Bogotá, Colombia

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An old street sign including Colombia’s old name as a Spanish colony: New Granada.

Bogotá kicks arse. For a city which has a reputation similar to Medellin’s, and which has a history of tragic violence, Bogotá has had an incredible revival so that now it’s as authentic as ever, with a trendy edge to make you want to visit again.

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Simon Bolivar’s home in Bogotá.

First stop for me as a history buff was the home of Simon Bolivar here in Colombia. I’ve been reading the book Bolivar by Marie Arana all around South America so to stop at a place the great man once lived was really special. Whether history is your thing or not, the grounds and house are a beautiful monument to life in Colombia in the early 1800s. And has a handy audio guide spoken by a fellow Irishman.

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Next to the Gold Museum. If you have a thing for gold, especially thousands of pieces of gold worked by ancient hands, and you like seeing them all in one building, this is the museum for you. Best of all its cheap, like all of the museums in Bogotá.

I have to have a special mention for the Colombian National Museum here. Housed in an old prison, it makes an atmospheric and interesting free trip which gives you a great idea of the diverse histories of Colombia. Quite honestly one of the best museums I have been to.

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One example of the National Museum’s banging displays.
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The Cathedral at Plaza Bolivar.

Plaza Bolivar was an equally impressive place to visit. Flanked by the Palace of Justice and the National Assembly it’s a place which is intensely political as evidenced by the political protests we saw in action as we strolled around. Latin America is famous for the political literacy of it’s citizens, so seeing them in action is a sight in itself.

So that was Bogotá. Honourable mention goes to the Bogotá Brewing Company who furnished us with some excellent beer, and the teleferico which whisks you up to the top of the hills surrounding the city. Check it out as soon as you can. Colombia is ready and waiting for tourists. I hope you love it as much as I did.

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