Special Days in Bogotá –Stories out of context

Daily life in Bogotá doesn’t really exist, I would say. But of course I’m going regularly to my university and this is a kind of routine, so a bit of the daily life I have.

        

But nevertheless in Colombia there is not a daily order like in other countries. Every day is different and special. Especially the climate (four seasons during one day), the timetable of the busses and Transmilenios (TM) doesn’t work either and well, being late here in Colombia is kind of normal with this crazy infrastructure. But you always got to your objective somehow or somewhat. If you go by bus, sometimes someone is entering in the bus to earn some small money, so you can pass your time by listing to poems, self-written songs or life stories. But the busses don’t have their own lane on the streets, so with in the rush-hour-times it takes a long time to get to your place. For that reasons I’m taking most of my time the TM.

With this public transport you are normally on the safe side, but as well there are events which change the timetable and working hours of the Transmilenio. For example at the beginning of this month there was a strike in the public transport. So some streets were closed by the protests, so all the TMs took one way as you can the in the photo. As well you could find many police men in the station, who were there to prevent the worst.

The public frustration with the TM is increasing because the busses and the stations are always crowed and sometimes you even have problems to get out of the bus. As well the original TM plans anticipated 170km of lanes. But instead Bogotá only have 84 km of completed lanes. All this leaded to the strike…but the public transport system always is difficult to solve in such a big city. But surprisingly you get used of all this and in the end you are fine when you actually get to point A to B.

Funny and completely out of context is the story with the names. Here in Colombia almost everyone has four names (two names and two surnames). Well when they heard my name, they asked me “That’s all!?” or “Isn’t that a bit boring!?” or something like that “What do you do, if you have a double ganger, a person with the same name”…Well in fact I do have a third name and many persons of my nationality too, nowadays we have the trend of double names after a marriage moreover, but the names here seems to be without end. I always have the problems how to call the persons. So in the worst case I call a male person: Juan or Camilo and for the females I would guess: Ana, Angela or Maria…Well it stays difficult. But back to my third name….my third name is Anita. Whenever some of my German friends heard that name..he/she was singing “Anita,Anita” (Costa Cordalis) or just laughing over this name. But here in Colombia “Anita” actually doesn’t exist. Anita is a diminution form of Ana. So everyone was delighted over my other name and liked it very much. This was a completely different experience.

Some photos from my “daily” life in Bogotá:

Day „7“and Day „8“– Sightseeing tour in Lima

Last view on the lake of Titicaca…

…and Puno

The only plan of Day “7” was travelling from Puno to Lima by airplane. So we packed our stuff in the morning time and went from Puno to Juliaca, where the airport is located.

Normally the flight was planned to take off at around 12 am. But only one hour before this flight was cancelled because there were some problems with the runway. Which problems exactly existed, I don’t really know, but it was certain that we won’t fly at 12am. The airport isn’t really big so the waiting time wasn’t really exiting either.

lambskin for sales – bargain in front of the airport

It was said that our flight should take off at around 3pm. But this wasn’t true and in the end we only arrived in Lima at 7.30pm and after our arrival our guide said we are doing the sightseeing tour in Lima right now.  So we saw Lima by night.

Lima is the capital and the biggest city of Peru. Lima was founded in the January of 1535. It was planned to found this city the 6th of January. The day of the kings, but the foundation was delayed and so the city was founded the 18th of January but nevertheless Lima is called the city of the kings.

    

    

This was nice and cute, but the traffic was really awful. Moreover in the center of Lima was a festival, so many streets were closed and there were loads of people. We actually left the bus and walked but with all your documents after a flight it was a bit dangerous. So we preferred to quit the sightseeing tour and enjoy in a restaurant nearby the festival the view and the empanadas. This was really good and relaxing.

The next day our flight from Lima to Bogotá was in the afternoon, so we had some time left to visit the city center of Lima during day time. Moreover we visited the “Convento de San Francisco”. This convent belongs to world cultural heritage of the UNESCO. It was founded 1546 and is really impressive. Unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside. The library in the convent is with its 20.000 books really impressive, as well the catacombs. In the catacombs you can find around 70.000 skeletons. It was really worth to visit.

          

         

 

Laguna de Guatavita

On a Sunday I went with two friends of mine to the Lake Guatavita, which is located around 40 km north of Bogotá. I always wanted to go there because I saw many fascinating pictures in the internet and furthermore the Lake Guatavita offers as well an interesting history.

The Lake Guatavita was one time honored by the Muisca, indigenes like the Incas. It is said that there the legend “El dorado” took place. In short words – the legend “El dorado” says that the king of the Muisca was ritually covered with gold dust at a religious festival held in the Lake Guatavita.

For that reason there were many attempts made to find gold in the Lake Guatavita. But none of the results were really successfully. Nowadays you can visit the Lake Guatavita as a tourist attraction. So you have to pay an entrance fee and then you can walk a small piece at the side of the lake. But before it became such a tourist place you could actually walk around the whole lake and spend the weekend there. It is a bit of a shame that you only have a small bit to walk next to the lake nowadays.

   

We started our tour from the “Portal de Norte” to the village of Guatavita. From there you can catch a van which brings you up to the entrance of the Laguna.

There you follow a solid and visible way to the exit. The walking way takes around 45min. It is indeed really short, but the view on the lake is great indeed.

         

From the exit you can as well take a van, which brings you back, or you just walk, what we just did because the climate this day was really great.

The village Guatavita is really worth visiting as well. The tourist center is really cute with all the white and nice houses.

        

The old village of Guatavita was submerged in the waters of the Tominé Reservoir and was rebuilt on higher ground again. The Tominé Reservoir, a big lake, is an important water supply and it is used as well for water sports and other water-related events. Moreove the people of the village or of other place nearby go there to relax and to spend the day at the Reservoir. It is a nice recreation from the city of Bogotá.

         

Day „6“ – Lake Titicaca

We started our trip to or better on the Lake Titicaca at the harbour of Puno. We went on a boat and I have to admit that first I was really disappointed because the Lake Titicaca was really dirty. That explained why the people from Puno are saying that is not the Lake Titicaca it is the Lake Pipi-caca. But well that is right nearby the coastline of Puno. It smells bad and looks dirty.

                 

         

But when you leave this behind, the Lake becomes cleaner and cleaner and then you are impressed. First we visited artificial islands made of floating reeds where the Uros are living. The Uros are the original habitants of the Lake Titicaca. They are living on approximately 40 artificial islands.

     

     

We only visited two of them, but that’s enough to get an impression of the life of the Uros. On our first stop we were talking to the Uros on the island and they explained how they are living, how they are constructing their island and they gave us an opportunity to visit their “house” and so on. It was really great and interesting. Of course the Uros have to earn some money as well. So they are doing a lot of art work and want to sell these things of course to the tourist. Well yes we had to buy something and support them. The Urus have to pay the school for their children. The school is located at the main land.

Anyhow the Urus on their island is living from eating the reeds. The reeds have a white end which is eatable. I tried it and it doesn’t taste too bad. The reeds as well contain a lot of water, so the Urus are eating this plant the whole day because it contains nutrients and fluids.

      

Moreover they are eating fish and bird eggs. Normally one family (with grandparents and so on) is living on one island. The island is artificial and constructed with reeds and earth. The island is attached with a rope to the ground of the Lake, so they can’t float away when it’s stormy weather.  As well the houses are constructed with reeds. They have many layers to keep out the humidity.

     

As a tourist you could book in a hotel on one of the Island. They have electricity aggregates, so you actually could have light in the night time but that’s all of luxury what you will have there.

After this interesting and really cheerful visit on the artificial island we went further south with the boat to the Island Taquile, which isn’t artificial and which is really big in comparisons to the other islands.  The islands still belongs to Peru but if you go further south, you will find yourself in Bolivia. But this country I will hopefully visit soon.

On the Island Taquile we had a really great walk with an awesome view on the Lake Titicaca. We were walking in a slow pass because it was very hot and the altitude of almost 4.000 m makes you even more tired. The main village of Taquile is located on 3.950 m.

        

        

There you can buy many traditional souvenirs and watch the habitants in their traditional clothes. Really interesting in their culture of showing if they are married or single. So they have hats in different colors or if they are going out with someone they are demonstrating this with wearing their hat to one special side.  This kind of tradition would make life much easier in Europe…

       

We had a small lunch on the island before we went back to the boat and then back to the mainland in Puno. There we only relaxed from the day, which was great, but from the sun and the walking tour on the island we were really tired. Of course we were happy with our new impressions there:

         

     

On our next day we were only planning to get our plane to Lima in the morning but like many times in South America it came differently…

Official Blogger – Vitrina Turistica de Anato 2012

In the context of the new project “Official Blogger” we were invited to visit the event “Vitirina Turistica de Anato 2012”.

Every year this event takes place in Bogota in the “Corferias”, which is the center international for negotiations and expositions.

There at the exposition you can inform yourself about the tourist attractions in almost every Department of Colombia.

        

        

Furthermore many companies present their offers to the public, hotels, ecotourism, adventure tours or cultural and culinary details. As well you can inform yourself about other countries of South America or just enjoy the artists.

      

          

But as we are Official Bloggers for Colombia we were mainly collecting information about this awesome country. Well it is indeed amazing that Colombia is the first country that established this kind of project. So I really hope we can promote Colombia more to foreigners because Colombia is just great. And we Bloggers, we all fell in love with this amazing country.

      

So back to the “Vitrina Turistica de Anato 2012”: We were shown around and had of course plenty enough time to walk around and look at these things which we are interested in. In the morning time we had a little lunch break – delicious juices and empanadas.

           

Later on, Proexport offered us more of good food. We had pig, rice, salad and platano with nice fresh lemonade. This really was delicious. And for dessert we had a kind of Tiramisu which was tasting good too. All in all it was a really interesting day. Thanks very much for this opportunity.

     

Which I forget to mention…Last but not Least: We got a great black vest to start our day at the Vitrina Turistica. On the back of this nice vest stays “Official Blogger – www.colombia.travel”. Really great idea!

Day „5“- Bus ride from Cusco to Puno

After a great day in Cusco we slept really good and the next morning we were ready for our long trip by bus from Cusco to Puno. I think it took around 10 hours or more but I’m not sure because we had some stops and so I don’t know exactly. Well if you look it up in the internet, the distance between the two cities should be around 500 km, which could be done in around 6-7 hours. But we were slower and with a good reason.

You just have to stop, look around, do some sightseeing, eating and drinking. First we visited a church, named “San Pedro Apostol” which is located in Andahuaylillas. This church is impressive and really old. It wasn’t allowed to take photographs with or without flash. So I can’t really share this unique impression. Yeah but 1-2 photographs I have…somehow.

       

And of course every place of interest offers possibilities to buy stuff.

After that we went further on with the bus. After around 150km we stopped at the ruins of Raqchi. Well you could see the rest of a temple. The last signs of this old city are impressive. But unfortunately there isn’t much information about the exact time of construction.

 

        

Well this man is not really working, it is a professional model. So you pay him, if you want to have a picture.

During this Bus ride we went over a pass which is over 4.300 m high. Well obviously at this altitude it was already cold and windy – so back in the bus and forward to Puno.

       

     

On our way to Puno we passed the city Juliaca, which is the biggest city of the department of Puno, but from my point of view the city is not worth visiting. There are many parts in the city which seems to be dangerous; well you don’t see a lot of people in the streets and the entire house are closed up. But in this city there is the airport so we had to go back the next days.  Another disturbing thing was that all the houses weren’t finished. It gave an ugly image to the city. Well someone explained this to us; you don’t have to pay taxes for your house when it is not finished. This why everyone lives in houses which look half ready….strange strategy of the government…

         

In the afternoon we finally got to Puno and were impressed about the view on the lake of Titicaca. More about this beautiful appearance on Day 6…