I was worried having to ride my bike into Bogota, the capital of Colombia with about 12Mio people. I heard many scary stories and initially wanted to avoid the city all together. But since I had an appointment there I had to brave the big smoke.
After leaving Villa de Leiva I had a long day riding to Ubate via Chinquinquira. In Ubate I talked to a local guy while eating street food on the main square in the evening. He said he’s been robbed of all his belongings with a gun in Bogota, which didn’t make me feel any better. The next day I rode on to Zipaquira, actually I got a ride with a mountain biker in his pick up truck, as it rained, the road climbed to 3000m, was full of trucks, narrow and in bad condition. He was a Bogotonian and a great source of information about the area and the city. He said that riding into Bogota would be fine as they have ciclovia to Chia and than autopista with 3 lanes. In Zipiquira I visited the amazing Salt Cathedral, a huge cathedral carved into the mountain, a massive and still operating salt mine. There are only two of its kind open to the public, this one and one in Poland which is a Museum only. This salt mine has been exploited since hundreds of years, and the different techniques are well explained, as well as the use of the salt: only 20% are for human consumption, the rest ends up in cosmetics, plastic bottles, asphalt, etc…. This is rated one of the main attractions of Colombia and it sure is. I spent most of my day there and than walked around town and bumped into the same guy from last night, which ended up following me…..I knew than that his story was lie!!!
The ride into Bogota was easy enough with the ciclovia to Chia, where I had cafe on its lovely plaza central. Than it was autopista to Bogota and probably 30km of town traffic before arriving in the centre. I stayed in the Candelaria, the old part of town, in the hostel Cranky Croc, which I can only recommend, even though it’s a busy place and full of young party folk. I had several days in Bogota since it was Mother’s day weekend with a holiday on Monday and most things were closed. I visited the Museo del Oro, the Museo de Botero, explored town via the ciclovia on Sunday…..they close the main avenidas for cyclists only on Sundays and holidays from 7am-2pm and lots of people make use of it with bikes, roller blades, jogging, dog walking, etc…. and lots of food and fruits to be sampled on the side of the road. A very fun and social time.