I shared a colectivo from the desert to Neiva with two other travelers (11’000 COP each) and booked the 6:30 pm Bolivariano 2G Gold bus (supposed to be a premium bus with Wi-Fi, arriving in Bogotá around 10; 33’000 COP) to Bogotá. The bus never left – or even arrived. Probably because they hadn’t sold many tickets. After waiting for an hour, I had to take a crappy minivan instead, and arrived in Bogotá at 1 am.
I had a reservation for Colombian Dream Hostel (20’000 COP in an 8-bed dorm; nice and clean, quite big, but there weren’t many guests – four Swiss girls in my room though). The hostel is run (and maybe owned) mainly by a couple of very cool girls (probably sisters), who live there too. And don’t speak English.
I went to Botero museum, which was quite interesting. In Medellín, Pablo (the amazing guide of the free walking tour) had told us quite a lot about Botero and his work. Besides his art, there were some nice Picassos and even some Swiss pieces at the museum. The next day, I enjoyed a training at Alliance Jiu Jitsu Bogotá. After a couple of weeks without having trained in martial arts (and without much exercise in general), it felt great to be on the mat again. The taxi ride to the gym took me 1.5 hrs, so I missed the first session. Luckily, there was another one. Charlie, the instructor, who taught an interesting class on passing the guard, had spent some time in the US and hence spoke in a perfect English. The gym was recommended to me by Ecuadorian Francisco Sinistro Iturralde, who had taught many great classes at the BJJ Globetrotters Summercamp in Copenhagen back in June.
I arranged to meet up with a Bogotana, whom I’d met back in Cali, and was shown around La Candelaria (the oldtown) and other parts of the city. After some days, more museums, bars and clubs (around Calle 80/82, nice area to go out, quite expensive though), it was finally time for football again: The Millonarios from Bogotá played a league game against Deportivo Pasto, I went there with two Millonarios supporters, who had organized the ticket for me. The game was not very good, the home team’s performance was terrible, but the game ended 1-1 – and they had to be sort of happy with it. Due to a streak of disappointing games preceding this one, the stadium was quite empty.
A really nice restaurant I ate at was Rosita in the beautiful small neighborhood El Chorro de Quevedo with narrow walkways, which reminded me of Lisbon a bit. More recommendations: the croissants at La Vieja Suiza and Hotel Galeria’s restaurant in La Candelaria (everything was delicious and beautifully served, as well as quite cheap). After having had my breakfast at the latter place, I went up to Cerro de Monserrate by funicular (16’000 COP return) and was offered a nice, but very cloudy, view.
Before leaving Bogotá for good, I took a one-day trip to Zipaquirá, one hour from Bogotá’s Portal Norte (bus stop; get there by Transmilenio) by bus (8’500 COP return), a smalltown with lots of beautiful old buildings and squares. The main attraction is the underground salt mine though, a 20-min walk from the bus terminal. They had built a huge and very impressive world of its own under the ground, with a seemingly endless amount of crosses and other religious stuff in it. This place was so huge, it must’ve taken them ages to dig all these tunnels. It’s very touristy nowadays and everything is lit beautifully in many colors, it was well worth the visit.
I was approaching my last week in Colombia, which was gonna lead me to the islands of San Andrés and Providencia, a paradisaical Colombian archipelago much closer to Nicaragua than Colombia. I had booked a flight to San Andrés from Medellín though, so I had to take one more night bus there (55’000 COP; exceptionally cold – it’s always cold in these buses, but that one was crazy) and one more taxi (15’000 COP) to the same hostel (Arkadia) as last time. I was presented to a wonderful sunrise and stunning landscapes just a couple hours before reaching Medellín. At the hostel, I took a shower, checked in on my Airbnb, and left for the airport a couple hours later (taxi: 50’000 COP), without spending a night at the hostel.