I’m currently sitting in Miami airport.
My connecting flight to Bogotá has been delayed by 50 minutes. I’ve already been sitting here for 2 hours. American Airlines have brought out some snacks as compensation, though, so all is not lost, I guess. I am so tired though. I travelled from Abu Dhabi to London on Friday and now I’m in America. I don’t think my body knows what time of day it is. I managed to get a little sleep on the plane but not as much as I expected. My body clock is messed up; it’s been the longest ‘9th of July’ ever. When I finally reach Bogotá, you better believe I’m kippin’ for as long as possible.
I should reach around 1am Colombian time so I’ll l try to adjust to their rhythm as quickly as possible. I’m boarding in 30 minutes, praise God.
It took 3 hours to get to Bogotá. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the El Dorado airport and had a smooth transition through customs and baggage reclaim. I connected to the airport WiFi and was able to alert my peeps back home that I had arrived safely. I changed dollars into Colombian pesos and proceeded to book a taxi to ‘Bogo Hostel.’ I had been warned not to take a taxi from outside (as they are extortionate) but to book one from a booth inside the airport. The woman at the booth gave me a long explanation as to why I wasn’t able to do this, only it was in Spanish and I can’t speak a lick of it.
I asked the security person too who directed me to the taxi rank outside. A brazen taxi driver came over, helped me with my luggage and ferried me into his car. I knew from then it was over. I hadn’t had a chance to check the cost of the taxi from the airport to my hostel and now I was without internet. I was new in the country and unfamiliar with the currency. It was late, dark and I’m female solo traveller. I was about to be jipped BIG TIME and there was nothing I could do about it. I handed over COP 40k for a COP 9k journey – according to Uber – and lost sleep that night because of it.
Day 1 in Bogotá
The next day, I was on a quest to find a SIM card. I walked out of the hostel and for the first time noticed that there was a mountain behind me. I had no idea Bogotá was a city so high up.
I walked down the hill with ease but back up again with difficulty. I then went out to watch the France v Belgium game with some hostel mates but could barely make it past half time. I was feeling nauseous and dizzy and had to Uber back home solo. Turns out I had self-diagnosed altitude sickness which crippled me for the rest of the day. My lovely hostel hostess, Gabby, made me some Coca Tea and after I had finished it, I slept and didn’t wake up till the following morning.
Day 2 in Bogotá
I was feeling much better the next day. I had a breakfast consisting of carbs, fruit and the legendary Coca tea (made again by Gabby, God bless her). Although I had my 4 bed dorm all to myself on the first night, I woke up to it being full. I met Maggie and Mollie from the US of A and Adanna from the U.K. Adanna said “so you’re the Black girl that everyone has been confusing me with.” Apparently all the Frenchies had been asking her if she was feeling better! We all look the same init…
Adanna and I ended up spending the day together (might as well, we were twins). We went to the Botero Museum, watched England get kicked out of the World Cup by flippin’ Croatia, travelled up and down Monserrate mountain via cable-cars and went out for dinner at a restaurant recommended online. A jam-packed, fun-filled day!
Paintings in Botero’s Museum.
The top of Monserrate mountain.
Day 3 in Bogotá
The sun came out for me on this day.
I went on a free Graffiti tour around Candelaria where our tour guide, Jay, explained the social and political messages behind the city’s graffiti’d walls. Insightful and beautiful at the same time.
A tribute to the Indigenous people of Colombia.
Mother Nature poisoned by the city.
I love the juxtaposition between the graffiti, the backdrop of the estate and the blue skies.
Highlighting child labourers who are too poor to pay for school but have no choice but to sell on the streets, which is illegal for those under 16.
Me and my angel wings…
Day 4 in Bogotá
I decided that Beyond Colombia’s free food tour would be a great introduction to Colombian cuisine. Traci, an American girl from my hostel, accompanied me and was glad she did. The tour lasted about 3 hours and we tried many typical Colombian foods from vendors all over Bogotá.
The best Empanadas in all of Bogotá.
Ajiaca – potato, chicken and cream soup. Delicioso.
Spit-roasted Chicken and Capybara
Andres (our tour guide) and a stuffed capybara
Obleas with dulce de leche and cheese
When in Colombia…
Day 5 in Bogotá
One of the many great things about travelling solo is that there is no pressure to do anything at all. Day 5 was really chilled. Traci and I went to watch the game between England and Belgium with some neutral German guys at our hostel; I knew it was a write-off for us from the get-go but it was still entertaining.
We all went our separate ways after the game and I used this as an opportunity to check out one of the ‘cheap eats’ spots recommended on TripAdvisor called La Puerta Falsa. This is where I lost my Tamal virginity. It was better than I could have ever imagined!
Tamal – my one contained well-seasoned chicken and rice wrapped with banana leaves. I can still taste it now.
The view from my hostel’s rooftop.
Day 6 in Bogotá
This was my final day in Bogotá *cue the violins.*
I went to the local flea market with Traci and the German dudes and walked around for hours. We also managed to fit in a brief visit to the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum). We listened to the live music on the streets, saw Michael Jackson busking and shamelessly returned to that place selling Empanadas.
Locals playing chess.
A church service.
My people dem (the Akans) getting featured in the Gold Museum.
Gold, gold, and more gold. Let’s just say I’m glad we went to the Gold Museum on a Sunday when the entrance was free…
The stunningly beautiful streets of Bogotá!
I miss these streets already but I shall surely return…
Chit Chat: Have you guys ever travelled solo? Have you been to Bogotá before? Go ahead and share your positive/negative experiences in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about them! x
Next up in my Colombian Chronicles: Cali