Sunday, 26 February 2012
Bogotá - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good - The Ciclovía on Carrera Septima (Seventh St). The normally busy street which runs through the city just under the eastern mountains is closed to traffic on Sunday mornings and was busy with cyclists & runners. I was especially impressed with the bike workshops & feed stations along the way. The road surface looked pretty good, so I was missing my road bike which I've left back in the UK for now. Walking back to our hotel through Calle 93, a wealthy area with embassies, a safe park, Juan Valdez coffee shops and the increasingly popular Bogotá Beer Company pub, made for a really pleasant morning seeing a very positive side of the city. The pleasant feel for the day was taken off by watching Cardiff City narrowly miss out on the League Cup in the penalty shootout.
The Bad - Avenida Jiménez just west of La Candelaria, the historic centre of the city. We got off the Transmilenio, a bendy-bus system with dedicated lanes, which is quick and cheap but very crowded even on Sundays and mistakenly decided to walk through this area. There were people lying in the street, staggering around drunk or on drugs and litter everywhere, but the streets were crowded. Really not an area for a Sunday stroll and I decided not to take photos.
The Ugly - Bolivar Square. For the centre-piece of national and city government it was full of litter & graffiti. I'm sure it's not that bad really but sadly it reminded me of Stevenage town centre. The Casa de Nariño, the residence of the President looks great however.
Going up Monserrate via the cable-car, the 3152m mountain with a large white church on-top which overlooks the city was a good way to round off the day. Too cloudy to see the whole city, but worth it anyway. We'll try to go back and maybe climb it on foot.