We had heard horror stories of people arriving at their hostels in La Candelaria, the old town, to be welcomed by unabashed locals from the Favelas ready to strip you of your belongings. It was pretty frightening when we arrived late at night in our taxi with one such local blocking the entrance to our hostel. Our wonderful taxi driver was clued on to what was going on and made us wait in the cab while he dealt with the local. The hostel appeared to be prepared for such situations too when they came out with a bag of goodies for the local who took it and disappeared into the night. We weren’t sure of how dangerous the local actually was, but, as the hostel said, “you just can’t take any chances”. The fun didn’t stop at the front door either, we walked into our dormitory a little too loud and quickly that we woke up our roommate, who, being on constant high alert due to a previous confrontation, pulled his knife out of the bed above ready for any intruder. Paranoid was an understatement but after the incident at the front door we could appreciate this fellows fear. He told us “always watch your back, and be prepared for anything.” Way to scare the newbies buddy! After this we were sure to remain on high alert wondering the streets of this sketchy city.
Friday afternoon is the most wonderful time to visit Bogotá as the high street Carrera 7 is taken over by bicycles, street vendors, performers and people! Yes, despite the holiday we managed to find some people! The Bogotanos came out to play for the afternoon. The usually bleak, graffiti worn, public square Plaza de Bolivar, with it’s Soviet style government buildings, became bursting with life as Bogotanos came cycling in from near and far to celebrate the imminent weekend. It was a vibrant and active atmosphere, which was such a contrast to the rest of our experience here.
Click here to see our Bogotá photos album.
Next stop we head into our last country for South America, Ecuador and visit the famous Andean Market village, Otavalo.