even got some old Colombian dude to play us a song...
Then there is the military presence...
Several Plaza's.... some where you get a lot of attention from the birds
And some really big queue's... no idea why these people were queuing... just know that this web site only allows me to put up 90 seconds of footage... and the line went on like this for another 60 seconds!
And you thought the Brits led the world in queuing! The only other place I've seen a queue like this is @ 3.28 pm (just before home time) in a Manufacturing Facility I worked at!!! Hee hee
A few days of the busy ambience in the capital was enough, after coming from such a relaxing country stay in San Agustin... so it was time to get back out to the sticks... and the coffee district of Solento was the place!
What an awesome place too! A walk down the quiet village street allowed you to peer into noisy bars, where men were playing pool and cards... and not drinking... then into the shops where the women were selling unique, locally designed and made artesians... In fact, the idea of locally produced goods really worked here... the shop where we purchased our fruit and veg actually grew everything it sold at the back of the shop.
Beyond the vibrant streets, were some amazing views. I could really live in this place... although, the sunset lets it down slightly... don't you think???
Colombia is the largest producer of coffee in the world... so no trip would have been complete without a tour...
I am now officially an expert at producing coffee... so if you fancy opening a coffee farm... then I'm your man!
And... more to the point... Pete (the best German I've met on this trip!) & I were somewhat stars in this area... a few minutes of juggling & happy sack in the local park drew roaring crowds of fans:
Ignoring the guide book again... we risked going into the Cocora Valley. A place where the Guerilla's hang out.
Rewarding? I think so... take a look at a couple of these snaps!
Left to right... the best couple I've met on this trip... the beautiful Emilie and very funny Peter
My good friend Arran, and Norweigen Snoorin' Noruun... then me and Swedish Louise!
No Guerilla's made an appearance... but, why would they want to come out and mess with this animal???
It's sad to say... but I have to leave this wonderful Country.
The guide books warn you away... and perhaps the country is still under a cloud of negative perception generated in the past. Ignoring the books was the very best thing I have done... since it led me to a place of outstanding natural beauty... with the friendliest people. Colombia is definitely a place I recommend, and a place I will definitely return to... for sure. Well... I haven't even seen the masterpiece that is Cartegena... nor the Carribean coast.
I love Colombia.
Exiting... One risk too far???
Ignoring the guidebook (and the strict warnings of our hostel owner), we took one last risk... an overnight bus out of the country, on a road notorious for having the bus hijacked at gun point, before being burnt out.
Falling to sleep on the bus conscious that a passanger could stick a gun in my face at any point was ok...
Waking up with a gun in my face and being told to get off the bus with my belongings was worrying!
Thankfully, it soon became apparant that it was the Colombian army doing a random check. What a awesome guy too... in typical Colombian style... he was friendly and chatty the whole time he checked my bag... and even after when I was due back on the bus.
Back to Quito...
Colombia loving... wishing he could stay longer... Bees-Out!