The last leg of our world tour! Arrive here after a pretty poor flight on Avianca, the pride of Colombia – they don’t even serve tea. It’s a grey morning here but luckily our room is ready at 7 am and we manage a kip before venturing out to explore Candelaria, the colonial quarter of Bogota, a city of over 9 million people.
We also visit Bogotá’s oldest restaurant, the Puerta Falsa, where we sample a hearty chicken, corn and potato soup – ajiaco. Once is enough! The cathedral square with its government buildings and presidential palace are impressive, but full of beggars and Venezuelan refugees. It’s sobering that in Columbia, one of the world’s poorest countries and in the top four for disparities between rich and poor, there are even more wretched people. We are to see Venezuelans on the roadsides, even in Candelaria, on our travels, with only the possessions they can carry, groups of single men, lone women, families with wretched children, the odd dog – people without hope.here for photos.
In the evening the restaurants and miradors offer stunning views for beers and cocktails.
We cleverly jump the four-hour queues to get into the National park by getting our driver to do the queuing for the tickets, pick us up and deliver us, all of 20 minutes rather than several hours! It is hot and humid and we join the throngs who are marching solidly towards the final destination (the park has been closed for two months for maintenance, and this is only the second day of opening). After two hours and 7kms or so, we give up and flop in the scant shade at Piscina which is the only swimmable beach: warnings of 100 drownings ‘don’t be one of them’. The walk back is challenging in the heat.
The beach below our hotel is full of local activity – Football, surfing, fishing and us, enjoying the sunset.
Our stay coincides with the ninth anniversary of Louise’s death and it is good to spend it with dear friends who knew her from birth to adulthood. We drink cocktails and remember her with love. Here she is as we remember her, feisty and full of character. The hammocks particularly represent her spirit.