I figured that since I started off with Barcelona, it only made sense to do my next blog post on Bogota…. my second destination in life abroad (although I have so much to say since this is my home now… so this will be the first of many blog posts).. So I’ve decided what better way to start off than with a few random tidbits about Bogota, some things I’ve learned about the city so far, and life in Colombia.
Life in Colombia is great. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Spain, but also in a lot of ways it is so incredibly different. The people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming. In fact that’s one of the most common things you could hear about Colombia, how amazing the people are. (& I couldn’t agree more)
The food here is great, especially the fruits, they are as fresh as you could possibly imagine. The thing is, there are so many different and diverse climates across all of Colombia, this leads to the perfect environment for growing so many different types of fruits and vegetables. I’ve tried so many fruits that I have never heard of until I came to Colombia. And the coffee… oh don’t even get me started on how amazing the coffee is…. liquid gold.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned so far is that the weather here is very unpredictable. The people of Bogota joke that you can have all 4 seasons in one day…but I’ve begun to learn that is definitely not a joke. Rule #1 – never leave the house without an umbrella… seriously. One moment it’s so sunny out, and literally five minutes later (I’m not exaggerating) a dark cloud rolls in, the skies open up… and it’s pouring rain. Rule #2- if the suns out… you will probably be sweating. Bogota is 8,675 feet above sea level… meaning we are that much closer to the sun… meaning that it’s completely brutal. But when it’s a sunny day here… it’s a perfect day (providing the sun actually lasts throughout the whole day). Overall, I would say that the climate here is actually quite comfortable. The temperature never goes below 50 (at night) or above 75 (noon on a sunny day). No one here has heat and no one has air conditioning, which basically sums it up. It never gets bone-chillingly cold nor unbearably hot. Not so bad! You’ll just need to be prepared for all four seasons in one day: chilly mornings and nights require a scarf and jacket; midday sun requires a t-shirt (and you’ll still break a sweat); and rain at any time requires an umbrella.But this unpredictable weather is something I’m growing accustomed to, and learning to appreciate (I mean hey, at least it doesn’t snow here!).
Another cool thing about Bogota is that the city is bordered by the Andes mountains, making a spectacular backdrop to the city. There so beautiful to look at, and beautiful to overlook the city from. (we spent one Sunday hiking a trail in the mountain… will write about that soon). Also these mountains serve as an amazing guide to navigating the city… rule of thumb … if the mountains are on your right, you are headed North, something that’s somewhat helping me get oriented so far….
The traffic, oh the traffic… I thought that I knew what traffic was… that is until I moved to Bogota. Sure, all cities have traffic, but you haven’t really experience life in Bogotá until it’s taken you half an hour to go five blocks… (I wish I was being dramatic). Sometimes (most of the time) it’s better just to walk….
There are soooo many public holidays, it feels like almost every weekend is a “puente”. Only beaten by Argentina, Colombia has the most public holidays in the WORLD. There are 18 public holidays and an average of 15 paid vacation days. (not too bad, eh?)
One of the coolest things about Bogota is the surrounding towns. As I mentioned before Bogota is 8,675 feet above sea level, and if you leave the city you start to go down the mountains and lower and lower in altitude. Well… as Colombia is so close to the equator, when you go down to a lower altitude .. it starts to get warmer. So you can drive just a few hours outside of the city and be in a warmer climate. Colombia has a really diverse terrain, and is filled with so much natural beauty… so far that’s been one of my absolute favorite things.
While I’m still new to Bogota (today marks exactly 3 months here!) … I know I still have a lot to learn & a lot to experience. But so far this country has made a great impression for my second destination abroad… keep checking back & subscribe for more stories & photos