Exploring Bogotá (Part 2 of 2)
On our second day in Bogotá, we headed back to La Candelaria for the famous gold museum. Phil was a bit skeptical but I had read it was a must-see so I dragged him along. I have to say, Phil was right and we were both underwhelmed. Yes, you will see A LOT of gold! And if you are interested in metallurgy then this is the place for you! But for us newbs, it was an overwhelming amount of really old gold and we weren’t sure where to focus. I’m glad we went but I would suggest if you ever decide to visit to go for the audio tour because I think it would help put everything in more context.
After the gold museum, we grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to a nearby park where the street art (aka graffiti) tour met. We got there a bit early so we played with our frisbee (FINALLY - after yesterday’s fail) in the plaza. Our guide was super informative and shared tons of general information about the art of graffiti as well as much more specific info on each artist and work of art that we viewed. While not a street artist himself, he has been doing this tours for years and knows the artists of each work we viewed personally. The tour was an amazing way to learn more about the history of graffiti and Colombia!
While some works are simply beautiful, most graffiti is expressing some form of protest. For example, the photo below shows a caricature of a past president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, with the words “estado asesino falsos positivos” (state assassin false positives). This refers to horrific murders where the Colombian Army kidnapped innocent civilians, dressed them as guerrilla fighters and killed them in order to make the army look more successful in its war against the guerrillas (which was funded by none other than the United States). While the true number is unknown, it has been estimated that between 3,000 and 10,000 innocent civilians were murdered. Though this would be a terrible tragedy regardless of timing, it was even more unbelievable to find out that these killings occurred between 2002 and 2010! You can read more about it on Wikipedia and in the New York Times. While obviously not the most uplifting topic to learn about, I’m glad that the guide taught us about this piece of very recent Colombian (and American) history.
Despite really enjoying the tour, we ducked a bit early because it started to rain. We decided we wanted to enjoy a drink at home so we made a quick pit stop at a grocery store to buy some fresh juice (it’s SO cheap and SO delicious), sparkling water (don’t want the drinks to be too sweet) and the local liquor that we saw everywhere, Aguardiente Antiqueño. We returned home happy with our day of sightseeing and ready to kick back with a tropical drink. We thought aguardiente was a dry, flavorless alcohol (similar to vodka) made from sugarcane but… we. were. wrong. It is anise (aka black licorice aka the worst EVER) flavored! Luckily the small bottle we bought cost less than $5 USD.
We still had delicious fresh juice that was begging to be mixed with booze so we ventured out again to a mini-market just outside our apartment and this time we bought a Colombian-made rum that comes in (I kid you not) A JUICE BOX! Finally with a liquor that didn’t taste like death, we were able to make a delicious cocktail of rum, fresh squeezed juice and sparkling water.
After two days of intense sightseeing, we were ready for a quick and easy dinner so we stuck with what we knew and went back to El Mono Bandido. We had an early wake up the next day to head to the airport so we called it an early night after dinner and went to bed.