Bogota · Candelaria · Colombia · Graffiti Tour · Sant Just Gastronomia · South America · Teaching English · Travel

Graffiti Tour

Well, after hearing and reading about how amazing the graffiti tour here in Bogota is, we finally went! A friend had come to town and it was the only time we could meet up, as they only had two days here and the tour was on their list.  My friend who had just left went on the tour and I oohed and aahed over her photos, so I was looking forward to it.  Plus it was something that I could do with the kids that they would enjoy too.

We all enjoyed it a lot. Some of the graffiti here is absolutely amazing and the stories and history that the guard gave were interesting and informative.  The tour starts in Parque de Periodistas (Journalist’s Park) just south of 19th street and winds through Candelaria, going to the heart of where Bogota was formed.  The walk itself is interesting and beautiful and lasts about 2 1/2 hours. The pace is good and the tour is free, accepting donations to continue what they are doing.

Here are some of my favorite artworks:

Political GrafittiTrue LoveWall artWoman - graffitibirds graffiti

After the tour, we went for lunch at this cute little French restaurant that the guide recommended to us. It was included in the tour as the outside had an amazing lion painted next to the door.

Sant Just Gastronomia

The food was delicious, not terribly expensive and the service was excellent.  They speak, French, Spanish and English.  It was called Sant just Gastronomia in Candelaria.  We sat and talked and relaxed for a couple of hours comfortably without being rushed.

I then took the kids home walking to the bus stop along Septima.  It was a good day and the kids had a blast hanging out with our friend and enjoying the company, going around Candelaria on the graffiti and watching the buskers along Septima.

Bogota · Candelaria · Canton Norte · Colombia · South America · Teaching English · Travel

Restaurante el Catedral

Today is an exam day for the soldiers, so there was not a lesson to prepare. I did prepare the quiz that they took over the last lesson to take before the exam. It was good to be in class and the soldiers are nice and have a great sense of humor. I like them.  This was my first real work since being here.

I talked with Angela about why exactly I was there at the base. I think it went well. She was nice and more inclusive and I felt good about the day.  As I have found to be the case, there is little communication and she had no idea why I was there, so it is possible that she felt threatened by me and this is why she was distant.  I went over what the organization I came through was and what they hired us to do and that I was there to teach English and the military was not paying me and I was not there to take her job or threaten her job in any way.  She seemed receptive and hopefully we’ll have a better relationship and she will be more inclusive.

After work I went to the downtown area in the afternoon in Candelaria as I needed to get something for Norbert to take back to Jenny and Robbie. I went to the area by the Museo del Oro as that is very touristy and there are a lot of souvenir shops to choose from. The traffic was awful and I hate shopping, but I do love Jenny, so off I went! I asked the cab driver for a good restaurant and he brought me to this touristy area where they had restaurants geared to tourists, so expensive. It was definitely not what I was looking for, so even though I was super hungry, I walked away and back to the museum hoping to find something more to my liking and price budget.

I found this little place up some stairs and way in the back of a building called, ‘Restaurante el Cathedral’.   They had a sign hung out in the front featuring the ‘Menu del dia’ and it sounded good – so I went off to find this restaurant.  The owners were this tiny, cute little couple who welcomed me and warned me to be careful of where I put my bag – they even brought me this chair to put it on. They told me what the plato del dia was, but all they had left was chicken, so they made me another amazing plate! They brought me some fruit juice, Sancocho soup ‘ vegetarian!´, a fried egg, rice, veggies, plantains, and salad ‘ it was so very amazing!! It was all only 11,000 COP! It was the best soup I have ever had in my life! It has plantains and vegetables in it and lots of cilantro.  I’m going to have to try to make it on my own.  I asked them for the recipe, but they wouldn’t give it to me!  The negative thing – they are only open Monday, Friday and Saturday. They also told me that they rotate the soups, so I won’t necessarily ever get to eat that soup again.  I’m definitely going to have to try though.

I left in a much better mood – but it soon soured as I had to go shopping and pick something out – and as much as I hate shopping, I hate it even more when I am being accosted the whole time!! But… eventually I found them something that I am pretty sure they will love.

I made it home eventually very tired and grouchy AND Norbert leaves tomorrow.

Bogota · Candelaria · Colombia · Merlin's Cafe · South America · Teaching English · Travel

Merlin’s Cafe

We didn’t get much sleep and it was really hard to sleep in – the flat is very light and so I have been waking up much earlier than I used to. It was really nice to wake up with Norbert here! The poor guy had to wake early for work and I tried to sleep in – but – it was hard.

I have not yet been to Candelaria. People here tell you that it is a dangerous area – but then they tend to say that about a lot of areas. I have heard many things from people about how dangerous things are here. So far I have not found that to be true. So far I have felt safe and secure here.  I do take care not to take out my phone in crowded places, and to hang on to my bag with two hands, but I take those precautions in big cities around the world when I travel.  I don’t want to tempt fate and say I feel totally safe, because of course, anything can happen. I do know about other fellows who have had things stolen and have been robbed from. I don’t want to be one of those people!!

Now that Norbert is here to go with me, it is the perfect time to explore Candelaria! It is about two miles from our flat, so we walked down there and enjoyed seeing everything.

We found a little tapas bar that was selling a wine that was affiliated with Arsenal. Norbert LOVES Arsenal – so of course we stopped! They were having a promotion for the wine and giving away Arsenal items with purchases. We had some wine and scotch with olives while chatting. It was nice and relaxing.

There were a lot of street performers and Norbert really enjoyed them. He loves that sort of thing.   The people dancing, painting and singing were entertaining. There was a painter who was really really good. He used spray paint and heat to make the most amazing art. It was actually very impressive.  He put on a great show as well by selling cheap tickets and then picking a winner to get the same amount of money he was selling his art for.  He said you could buy the print for $20,000 COP, or you could buy a ticket to win the print for $2,000 COP.  He had 10 people buy the tickets and then had a boy pull a number out – that person won the print.  It was rather ingenious of him – of course we had a go at it!

We continued walking around the area and made our way to an amazing restaurant called Merlin’s Café. There were dragons everywhere and the atmosphere was rustic and quaint. The food was delicious and affordable. We had grilled meat with mushrooms and a delicious salad. The smell of garlic was what drew us into the restaurant and we were not disappointed! The service was very good and they brought us an oregano basil bread with oil and vinegar to dip it into.  It was a great experience.  We left feeling refreshed and satisfied.  I can’t wait to go back!

What an amazing and perfect day. We made it home thoroughly exhausted!