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More of Bogotá and its Surroundings

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Let me continue sharing some fragments of our trip to Colombia last year. In the rest of our first week in Bogotá, we visited some touristic attractions and I discovered even more new dishes.

La Mariposa

Once, while we were driving, I saw an interesting view: a hill covered with tiny houses forming colourful clusters. Sergio told me that from aerial perspective this settlement should form a butterfly (la mariposa in Spanish). He also added that a tourist shouldn’t go there, since it’s a poor area and there is a high risk to get stabbed.

Usaquén

We visited the locality Usaquén which appeared to be nice and clean.

There, we had some coffee in a caffe and walked around the area.

We stumbled upon a small outdoor market. At that place one could buy various Colombian souvenirs. I bought myself a piranha preserved in plexiglas. Isn’t that cool?

Bogotá Botanical Garden

We also went to visit the Bogotá Botanical Garden. I always enjoy seeing unusual plants, and Colombia has a lot to offer in that domain. It turned out, however, that during these days, the botanical garden was hosting an exhibition. Its grounds turned into a large display of colourfully lit installations demonstrating the Colombian flora and fauna. So, instead of visiting the greenhouses, we spent a couple of hours going through the exhibition, which also was super fun to do.

We went there just before the dawn.

After the sun went down, they turned on the lights in the installations.

Passing by a sports ground

Bandeja paisa

On some other day, our friends Cindy and Carlos brought us to the restaurant El Envigadeño for another must try. Bandeja paisa is a typical dish from the Paisa region. It includes beans, a couple of different sausages, poached egg, carne molida (ground meat), chicharron (fried pork belly), fried platano (cooking banana) and rice. It’s usually served with arepas (corn bread) on the side. You can imagine, such a dish easily covers a weekly caloric intake of an average person.

The portions which we ordered were humongous and I could barely manage to finish a half.

The restaurant itself was decorated in a very peculiar way.

Paloquemao market

Another very fun place to visit in Bogota is the Paloquemao market. It’s a large local farmer’s market, selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and flowers. I’ve never seen so many exotic things under one roof!

In addition, they got kiosks selling ready meals. One can buy a meal and eat it seating on plastic chairs directly next to the shop — not the most convenient way, but definitely a fun experience! I tried a tamale, and it was very delicious.

Furthermore, at the market, they also sell tasty juices (which are more like smoothies).

Catedral de Sal, Zipaquirá

On another day together with Cindy, Carlos and their baby-son we went on a day trip to Zipaquirá, a town located in about 50 km north from Bogota. Its main attraction is the Catedral de Sal, a cathedral built under ground in the former salt mine. It is very unusual, and definitely worth visiting!

The church was built in the 90s within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 metres underground. It consists of various corridors and sanctuaries located in the caves left behind by previous mining operations. The combination of light and stone carvings makes its architecture truly mesmerising.

After visiting the mines, we joined a bus tour to the town of Zipaquirá. The town looked different compared to Bogota, but it was actually quite a typical provincial town, as I observed it in the next couple of weeks while visiting other regions of Colombia.

Photos taken in January 2020

About Author

Hi, I'm Katja! I'm a computer scientist, who loves photography and traveling. Welcome to the visual diary of my adventures!