As we approached Bogota from Vila Leya, the bus became busier with local Bogotan school girls and workers. Bogota is a very big city (8million) at 2600m altitude (3rd highest in S. America). The conductor advised us to get off ahead of the bus terminal if we wanted to go to the old town. Getting off at a v. busy junction where there were lots of shops seemed like a reasonable idea.. We were able to easily catch a taxi and to our pleasant surprise the taxi was willing to use the meter so we didnt' have to negotiate a price. However the journey went on and on.. the meter gradually increasing and we didnt' fully understand how much we would have to pay due to the meter using a points system rather than showing the full value of the journey. Nervously we looked at the surrounding grey and grim high buildings that surrounded us not wanting to just jump out of the taxi at any random point.
A long and expensive taxi ride later we arrived at our hotel, which we decided to pay a little more for given it was the last couple of days of our S American adventure. Although the hotel wasn't the luxary I was hoping for, it was still v. nice and we relaxed on the small roof terrace with a welcome beer.
Later that evening we went out to a jazz restaurant in La Candelaria district not far from our hotel. The walk to the restaurant felt like we were in the worst of soho district with raggae music bars, drunken beggars, graffiti'ed walls, small arty & alternative shops... we struggled to find the venue and were a little worried about what we would find inside but pleasantly surprised we found many suited professionals, a relaxed jazz atmosphere and good food!.. Tired from the travelling that day, we settled there for the evening.
Wed 11th May - last day in Bogota and in S America :( Strange feeling to be heading home after 4 months back-packing.. on the one hand we were looking forward to seeing friends and family and recovering our oh-so comfortable flat in London but 4 months was just not enough.. we'd had such a wonderful inspriing trip in S America that it seemed way to soon to be returning to the London rain and all the remaining wedding organisations and work that awaited us.
so we made the most of it.. up early.. lovely huge breakfast at la Casona.. best we've had with fresh fruit and proper granola and eggs and coffee and fresh juice and toast!.. Then took the tourist office up on their offer of a guided walking tour of the town.. Amongst the grey concrete towers we discovered pretty corners, beautiful colonial churches, an impresive Bolivar square and arts centre.
With only a Juan Valdez colombian coffe break we continued with some shopping, finding all our souvenirs and gifts to take back to london. Bogota is not as trendy as I was expecting and there's nowhere like Buenos Aires in S America for the little boutique shops but we made a good go..also stopping at a few jewellry shops as Colombia is renowned for their emeralds! Unfortunately we'd spent enough the last 4 months so I came back empty handed..