Colombia, more and more becoming the tourist place to be in South America. Luckily I had the chance to visit the capital city, Bogotá. But I only had time to see it for just one day, personally for me that was a problem. Making choices is not easy for someone who wants to see it all. Time, a scare resource for a traveler. On my Bogota To-Do list are still the following must-see’s: (2) Museo del Oro and (2) Cerro de Moseratte. What I have done? As a real Dutchman I went for a city bike tour. This is daily organised by Bogota Bike Tours situated in the old center.
I am in the cab towards the old center and the cab driver asks me: ‘Primera vez en Colombia?’ Si senor, I reply to him. It is my very first time in Colombia. And I notice suddenly that there are many cyclists, joggers, skaters and runners on some of the main roads, normally where the cars should be. The cab driver explains that today it is Ciclovia. Every Sunday and national holiday certain main streets are closed down to make space for sport activities on the public roads. And besides that stages are being built in several parks where you can participate in group yoga or aerobics.
When I arrive at the starting point of the tour I see already a group of people getting ready. Checking the pressure of the tires and fixing their helmets. Also our colleagues from Norway, magazine Reiselyst, are representing and ‘surprisingly’ some other Dutchies are part of the group as well. Yes, The Netherlands, a tiny country, but we are everywhere. It could be a reason as well that KLM started a direct flight from Amsterdam to Bogota.
Our American guide, living for about 7 years in Colombia, and even more years in the continent, explains some of the Colombian history, the safety in the country, about terrorist groups, you would probably know about FARC. What you will notice when you are on this tour is the many street-art the city has to offer. It is not only marvellous to see that, the nice colours, some of them remind me of a sort new-age pop-art and others look like Dali created them himself. But they all have a meaning. Most of them have a political message, others about the hard life in Colombia and other are just about life. Two illustrations below..
During the tour we see an aerobic class, besides a park. It is a large group actually; young and old, hippie’s, businessman, locals and tourists are dancing on the beats flowing out the speakers. On the main stage we have an aerobic instructor who is showing the moves and the crowd will follow, or as in my case at least trying to do so.
We also stop at a fruit market where Mike is letting us taste several ones. I forgot the names of them, but I liked the taste for the most of them. Some are super fresh and they were my favorite. Bogotá Bike tours has a page about all the fruit, I should be able to find all of my favorite ones there.
We also play a typical Colombian game, even more popular the football, it is called Tejos. You should combine jeu-de boule with darts, and when you hit the middle, there will be a small explosive. This game should be played with a beer, according to Mike. And even if that was not true I would drink one. A nice cold beer and a game of Tejos, what else do you want?
At the end of our tour we had some rain which turned into heavy rains. Luckily Mike brought some ponchos so that we end the tour quite dry. Just before the tour ends we are going into a small coffee shop, where we get a brief explanation about the production process. Interesting fact is that a lot of high quality coffee is made in Colombia, but they export a lot. Probably chances are higher you will get a a real Colombian in the US or Europe, then buying one on the streets here.
After the coffee we are cycling again in the rain, but just for a few minutes until the end. We return our bikes and helmets and I have to say that it was a very good day and would recommend it to you when visiting Bogotá.
Do you want to know more about Bogotá? Take a look at Mike’s blog!
¡Hasta la Próxima!