My flight left very early from La Paz to Lima, and I didn’t really have time to leave Lima airport before connection to Bogota. I grabbed some food and got on my second plane of the day, ready for my 3rd country of the day.
The Colombian taxi driver was very helpful and cheerful, and my taxi cost me 40,000 pesos, which I didn’t think was too bad. I dropped my bag off at the Hotel Portal De Oxum, which is surrounded by flower shops. The room was very compact, but clean and comfy. My first stop was an ATM for some cash, and it is the first (and probably last) time that I have withdrawn a million of anything from a cash point. I felt rich!
I pulled up (eventually) at Hotel Portal De Oxum, which is supposedly one of the best in Bogota. Surrounded by flower shops it all smelt very fresh and looked good, but the hotel was surprisingly tiny! After checking in, I took my pack to the room and found it very small, but clean and tidy. There are only a few rooms, which I considered a good thing. The breakfast was to be served between 8.30 and 9.30, quite a small window I thought.
I took a quick walk around a few blocks to grasp the area as best I could, but could only really notice teeth! I am telling you the Colombian people have the best teeth in the world! 95% of people I saw had big, straight, bright white teeth.
The next day I hopped on a bus to the city centre to try and find Monserrate, a town atop a mountain which is accessible by cable car from Bogota city. I hopped off the bus and had a quick look around the square I was in. Apologies, no clue what it was called. I approached a policemen for directions, and I thought the standard ‘smile and begin talking’ would be sufficient. This copper was the friendliest man I’ve ever met, he grabbed my hand, shook it with vigour and said ‘Lovely to meet you. How can I help?’
I toddled off in the direction he pointed, and after 10-15 minutes found myself at the entrance to a University. I asked a student for more directions, and I was only 2 minutes away. On the final approach I saw a group of 10 confused looking Israeli travellers, and I assumed they were looking for Monserrate too. After guiding them in the right direction, we queued for the cable cars, only for them to be outraged by the price and decide to walk up (1 hour uphill) instead. I wished them well and hopped into the comfy cable car!
The views on the way up were amazing, and it wasn’t too busy which is good. There are over priced restaurants and shops on the top of the mountain, but the views can’t be argued with. There is also a nice church, which is worth popping into. I spent 45 minutes gawking around then headed back down.
I walked back to the bus station along the same route, or so I thought. I saw a street performer on the way, a man dressed up as a female clown I think. Strange, but I had no time to stop! A nice group of African guys offered me a seat and a drink too, they were pumping music out near the University. I bustled through everybody back to the bus station, and jumped on the same number bus that brought me here.
Around 15 minutes into my journey I realised that I was going the wrong way. I waited patiently, thinking that the route must be a loop (sensible assumption?) but we came to another bus station, one where everybody had to alight. So I asked in my broken Spanish how to get to ‘Flores’ bus stop (flowers), as that was near my hotel. 4 hours after I had left the hotel, I got back!