Although Acacías is a beautiful little town, staying in one place for too long leaves you itching to explore, which is why I took the chance to head to Bogota for the weekend. The first time I stayed in Bogota for just the night, I got very mixed feelings about the capital of Colombia. However, this time around, I had a much better experience. I traveled with two of the volunteers I had befriended at New Western, and we left very early Saturday morning. We arrived in Bogota at around noon, and then took a cab to our hostel in La Candelaria, which is in the old historical part of Bogota. The cobblestone streets and cute little houses reminded me of Europe, but that’s about where the similarities stopped. On the major streets there were people selling everything from homemade jewelry to fruit to used shoes, while the side streets were much quieter and very colorful. We stayed at Alegria’s Hostel Bogota, which was a cute little place, but it is mostly based outdoors, and I wasn’t ready for the cold in Bogota. After weeks of 90 degree weather in Acacías, the 60 degrees and rainy climate of Bogota was quite a shock, even for a Wisconsin native. I was underprepared in my sandals and jumpsuit, but I thankfully survived the weekend by ducking into various cafes every other street to warm up.
We had lunch at the cutest vegetarian restaurant on Saturday, and I got a vegetarian empanada that I had been dying to eat since I got to Colombia. We did some walking around La Candelaria, found the square, the palace, and some huge cathedrals. While we were walking, we came across a little shopping center that had about 20 tattoo parlors all lined up next to each other. It seemed like a sign, so I decided to finally get that conch piercing I had been wanting (sorry mom!). I promise the studio was clean and reputable, at least to Colombian standards.
For dinner, we trekked to a vegan restaurant and got some veggie burgers that my taste buds had been begging for (they were delicioso!).
On Sunday we had planned to take a cable car up the mountain to check out a historical church, however, the rain and fog diverted us. We ended up museum hopping, as entrance is free everywhere on Sundays, and spent a bit of time in the Gold Museum. We ate at the most interesting Colombian restaurant I’ve been to so far. It was huge on the inside, with no windows, but that fact was made up for by the design of the room so it felt like we were in the middle of a square. The walls were decorated to look like different store fronts, with incredible detail going into each one. The food was also splendid, and I had my first great Cappuccino (oh how I missed good coffee!). Colombia is the coffee country, but little Acacías is severely lacking in cafes.
We came across a festival going on in the middle of the square, full of people dressed head to toe in red, banners, balloons, and confetti. We couldn’t figure out what the celebration was actually for, but that didn’t stop us from joining in!
Eventually we had to catch a bus back to Acacías, and it was sad to leave Bogota after such a short time, but it felt good to go home. I can finally call Acacías my home, the people are like family, and I feel comfortable and happy here.