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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 4.60987, -74.082
La Candelaria. Montserrate. Usaquen. The Salt Cathedral at Zipaquira. Guatavita. Bogota and its surrounding areas have so many things to offer the traveler, it's difficult to decide what to see and do. So of all those wonderful activities, we decided to go shopping instead. Huh? Shopping? Why? How? WTF???
Tonight's plan is for a Calgary reunion of sorts, having a couple groups of friends that happen to be traveling through South America at the same time as us, one flying home from Bogota in a few days and one I managed to guilt into convince to meet us in Bogota. Andres Carne de Res is a fairly famous Bogota institution - a steakhouse earlier in the evening, before morphing into a nightclub later, a perfect venue for tonight's reunion.
After brainwashing enlightening B in the wise ways of the backpacker before the trip, the only pair of shoes she had packed were hikers - not exactly the type of footwear normally seen in Colombian nightclubs, nor used for salsa dancing. So, after B tricked convinced me that she needed to buy a nice pair of shoes for tonight, we headed to the Zona T in one of Bogota's posh northern
Breakfast, Part II ...
... despite already having a sizable included breakfast at the hotel, we needed some additional caffeine after arriving at the hotel at 2:30 AM last night, and getting to sleep much later. Diletto was a nearby cafe - the coffee was a bit disappointing, but the carrot cake was moist and delicious.
So named because of the shape of its pedestrian mall, it's a part of the larger Zona Rosa, the centre of Bogota's nightlife district. Strolling this neighbourhood of shopping malls and high-end designer stores is a bit of a trip - it could be mistaken for Robson Street in Vancouver! It's quite different from Medellin's El Poblado, which was structured a bit differently - while there were numerous restaurants and bars around their Zona Rosa, Parque Lleras, it didn't have the same mix of retail and entertainment venues as Bogota's Zona Rosa.
Sure, Medellin had its share of fancy shopping malls, but it just wasn't as pedestrian friendly as this part of Bogota - the malls of Medellin were a long walk from their Zona Rosa, best reached by public transit or taxi. For that reason, Medellin felt a bit disjointed and a bit unwelcoming; contrast that with Bogota, which just seems to feel friendlier and more inviting, a sentiment also expressed by more than one traveler I've encountered so far on this trip.
So after an epic day of shopping, of hours spent walking around in search of shoes, hours that felt like days of trudging through
... Bogota Beer Company produces some decent micro brews. It's a nice change from the light beers in Colombia which are perfect for tropical climates, but not as suited to the cold climate of Bogota, which the heavier offerings of the BBC are more appropriate for. The Monserrate Red was good, but a tad bitter.
a 45 C desert, stepping on sand that felt like shards of red-hot and razor-sharp shards of glass passed by quite pleasantly, we had exactly one pair of shoes to show for this torturous wonderful day of shopping. It was all worth it in the end, because B managed to pick up a pair of shoes that looked like giant wrinkly raisins were quite lovely, garnering a number of compliments this evening.
Unfortunately, the shoes weren't used for their intended purpose tonight, as we discovered that it wasn't possible to obtain a reservation this evening at Andres, that we'd have to show up and put our names on the wait list if we wanted any hope of gaining entry. We decided to postpone and try Andres tomorrow evening instead, but we still made dinner plans with the Calgary crew who had just flown in from Quito earlier today.
It's always a treat to meet up with people you know while traveling, as it seems extra special. We were green with envy hearing their tales of adventure for the past two months - trekking through Peru to Machu Picchu, beach bumming in the Galapagos, feeling like prisoners in sketchy Quito ... and
The Best Franchise in Colombia ...
... and perhaps the world - Crepes y Waffles! So much cheaper than the location in Panama City I visited, it's probably half the price here in Colombia. Not normally a huge fan of franchises, but this is an excellent one when it comes to variety, price, and taste.
This was a Poblana crepe - avocado, pico de gallo, mozzarella, and what we think was gouda (referred to in the menu only as "Dutch cheese" Excellent, with vibrant, fresh flavours.
to think, they have another four months to go!
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