Check out my guest post about traveling in Bogotá, Colombia from budget to splurge on Backpack South America a new travel blog that is:
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Bogotá knows how to eat. From empanadas, ceviche and chocolate with cheese to every type of world cuisine can be found in this city. Our last day in Bogotá we went on an eating spree. Before touring around the colonial barrio of La Candelaria again we headed to famous La Puerta Falsa, Bogotá’s oldest running restaurant (1816). They never opened so we to La Puerta de la Tradición next door and had one of the most iconic Bogotano snack: chocolate santafereño (or chocolate completo). Piping hot hot chocolate with a chunk of white cheese to drown in the chocolate and served with buttered toast. This is a must try food for Bogotá. May sound weird but the sweet chocolate and mild cheese work well together. Trust me.
Check it out the Tastemade video I made of the yummy chocolate with cheese —> https://www.tastemade.com/v/oz_AxhfVQVOxLmLUNaPHIg
More beautiful sights in La Candelaria:
For lunch we went to the Zona Rosa neighborhood in the northern part of Bogotá which is chock full of bars and restaurants (and great shopping). Wanting to take advantage of the weather we looked for a patio and found Restaurante 1492. Feels good to sit outside on Christmas Day. Everything here is fresh, fresh, fresh! Continue reading
Christmas is usually celebrated on Christmas Eve in Colombia. It is recognized by many that Jesus was born at midnight so families go out to dinner or gather with family in the evening and start toasting (Christmas, birth of Jesus) around 11pm.
We started our Christmas celebration in the afternoon at my birth family’s house. Traffic in Bogotá is notoriously bad and Christmas Eve is no exception. It took us over an hour to get there but we had fun people watching and checking out the activity on the street along the way.
One of the Colombian dishes I have been wanting to try is ajiaco. It’s a thick soup that involves some of my favorite foods: potatoes (3 types of Andean), chicken, sour cream, avocado and a corn called Cuzco. The soup is also made with a herb called guascas. Colombian comfort food at its finest and homemade at that. Continue reading
Bogotá has its own set of rules. Figuring out these rules is part of the adventure when traveling. Bogotá can make you feel like you have to earn your place but there is a sense of mutual respect once you prove you can mange it. It is then you can concentrate on the magic that is discovered on the side streets and in the faces of the Bogotanos.
If you let the chaos get in your way you miss the beauty. Traffic is bad, like takes 2 hours to get across town in rush hour bad. And let’s not talk about the pollution. But Continue reading
¿De dónde eres?
This has always been an interesting question for me, where am I from? I suppose the answer depends on who is asking the question and where it is being asked.
Located at almost 9,000 feet in the Andes Mountains Bogotá is the beautiful, thriving, immense, pulsating city of my birth. The temperate climate (think San Francisco) keeps everything green for its 8 million people. Bogotá is a city in transition and with that comes the stark contrasts of old and new, money and poverty. The staggering beauty of the Andes surrounds new skyscrapers and the colonial cobblestone streets of Candelaria.
Adrenaline pumped through my veins upon seeing Bogotá, although I have been here before. But really this is my first time. I left when I was a month old so I don’t remember the sights, sounds and smells that make Bogotá distinct.
Despite the raised eyebrow when I let them know I do not have a Colombian passport at immigration it was a speedy entry into the sparkling international terminal. Our luggage passed the sniff test of the drug/bomb? dog and we jumped into an old taxi. The slight neck movement and faint eyebrow frown that I have come to expect from people in Latin American countries when they hear my American accented Spanish was made by the driver. Sorry to catch you off guard but there is a reason I speak like this. I love the first glimpses of the scenery from the airport ride, like the previews to a movie. Only this time I felt myself straining to see something familiar to prove I am from here.
I should take a minute to explain that this isn’t my typical trip or vacation. These four days are a journey. A journey back to my birth country to meet my birth family. I was adopted and came to the US as a baby. I started a search last year for my birth family. I decided to buy a ticket to Bogotá before I had news of my family as I wanted to see the city I was born in and where I am from regardless of if my family was found or if they wanted to see me (of course I wanted to be accepted by them but in these situations you have to be prepared for anything). The day after I bought my ticket I got the call they had been found.
So there I was in my city, ready to meet my flesh and blood. It is impossible to communicate the feeling of how surreal and impossible this moment in time was for me. It was truly awesome in the sense this word is supposed to be used.
This is a still from a video of me moments before meeting my family for the first time. Smile on my face and clenched fists…fear and wonder…
Soy de Bogotá. It feels good to be home.