Bogotá, Day 1

IMG_3732Day 1, March 7

Everyone has arrived (well except Adriana, but that is a different story).  Veronica and Jose introduced us to Bogotá, with a city tour that included visits to the Presidencial Residence, a visit to Monserrate, and a walk to Chorro de Quevedo.

We then had our opening reception at Andrés, Carne de Res, bringing on the food and drinks.

What did you learn about Bogotá and Colombia today?  What were your take-aways?



27 Responses to “Bogotá, Day 1”

  1. Karen Madera Says:

    The first day in Bogota was fun — though the rain kept us moving fairly quickly in the first part of the day. Going up Monserrate was a great view and we got to see the church on the top of the hill. This is where I could feel the elevation for the first time going up the church steps. Apparently some Bogota residents actually run up the mountain everyday for their exercise. The tour around the President’s house was nice. We spoke to a young man in the military service; military service in Colombia lasted from 12-18mo. When walking around the square, we also learned about the Colombian revolution and how the motion got underway due to a vase being thrown.

  2. Brittany Rogers Says:

    Day 1 was pivotal for me after my shake up with the police the night before. Being about to see Bogota in the daylight changed my perception of the city. The view from Monserrate (even in the thunderstorm) was stunning, I had no idea the city was that big! Visiting the Botero museum was a really unique experience for me. It was really great seeing the support from the artist to the country and I was impressed that the admission was free to encourage all estratas to be able to go.
    Andres D.C. was delicious and was my first taste of true Colombian cuisine – lots of meat and potatoes in our near future.

  3. Tyler Hjalmquist Says:

    Our first official day in Bogota was filled with sightseeing and historical visits. We saw the presidential palace, and Palace of Justice. Unlike the other buildings, this Palace of Justice is only 30 years old. The tour guide asked us why we might think this is, and I knew the answer from watching Narcos, and that it resulted in lots of evidence against Pablo Escobar being destroyed. We did a walking tour and also visited Mount Monserrate. Standing at the top really gave us the ability to see just how big Bogota is. I was also surprised to see how many motorcycles are on the road. This has to do with car laws that give drivers the right to use their car every other day, whereas the motorcycles are exempt. We went to an amazing dinner at Andres, Cama de Res, where I had the first of many steaks and smoothy type juice drinks that are typically served in Colombian restaurants.

  4. Destin Whitehurst Says:

    I was immediately struck by the urban, modern feel of the city. Having spent months living in and traveling around Latin America, I expected a much more chaotic scene. But the streets are clean, the people are friendly, the traffic is heavy but organized, and the air is fresh. A key difference between this city and Cartagena, where I traveled a year ago, is that Bogota lacks the at-times pesky salespeople that tail tourists. This is likely because nearly everyone here seems to be a local.

  5. Laura Szymanski Says:

    I absolutely love my photos from this day. What a better place to dive into Colombia’s history and culture than our city tour in Bogota. The attention we received from our tour group was unparred. Beronica’s personal stories connecting to how the strata system impacts her family’s decisions especially around education. I am overwhelmed by the traffic in the city. I thought Austin was bad with traffic; however, I’m quickly learning Bogota has us beat. Reaching the mountain top, I finally see the shear sprawl of the city. I gasp, taken aback by how physically large the city is nestled in a valley, that is before we get dumped on with a rain storm. A daily occurance during our time in Bogota.

  6. Hannah Sierra Says:

    Bogota Day 1 remains my second favorite day on this trip. I experienced the worst and the best but within twenty four hours Bogota won me over. This picture of us in your blog captures that exact feeling. I could already tell I would be make lifelong friendships as we walked throughout the city. My group started off by taking the lift up to see the view from Monserrate. As soon as we reached the top it began to rain just as we entered the chapel. The chapel was peaceful and elegant. It was in this chapel that I spent my first peso to light a candle and say a prayer. I will never forget it. On my way out, I purchased a poncho (and said yet another prayer) as we rode the lift down the steep terrain in the rain. The view was beyond words, remarkable. The presidential palace was next, I felt very privileged and honored to be invited in. I learned Bogota’s pride and scale in this visit. The tour guide was well rehearsed and proud of his country, he moved quickly and spun about the palace to give us his best hosting impression. Dinner at Andres that night was unexpected. It was this meal that I began to realize the abundance of fruit in Colombia as people were served deep bowls of fresh juice in between appetizers and the main course. On the contrary, pitchers of drinking water moved to the tables at glacial pace. I made a mental note of the opposite trend in the availability of these beverages in the US.

  7. Kyle Gabb Says:

    The first full day in Colombia was great. I slept in a bit, getting up around 10 am. People had mentioned lunch at the food court in the adjecent mall, so Carl and I ventured out to try and meet up with the group. We couldn’t find them, but ended up wandering around the area checking out the shops, restaurants, and bars. I was amazed at the amount of heavily armed police and police dogs that seemed to be on every corner. We were in a very nice area and I felt safe, but not something you are used to coming from America. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then met up with the group for our tour of the city.

    I was in the group that went to the presidential palace first, which worked out nicely as the other group got heavily rained on. We walked the square and our tour guide pointed out the Supreme Court, which was in a newer building because m19 (and Pablo Escobar) had laid siege to and destroyed much of the building in the 80s (saw it on Narcos!). The tour of the presidential palace was great, lots of historic artwork and architecture. I was surprised at how young the military tour guide was, I believe it’s a requirement after high school to serve. He was knowledgeable and told us the meaning of the colors on the Colombian flag: yellow for the gold, blue for the oceans, red for the revolutionary blood spilled.

    Next we headed to Montserrat, a beautiful church overlooking the city of Bogota. It really drove home the importance of religion to the Colombian culture. After some walking through the college area of the city and seeing some awesome graffiti, we headed home on the bus. Traffic! Made Austin seem bareable. Lots of motorcycles zooming inbetween the cars.

    We had dinner at Andres Carnes de Res. The food was yummy, though fairly simple grilled meats. I also had a taste of the sweet nectar that is aguadiente (not sweet, licorice flavored). Had a great time chatting with my classmates and a few of use had some cervezas until about midnight when we decided to call it a night. Successful first day.

  8. Ashley C Tisdale Says:

    Day 1 in Bogota showed me how unprepared I was for the weather in Colombia regarding the sporadic rainfall. My first experience occurred right after we saw the Monserrate. Luckily, I have great classmates who shared their umbrellas and even offer me a poncho. I enjoyed going to the Botero Gallery and looking at the amazing paintings including one of my favorites, Naranjas. In the plaza on the way to the President’s house, it surprised me how comfortable people were with the many pigeons in the vicinity. Some people even allowed the pigeons to land on them which was an activity I have never seen in the States. Because entrance into the Palace is very restrictive, I’m really glad we had the opportunity to explore it. The palace was so well protected that as we walked to the palace, a guard told me I could not walk on the sidewalk in front of it but remain in the center of the street. I enjoyed viewing the hallway of past presidents and the antique furniture. At the end of the night, Andres was very festive and the food was great.

  9. Curtis Davis Says:

    Looking back, the first day in Bogota was one of the best days of the trip. Although it was long, we got to see a lot of great, unique sights. The Monserrate cable cars were really cool and so was the church on top of the mountain. I really enjoyed walking around La Candelaria and observing the architecture and old buildings. Visiting the Presidential Palace was a very memorable experience and it was cool to compare it the White House tours I went on in DC.

  10. Jessica Jozwiak Says:

    I loved our first day exploring Bogota, it was important to me to learn some of the history of the city from Veronica, such as M19 sieging the Palace of Justice on behalf of Escobar in the 80s. All of the tour guides asked me my impressions of Colombia and I was thankful for our class discussions beforehand, because other than that, everything I knew was from Narcos or following soccer as a child (of course these two are related). The graffiti opposing Colombian’s current President Santos was prevalent and made me feel tense being right in the heart of the National Palace.

  11. David H Chung Says:

    Since I also had an experience in the mandatory military in my home country, it looked familiar to see the soldier who was guiding us at the presidential residence, guarding soldiers, and officers walking around the residential building. On the hill of the Monserrate, I could feel how big the city of Bogota is. Walking through Chorro de Quevedo, I could take some of the most memorable pictures in Colombia. I enjoyed watching massive crowd walking on the street, and could feel how big the city of Bogota is.

  12. carlisland Says:

    Tourist Wham Bam day. We saw the sights and we did that damn thing. From the presidential palace to the Monserrate, I felt like I got the 24 hours exhaustive Bogota tour.

    Some take aways:

    Mandatory Military service is a funny, funny thing.
    While in the US we are used to grizzly faced Marines, the Colombian military seemed primarily composed of baby faced boys and girls with semi-automattic weapons.

    Biodiversity on fleek.
    I have never seen such a variety of birds in an urban area. Even the pigeons were interesting. I saw red pigeons, green pigeons and the garden variety grey’s we are used to in the US.

  13. Kent Kronenberg Says:

    The first full day in Bogota with the group gave us a nice whirlwind of view of the city. The rain throughout portions of the day added a certain welcomed mystery to the city as we viewed it from the top of Monserrate. It sure as heck wasn’t able to scare the legions of pigeons that were waiting in the square outside of the Parliament.

    We got some great information from our guides about the history of Colombia and Bogota and the political movements against the Spaniards and more recent regimes. “It all started with a vase…” is the story of Colombian independence, but that is indeed a tale for another day.

    Botero’s museum was fantastic and while I had seen some of his works in Europe, seeing a full slate of them put into perspective his virtuosity and creativity.

    The tour of the palace by seemingly 15 year old Santiago (a young man in great spirits who I felt represented a lot of hope for his country) was interesting and less formal than I would have expected.

    Ending our tour with a walk around La Candelaria was especially cool. Bogota has the best graffiti of any city I’ve seen.

  14. Bryan Benson Says:

    My main takeaways all revolved around the presidential palace visit. First, I was surprised to see all the graffiti outside the congressional hall calling for the removal of the president. I had no idea there was such a sour sentiment towards the political leadership in country. Another interesting thing I learned was about the required military service for young men in Colombia. There were dozens of teen-aged boys parading around the palace and I couldn’t help but think how different that construct was to the United States.

    The Botero museum was great but we had to take it at a run. I was impressed with the amount of other high-profile artists on display within the museum.

  15. Yeony Bae Says:

    I really liked the last part of the walking tour. We walked through very ‘hip’ place (one of the oldest street) where a lot of young people hang out, shop, dance, and draw some graffiti on wall. The place made a good comparison with the palace we visited earlier. While the palace was well controlled, quite, maybe too clean, the old street was full of energy, colorful, and so diverse. It made me think about the colorfulness of Colombian culture and how it should be kind of ‘arranged’ to bring it into main part of the city or to attract more tourists. In my personal opinion, cleaning out all graffiti and having soldiers on street is not a good option.

  16. Krista Fischer Says:

    The view from Monserrate! THIS is Bogota! And, THIS is rain. The size of the city, even on this cloudy day, was impressive. We were also able to tour the President’s Residence guided by a young member of the military. In Colombia, a national military service of 12-18 months is required of their young people. In my work relationships, I have interacted with many people from Israel and traveled throughout Israel which also require national service, so it was interesting to see this young man’s job as a tour guide while serving.

    Our opening dinner at Andrés was the first time we donned a paper bib on this trip. What made this confusing was I ordered…steak. Well, alright, bring on the bib. I have worn a plastic bib for a lobster or crab boil, but never for a steak dinner. Our meat and potatoes came out on a sizzling platter much like fajitas would in the U.S., but hotter. After we enjoyed our meal, Brittany Rogers looked down at her bib and pointed to the tiny grease spots from the meat on the sizzling platter splattered down the front of the bib. We all replied with a knowing, “Ooooooohhhh.” Way to be, Colombia. The next time I order fajitas, I will not help but think that I need a bib.

  17. Ivo Fink Says:

    Our first day started with a visit of the Presidential Palace and surrounding areas. We ha a guide who was super motivated and proud to show us around and share insights about his country with us. After that we took the cable car to visit Montserrate, which provided us with a breathtaking view across the city. Unfortunately, the weather was rainy that day, which meant that we could only see a small part of Bogotá; nevertheless, we got a good impression for the sheer size of Colombia`s capital city with its population of around 8mn people. Climbing up the last few stairs to the church on top of the hill made me aware of the elevation of more than 3,000 metres above see level – the highest point on earth I have visited in my life so far.
    Other highlights of the day included a short visit to the Botero Museum, a walk to Chorro de Quevedo as well as my first cup of Colombian coffee in Bogotá! In the evening we had our opening reception at Andres Carne de Res, which turned out as a typical Colombian experience with live music and great food – the fresh fruit juices were delicious!!!

  18. Elizabeth Sickler Says:

    I really enjoyed the fact that we had a cultural tour on our first day in the country. The biggest impression that I had of the country, starting on that first day and continuing the whole trip, was how much they value art. We had time touring the Botero museum, which included many of his famous works, but also the works from his private collection from other artists. The “art” tour continued during the tour of Presidecial Residence, where we saw many murals, Asian vases, and ornate rugs. The end of the day cumulated in a tour of the graffiti walk. I was struck with how art was the common theme between the museum, palace, and alleyway. This exposure for art would continue throughout the trip.

    The dinner was amazing! I especially loved the cheese, little would I see that cheese is a staple for all Colombian vegetarian food☺

  19. Ibk Ol Says:

    Looking back on the trip, this was one of my favorite days. Viewing Bogota at night was great, but during the day time, it was gorgeous. The Presidential tour was amazing, and this was our first foray into the level of security at Colombian companies and places. I feel like the buildings are more secure than the airport. We learnt a lot from Beronica, had a great tour of Monserrat and the altitude sickness finally hit me as I attempted to run up those stairs. The last days in Bogota had a bit of a negative lens but thinking about how awesome this day was despite the traffic reminds me of why I fell in love with Colombia the minute I landed.

  20. Anna Knyazhitskaya Says:

    The Presidential Palace was the clear highlight of the day for me. Less of a residence and more of an art museum, the palace is the home to some of Colombia’s greatest treasures. From Ming vases to large-scale murals, there are plenty of artifacts to explore but it feels more like a collection of European memorabilia rather than Latin American memorabilia. The palace and the surrounding buildings are a clear reminder of Colombia’s colonial past and Spanish influence.

  21. Kavita Rangaswamy Says:

    I appreciated being able to tour the city a bit on the first day, rather than going straight into company visits. The cable car ride up to Monserrate was stunning and left me breathless (literally). The altitude was no joke! My favorite part of the day was walking through the graffiti streets of Chorro de Quevedo. The murals were beautiful and I enjoyed attempting to translate some of the text to understand the meaning behind the images.

  22. Adriana Penalba Says:

    I am so upset that I missed this day! I love seeing a city, and the cable car ride sounds like it was really beautiful. Instead, I woke up at 4am and drove to the passport agency in Houston, where I waited in line for 2 hours to apply for a new passport. Then I wandered Houston for another few hours before returning to the agency and waiting another 2 hours for my new passport. Then I went back to Austin exhausted but excited to finally travel to Colombia. The only positive is that I was able to take a couple of outfits out of my luggage, so I could have more room for souvenirs.

  23. Victor Okocha Says:

    Day one was one of my favorite days in Bogota. The visit to the Monserrate was great because it provide an amazing view of the city. This was the first time really noticing the massive size of the city. I also enjoyed the walk to Chorro de Quevedo and seeing all of the street art along the way. In fact, the street art was my favorite part about my visit to Bogota. Every time we were on the bus driving between locations, it was almost like watching a mini art show just by looking out of the window.

  24. David F. Says:

    My key takeaways from our time in Bogota was that I believe I gained a much better understanding of how much culture there was in the city. Prior to the first day, I spent some time researching where the hot spots were to visit and see some cool art and architecture. The weather was exactly how I expected. The city, however, was covered in art. Aside from the museums and tourist locations, the street sides had some of the most interesting and beautiful graffiti I had ever witnessed. My favorite spot of the day was the Botero museum. Seeing, not only his art, but his collection, was a delight!

  25. stephanielmoten Says:

    Today we went to the presidential palace and did a short walking tour around the city. It was interesting to see all of the historical artifacts and gifts from Colombia’s allies at the presidential palace. The artwork and chandeliers were also beautiful. I found the country to be more developed than what people in the US might typically think of when they picture Colombia.

  26. mikeramirezblog Says:

    Today was the first official day in Bogota. We met our tour guides and the weather was not really cooperating as it was raining (truth is I love the rain so for me it was bliss). The group that I was with went up Monserrate first. Going up the Monserrate was amazing. The high altitude was something that I was surprised about, well how it made me feel. This was the day that my cough started acting-up which will eventually lead to me going to the hospital, luckily we have an amazing staff from UT that helped me along the way. The view was amazing going up but on the way down the rain quickly caused it to be a little cloudy. From there we headed to the President’s house this was one of my favorite parts of the tour. I met a soldier there named Eduardo and he shared with me about his service and although he was only a young teenager he was very committed to looking sharp and maintaining his professional appearance. I learned that his service would only last less than two years and that the job he was lucky to get there at the President’s house is pretty hard to get. I also learned that the president’s of Colombia basically get to decide what type of painting they want for the country to keep which was interesting because some of the paintings were water paintings and others were what we in the U.S. would think when we think of an official painting of the president. I also learned today that juice is a very big deal in Colombia as the restaurant we went to had so many juices to offer and it looked as if most people sitting around us were partaking in some sort of juice drink – Mango becomes my favorite on this day!

  27. Paolo Boero Says:

    The first day was one of my favorite days in Bogota. we got to check off a lot of touristy things like the botero museum, and cielo de monserrate, president’s house etc. Going into the president’s house we got a taste of the security measures we would encounter for the rest of the trip. Traveling up to Monserrate was amazing, I remember really feeling the altitude as I walked around and wanting to capture the amazing view of the city but my i-phone camera did not do any justice. Dinner at Andres was a good time, the juice drinks were served in bowls which was pretty interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: