08.12.2012 - 14.12.2012 22 °C
My cousin Terri and her boyfriend Jose live in Bogota.Jose has a place in Mariquita which is a town in the Tolima provence about 150 km north-west of Bogotá. We arranged to meet Terri and Jose at 12am at the bus stop in Marquita. When we asked about how long it would take to get from Manizales to Marquita the guy told us 30mins but after an hour in the car we realised he had told us the price (30 000 pesos each) not the distance and the taxi ride took 4 hrs so we were 3hrs late to meet them.
It was great to see Terri again and meet Jose when they fetched us. After buying some cold beers We then went to Jose's family House which was incredible and something we had definitely not expected. It was like being at a 5 star hotel, so beautiful.
The house is situated on a Mangostin farm just outside Marquita town. Mangostins are a delicious Colombian fruit that look like a granadilla on the outside and a lichi on the inside. They are known as a miracle fruit that have antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities. Jose's family export them to Germany and the Netherlands. The bowl in the center of the dinner table was constantly full of mangostins that we ate constantly!!
The house is huge with a gorgeous pool and we had a beautiful room, it was a real treat! We spent 2 great nights at this awesome place, chilled at the pool, spent time catching up and ate like kings. One morning we had a delicious traditional tomale filled with pork, chickpeas, rice for breakfast. A tamale is a traditional dish made of masa (a starchy dough, usually corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper of plantain.
Everything we ate came from the farm (avos, tomatos, fish from their talapia fish farm nearby, plantains etc) except the booze! We drank lots of rum and a delicious Colombian drink which is similar to oozo but not as strong!
After a really fun, relaxing time we drove through the windy roads with beautiful mountain views to Bogota.
Bogotá is the capital and largest city of Colombia and had a population of 10,000,000 in 2005. In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest in Latin America. It figures amongst the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the third-highest capital city in South America at 2,625 metres above sea level, after Quito and La Paz.
Jose and Terri live in a stunning apartment on the penthouse of the world trade center building in the chia area. Jose's dad who lives in Cartagena has a apartment next door and they kindly let us stay there. We were so lucky, such a beautiful apartment all to ourselves!
On our first day we walked through the nice neighborhood of chia to fetch Joey from his school then had a lovely lunch and a awesome dinner at a Italian restaurant on parque 93 which is a park surrounded by restaurants near Terri and Jose's home!
View from apartment
The next morning we took the bus out of town to see the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá. it is an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters underground. It was very interesting and we learnt that the world salary comes from the Spanish word sal (Spanish for salt) because people got paid in salt.
After a busy day exploring Terri cooked us a lovely meal at home which was Foie gras then yummy fish soup followed by cheese.
On our second day in bogota we went to the area of Usaquén which is a lovely residential neighborhood with quaint streets with shops and restaurants. We had some coffee there then headed back to meet Terri, Jose and joey to go to the country club where they are members for lunch. Jose treated us to delicious steak and chips for lunch then Terri and I got a great pedi and mani. It was another great day and awesome to see some local spots that tourists would never normally see.
On our last full day we went to check out La Candelaria which is a historic neighborhood in downtown Bogotá. It is the equivalent to the Old City in other cities. The architecture of the old houses, churches and buildings has Spanish Colonial and Baroque styles. We went to the gold museum and the Botero museum and had a tomale for lunch.
That evening we had "pre drinks" with Terri and Jose before heading out to the famous Andres Carne de Res. There is one in chia outside the city and one in Zona rosa where we went. It was AMAZING,! It's a mix between a club and restaurant and is like No other place I have ever been to, what an awesome vibe. The food ( steak ) was incredible and the atmosphere is great. We finished off a second bottle of tequila for the night and then headed home! Another awesome night true Colombian style!
It was a fabulous week with family and We had such fun spending time with Terri, Joey and Jose. They spoiled us and really showed us a great local side to bogota and Marquita. Thank you for showing us such a good time, hopefully one day we will be back!
We spent nearly a month in Colombia and really loved every Provence,It is a very unique country that exceeded all my expectations!