I have been rather fascinated with the possibility of traveling to Santafé de Bogotá. Like most people I have held back due to the reputations that the country of Colombia has received. The people themselves like to switch the c and l in Colombia and call themselves Locombia.
The country has had it moments but it is no different than other cities that I have on my agenda to visit in other parts of the world that require a bit of caution. Bogotá, Colombia is no exception but that should not be a reason to stay away. So I took the plunge and made the most exciting discovery.
I conducted my research and found some tips on being a bit precautious. Bogotá, Colombia is a rather large city of over eight million people. Being mugged is a possibility and most advised to keep from flashing jewelry. That includes any wedding band. I love to be such a fashionista but for the sake of this venture making it easy on myself I decided to leave some of my pride and joy at home.
I also made note of where to best use ATMs while in the country. Especially since it is advised to use ATMs in shopping malls, it was simple for me to remember since I made plans to do shop. Transportation was by Taxi. I made sure that when I needed a cab I called the company directly where the dispatcher gave me the license plate number and a security code. An additional precaution was to make sure that the doors could be opened by me from the inside should the need arise to get out in a hurry. Just a few extra precautions but nothing to hold me back from going.
I choose to fly Avianca. I heard a great deal about it as far as how nice they treat even in economy class. I was impressed on my flight as an economy class passenger when I received a hot towel to refresh myself right before being served my main course. I enjoyed my favorite beverages and was overall impressed.
Bogotá, Colombia is on the move. There are city buses on the go, cars and walking pedestrians. I noticed many wore suits, kind of gave me a feel of Chicago on the go. The mountains on the east made it easy to orient myself as they were visible from much of the city. I had an opportunity to view the city and saw that it spread for miles with a high rise buildings downtown.
I found the people of Bogotá to be quite friendly. When I arrived in the evening at El Dorado International Airport I head outside and a young girl came up to me asking if I needed to borrow her cell phone to call a taxi. I told her I had made arrangements and thanked her for her kind gesture. This really gave me peace of mind and helped break any stereotype that I had in my mind.
I had so much fun. I did some shopping; of course, I even ventured in their supermarket and found they had a tremendous variety. Watching the cars enter the gated parking areas was a bit eerie as dogs would sniff for possible bombs but I was glad they took extra caution. I went up Monserrate where I was able to view the city. I also enjoyed a delicious lunch. The Gold Museum was fascinating and the Botanical Garden quite beautiful.
The overall experience made me forget the horror stories I have heard of Colombia. The people themselves are not excited about their reputation but for the time I spent I can say it was well worth it. It is always best to experiences a place for myself.
Photo by travelart on Flickr