8th June 2013 - have been up and down most of the night feeling sick so that isn't great. Decided to walk over to the gold museum. Only got a little lost but thanks to google maps, that I can now use again thanks to Internet. Was able to hire an audio guide in English and spent the next couple of hours looking around the amazing collection of Pre Colombian gold. It showed thousands of different gold pieces from the different regions around Columbia. You could see how the techniques developed from hammering the gold into sheets and plates to using mould that had been made from bees wax to create Identical beads and figures. The metals smiths then started using a mixture of gold, tin and silver to created different colours and strength of materials. The details in some of the figures was incredible. One of the rooms is a giant vault that houses so much precious gold you have to walk into a safe to look at it. The staff there gave me a great map of the old town but I walked back to the hostel to grab a jacket and head up into the hills behind bogota. Walking around you can notice the class difference that hadn't been as obvious in Cuba, where thanks to the government providing everyone with free eduction, food ratios and some sort of housing there was little homeless people and not a lot of beggars. But walking around bogota you can notice there are a large number of homeless people and we have been told not to walk more than a couple blocks past the old town tourists map as it is an unsafe area. There are a lot of police around. This could be also due to the compulsory police/ military service that has to completed for a year after high school.
Once I had my jacket and had looked up about monserrate I set off walking towards the cable car to catch it up the mountain. Caught the follicular train up to the top. It was maybe a 5 minute ride but we rose to over 3500 meter. My ears popped on the way up and when walking around the lookout and church at the top I could start to feel the affects of the altitude. Was out of breath really easy and my heart was beating pretty fast. It provided for great views out over the city and you could really get a sense of how the city developed outwards from the foothills of the mountains. Caught the cable car back down and then walked back along to the hostel for a rest, between feeling unwell and the altitude need to take an afternoon nap.
Headed out for a walk around the old city centre. It is sat afternoon so they have closed off a couple of streets and there are a couple of different street performers, artists and lots of different little carts selling a variety of snack and toys. Started at the cathedral Primada and had a quick look inside this 17th century church. Across the plaza de bolivar can see the capitolio Nacional. From here is seems like the police for this part of the city are deployed. On most of the street corners there are police stationed and I guess they have to be rotated. Walked towards the palacio de narino. This is a heavily guarded area and bags were checked when walking in the street next to it. Walked around the outside grounds and then back along to the the plaza de bolivar. It is sad to see the large amount of graffiti that is on all the buildings and monuments. The cathedral looks like it was attacked with paint balls. Stopped at the supermarket for a couple supplies, there was Milo, haven't seem that since leaving aus, and then back to the hostel for a quiet evening. Have to try and work out about traveling onwards on Monday.