16.06.2017 - 25.06.2017 -16 °C
G1 has given me control of the blog for the day; this is an action she will surely regret.
We've done an excellent job at sampling Bogotá's food offerings so far. They had to move us to a bigger table to accommodate all our ordering at 14inkas, and while walking home, Cindy and I convinced the others that we just needed "one more drink" at the Bogotá Beer Company Bodega, which is conveniently around the corner from our Airbnb. The craft brewery is actually the second largest brewery in Colombia; what started as a $25,000 investment in 2002 has grown into a ~$50 million enterprise with nearly 30 locations.
Given our enthusiastic support of the food and beverage industry, we thought we should do something slightly active to ensure the pants we brought fit for the duration of our trip. Enter Cerra de Monserrate, a mountain in Bogotá that rises 3,152 m (10,341 feet) above sea level. At the top is the Monserrate Monastery, a religious site that dates back to the pre-Columbian era. Before the Spanish conquest, indigenous people considered the mountain sacred; it became a site for religious ceremony in the Colonial period of the 1600s and now it's a Catholic shrine / full tourist zone.
There are three ways to get up the mountain: a cable car, a funicular, or by hauling your ass up roughly 1,500 steps. We assumed this would be fine for four fairly active women. Unfortunately, we forgot about a fun element called elevation. Bogotá is at 2,644 m (8,675 feet) - Calgary is a mere 1,045 m. Turns out oxygen is important. Luckily full tourist zones have restaurants with wine, so we were highly motivated. Two bottles of wine and some authentic Colombian food later, we elected to take the cable car down.
Geri and I felt the need to learn something (DO ALL THE ACTIVITIES), so we hopped in an Uber and headed to the National Museum of Colombia (Museo Nacional de Colombia). We were hoping to learn get context for Colombia's history of violence; however, the museum is entirely in Spanish. So we just wandered around and looked at weird shit for an hour, and wondered what all the paintings of old white dudes meant.
After the museum fail, we decided to swing by the Andina Shopping Mall to pick up SIM cards for our phones, because Telus is terrible. Tragically, after we left, a bomb was detonated in the women's bathroom, killing three. We're fine, but it's a grim reminder of Colombia's violence. [Don't worry Mom, we are being smart.]
Last night's adventure was Andrés Carne de Res, which has gained near mythical status for anyone who has been to Bogotá. It's one of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America, for good reason:
Alice-in-Wonderland meets Moulin Rouge, Andrés Carne de Res is a mind-boggling trip of bright lights, theatrical service and colourful ceramic cows. A party place like no other, the dining room extends into an indoor and outdoor discotheque for late-night revellers … a must for any hedonist.
This outing was only made possible by Alejandra, Cindy's good friend from her TSX days and just a lovely human being in general. She took charge of ordering, because we were incapable. She's a woman after my own heart; immediately, a bottle of Absolut showed up and then rounds of food. Then more Absolut. Then crowns and sashes, identifying us as visitors. This was unnecessary, as it was very clear that the asses of Canadian women do not move like Colombian women. Luckily, we had enough liquid courage on board to enthusiastically hit the dance floor, to the amusement of pretty much everybody.
There are other photos and videos that will stay in the vault forever, but here's the non-incriminating taste of our evening.
Thank God for electrolytes and good Colombian coffee... We're heading out for a tour of Usaquen market, which should be slightly less hedonistic.