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colombian andes climbing

Enlightening City Tour in Bogota, Colombia

On Sun­day we dropped in at the Police Muse­um to say hi to Colom­bi­a’s noto­ri­ous drug-lord, Pablo Esco­bar. As inter­est­ing as the nar­co-traf­i­cante sto­ry is, it is clear Colom­bians are very proud of their cul­tur­al her­itage and would rather sweep this prob­lem under the car­pet to get rid of the stig­ma that the drug wars have cre­at­ed towards their soci­ety and tourism. 

A wax mod­el of Pablo Esco­bar. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Mark Gun­log­son photo

Our city tour guide, Her­nan, played along with our inter­est in Señor Esco­bar, but more excit­ed­ly showed us some oth­er intrigu­ing high­lights of Bogotà, including:

- Museo de Or - Home to more than 55,000 pieces of gold, this muse­um demon­strat­ed the rich pre-Colom­bian soci­eties of the region which had a cer­tain lack of Inca influ­ence, which is most often attrib­uted to all Andean countries.

- Botero Muse­um — In addi­tion to the impres­sive col­lec­tions of Picas­so, Mon­et, Dali, and oth­ers, this muse­um is filled with the paint­ings by Colom­bian artist Botero, whose paint­ings and sculp­tures are dis­tinct­ly wide — or for lack of a bet­ter way to describe it, depict scenes and peo­ple as, well, fat. Beau­ti­ful works, if not a bit unusual!

- Bright­ly paint­ed colo­nial build­ings with sto­ries behind them, like the win­dow the Great Lib­er­ta­dor Simón Bolí­var jumped out of to elude the would-be assas­sins who pur­sued him.

Mark Gun­log­son photo

- Bicy­cle Sun­day — Every Sun­day one of the main streets in the city is closed off for all to walk, jog, or bike — thou­sands turn out and enjoy an out­ing with fam­i­ly or friends.

Sun­day after­noon stroll on the main streets of Bogotà. Mark Gun­log­son photo

- Mon­ser­rate - We also hiked to the top of Mon­ser­rate, the forest­ed peak above Bogotà that pro­vides a breath­tak­ing hike of almost 2,000 feet for the un-accli­ma­tized, an incred­i­ble view of the city and a chance to check in to the church atop the moun­tain and see worshippers.

Mark Gun­log­son photo

Indeed, there is a rich cul­ture and his­to­ry here, one that eas­i­ly over­shad­ows the drug war, despite its intrigue, from the pre-Colom­bian peo­ple and the Span­ish rule and the lib­er­a­tion of the country. 

Today we are pack­ing up and leav­ing the colo­nial town of Cocuy and head­ing up to the mountains!

~ Mark Gunlogson 

Local shop sell­ing coca leaves. Mark Gun­log­son photo

Mark Gun­log­son photo

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