After a lazy few days in Cartagena it was back to Bogota for a bit of Culture. I was unsure of what I was to find in this city but I was surprised to be greeted by beautiful Colonial architecture and art. I had also not expected the drop in temperature and I am sure my jumper got a complete shock to be pulled out the bottom of the bag for the first time in three months.
I generally wandered around the the historic center of the city, La Candelaria, which is filled with churches and museums taking pictures and visiting some of the must see places.
Is one of the art museums in Bogota holding the collections of Fernando Botero. For those that don’t know, Botero is a famous Colombian artist well know for his satirical take on human plumpness. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by his work (pictures included) with my favourite being Mother Superior. I friend who is a dietician had decided that these will work wonders in her office at the NHS as an incentive to lose weight 🙂
I rushed in here about 30mins before closing time which was an added bonus as the young policeman took me straight to the most interesting and probably the most visited section of the museum – the story of the capture and demise of cartel leader, Pablo Escobar, who was finally killed in December 1993 by an elite armed unit known as the Search Block.
The actual museum is nothing fancy but houses Escobar´s Harley Davidson which I think is worth around 200million CO Pesos, his jacket he wore when he was killed, the original ´wanted´posters for his capture and what looks now like very antiquated tracking equipment which was used to find him after his escape from jail.
The museum also shows you photos of all those working for Escobar along with pictures of the killings of each of the leaders – a bit gruesome but guess they want to prove that they actually killed these people.
I was also there to witness a day of remembrance for all the people that died on the 9th April following the assassination of the most popular politician Jore Eliecer Gaitan. Bolivar Plaza – normally known to be filled with pigeons was also covered in white bricks each symbolising a person that had died (I do apologise if some facts here are not too accurate – my Spanish is not that perfect yet).
A 400-year old town
Leaving Bogota behind I continued my journey to the peaceful and friendly town of Villa de Leyva, about a 4 hour drive from the city, if your bus doesn’t break down that is…
The town is Spanish looking with lots of friendly people. Everywhere you walk you are greeted by the locals with a nod of the head, a smile or a just a simple ´Hola` and it certainly makes you feel very safe to just wonder around.
It also meant that I felt confident enough to walk on my own to find one of the local vineyards some 20 minutes away. It was my first wine tasting/tour in Spanish which was quite a challenge but as the Guanani Vineyard is quite small I was able to grasp the main points and find out that the vineyard only had 5 members of staff with most of the work still done by hand. I got to sample some very tasty wines as well as a fruit wine made from a tropical sweet and sour fruit called Fei-Joa.
I was sad to leave the cosy town of Villa de Leyva and even more sad to have to leave Colombia all together. I do hope to return someday (when I have some more money) to visit more beautiful places like San Andres and Santa Martha.