Nice sunrise near Organyà, Spain.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Montblanc, Spain.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading south west in Spain towards Gibraltar.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Interesting day exploring Bogota, Colombia

We've booked in for yet another couple of nights at the Explora Hostel in Bogota. It's a little pricey at 75,000 pesos ($33.75 CAD) per night, but the room is decent,we have a private bathroom, it's quiet at night, and it's well located in the downtown area.

We had breakfast at the hostel. For 4,000 pesos ($1.80 CAD) you get coffee or hot chocolate, a little bowl of fruit, two eggs, bread, butter, and jam. For 1,000 pesos ($0.45 CAD) more, we substitute a corn arepa for the bread.

We left the hostel around 10:00am yesterday with a list of nearby places that we wanted to visit.

The La Candelaria neighborhood where we are staying.

Neat looking church. Hard to get the whole thing into a photo!

We wandered back down to Simon Bolivar Plaza on our way towards Bogota's famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum). Lots of people out and about and feeding the pigeons. You can see that it was a cloudy day, and we did get a couple of rain drops, but it cleared a bit in the afternoon. Daytime high temperature is about 20C (68F) which we are finding very comfortable!

The Palace of Justice building (1989).

The Bogota Cathedral (1823).

This guy was begging outside the door of the cathedral. We saw several people give him money in the short time we watched. I bet he does okay!

Big Christmas decoration in the square.

On our way towards the gold museum, we noticed these Colombian military guys on the street, and then a sign for the Colombia Military Museum. At the entrance, it said that admission was free, so we figured we may as well have a look. Glad we did, as it was quite interesting.

I asked these two if I could take their photo. They straightened right up with military precision!

Colombia Military Museum.

The Korea Room.

Interesting that Colombia was part of the U.N. effort in South Korea. The country sent more than 4,000 men to fight in South Korea between 1951 and 1954. 141 of them never returned home.

Wouldn't want this guy's job clearing land mines. 

Colombia is one of the heaviest land mined countries in the world. There have been 208 land mine victims in 2015 alone, and clearing efforts are ongoing. 

One of the display rooms.

Kevin, and one of the decommissioned choppers.

Back on the street. Who needs a storefront?? This guy sells Herpos (a type of cracker/cookie) for 1,000 pesos ($0.45 CAD).

We made it to the Fernando Botero Museum, but it is closed on Tuesdays! Oh well...we will go back there today now that we've decided to stay in Bogota a couple more days. Across the street from the Botero Museum is the big public library. We went in there to go to the fifth floor to get a view of downtown.

Downtown Bogota. 

We entered Bogota's Museo del Oro at 12:45pm. The world famous Gold Museum in Bogota.

The Bogota Gold Museum contains over 55,000 pieces of pre-Colombia gold artifacts...the largest collection in the world. There are only 6,000 of those pieces on display at any given time.

It costs only 3,000 pesos ($1.35 CAD) to enter the museum, and it is totally free on Sundays.

Of course there are far too many pictures to show them all to you, but on the assumption that most of you will never make it here in person, we've picked out some of the more interesting ones to show you...

This gold helmet was made around 2,500 years ago. The placard said that it would have taken a great amount of skill to hammer out this design using the rudimentary tools available back then.

This one is about 4" tall.

About 3" tall. The detail is absolutely amazing.

Yep, its a busy place...and rightly so! You don't come to Bogota and not visit the gold museum.

An ear ring.

This guy is missing some parts.

Two identical nose rings.

If you click on the photos, it makes them full size on you computer screen. Check out the detail in these figures, about 2" tall.

A funeral mask.

I'm not sure of the purpose of these pins, but they are between 6" and 8" long. The figures at the top of each pin are only about an inch tall!

Again, the detail is amazing. Is the one on the right a martian? We think so...

This piece is called "The Muisca Raft". 

The Muisca Raft measures about 8" by 4". It was found by three farmers in a cave in 1969. It contains about 8 ounces of pure gold...worth about $9,600 in gold content alone...but obviously priceless. They think it was made somewhere around 600 AD.

We spent just over two hours in the gold museum. Really well done, and certainly worth a visit in our opinion.

We had a nice early dinner at a restaurant that serves traditional Colombian food. 

We each had a huge bowl of Ajiaco...a chicken soup/stew with a side of rice and avocado. Really filling meal. Perhaps a little overpriced at 18,000 pesos ($8.10 CAD), but it was a good meal and we were in the tourist area. Total bill was 45,000 pesos ($20.25 CAD) including a beer and a glass of wine. Even an expensive meal is cheap!

Not sure what's on the agenda for today, but we are going to the Fernando Botero Museum for sure. Tomorrow, we'd like to do a day trip to a waterfall that includes about a 2 hour hike so we'll see if the skin on my ankles has healed enough by then. Yes, the medication is working...the itching is pretty much gone and the skin is looking much better. It's going to take a week or two to heal completely I'm sure, but it's the best I've felt in over two weeks...things are looking up!

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  1. I like the church with stripes - kind of a fun look. I'm really going to have to try one of those arepas one of these days. Glad the meds are working. Can't be much fun to have to deal with it while traveling. cheers - Ellen

    1. So did we but unfortunately there was nowhere to get a good shot of the whole building and it was closed at the time so we couldn't see the inside of it. I liked the arepas at the beginning of our trip but ever since I had that kidney infection and lost my appetite I really haven't enjoyed them as much. They seem too heavy and pasty now.

  2. The long pins are hair pins like the Chinese gishas wear. My daughter wears one when she puts up her long hair. Awesome pictures.

    1. I know that these pins may look like hair pins but they not. They are lime dippers or pins and are thought to have been used during rituals that involved eating coca leaves. I believe I also read on one of the placards that they were sometimes used for extracting pulp or seeds from certain fruits.

  3. So glad to hear you're feeling better, Kevin. When you went to the Gold Museum did they usher you into a darkened vault and then flick on the lights to display all of the gold artefacts? That's how they did it back in 1978 when we were there. Just curious.

    1. Yes...they did! I think the lighting and presentation has probably been modernized, but yes...that exhibit is still there.

  4. Just think, you and Ruth could have bought those cute his-and-her matching noserings for a mere 1,000,000,000 pesos ;)

    1. Just a little out of our price range, especially for little souviner trinkets! ;-)

  5. Funny you mentioned martians---when I first saw today's header pic, C3PO and Star Wars came to mind!

    1. Well maybe a combination of C3PO and R2D2!

  6. I have been eagerly awaiting your post on the Gold Museum to see what you thought. During my visit, I was mesmerized! The amount of detail in each piece was astounding. But one of the things I most appreciated was that most of the pieces were captioned in English, which made me feel so welcome. I enjoyed seeing the photos you chose to share. So glad to hear your skin is on the mend!

    1. It is quite the place that is for sure. We were totally amazed how these items were made way back when with only the most basic tools. Also that so many have been found in such relatively good condition. We highly recommend this museum to anyone that is visiting Bogota. Yes, it was certainly a nice touch to see the English placards.

      Kevin said this has been the best 24 hours that he has had in a while.

  7. What a treasure of great photos.You both are having a great life time adventure. One I probably wouldn't do, even at a younger age. I learned many things I was unaware of by reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Gary. We are really enjoying our time here in Colombia but once again we have found that we haven't given ourselves enough time. There is still so much to see and do that we just don't have the time for. I am happy that we are able to show you more about a country that not many people know about.

  8. Thanks for letting us follow along! Glad to hear your skin is clearing up

    1. We are happy to have you tagging along with us. Hopefully we will still have a few more adventures to take you on before we leave. :-)

      Kevin is also very happy to see some improvement.

  9. Thank you for another terrific insight ...your pics are very clear...glad news re your rash. Have a great day..cheers

    1. So glad you enjoyed our post and pictures Leslie.

      Kevin seems to be doing much better, we are hoping that it keeps continuing this way.

  10. It has been great to follow and get a history and geography lesson all,at the same time, you said Columbia is one of the heaviest mined countries with 208 deaths in 2015 alone, did it give reasons it is so heavily mined. I don't want to jump to any conclusions.

    1. Ah...I said there were 208 land mind victims...not necessarily deaths.

      Colombia has endured 50 years of civil war. The land mines were planted by the left wing guerrilla group FARC.

      Here's a fairly recent story that explains...

  11. I would like to go to the gold museum and pick up my free sample! (hahaha) I read how much you pay for food and lodging, taxis and such, and it's still incredibly cheap, as in really reasonable, esp compared to US and CN prices. Amazing.

    1. I shucks, you mean they gave out free samples?! We must have missed that! ;-)

      Yes, for the most part, costs are quite cheap, especially compared to prices at home. We find lunch to be the best value above everything else. We try to have our lunch late, between 3 and 4pm and then we get soup, our plate of food and juice for about $3 each and that will do us for the rest of the day, sometimes having a small snack of peanuts in the evening.


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