We’ve had 4 full days in Bogota and have seen a huge amount of the city. It is big – about 613 square miles – 4 times the size of Seattle with 13 times as many people. It seems even bigger than that.
We’ve been staying in the Macarena neighborhood, about 15 blocks from the the original colonial neighborhood, Candelaria. Our friend, Manu, has graciously let us stay with him in his place located in the Torres del Parque, a 1970’s era brick tower designed by Rogelio Salmona, an apprentice of Le Corbusier. The building circles the now moth-balled Santamaria bullring.
Many of the buildings in Bogota, including this one, are built in brick. I think at times I’m in Boston. The original center of the city has a combination of bohemian neighborhoods, governmental and civic buildings, universities and some grit. As we traveled north there are a series of neighborhoods with new office buildings, high-end housing and shopping centers. Each neighborhood with its own character. It seemed to us like a series of edge cities strung together. Traffic is a huge problem. Bogota completed a fast bus service system, TransMilenio, within the last 10 years, but it is already well over capacity.
Thanks to the incredible hospitality of Carlos, his family and Manu, we’ve gotten to know the city.
Thursday, we went on the Bogota Graffiti Tour. Our guide, Ray, is Columbian but was raised in the U.S. before recently moving back to Bogota. The city has embraced quality street art. There is still a big problem with tagging, but the artist’s work is largely respected and not tagged.
We are off to Zona Cafetera for about 6 days. We plan on enjoying the countryside and see how coffee is grown.