John flew to Columbia on a Sunday, and I stayed behind in Lima with the kids for a few days while he attended meetings and such. We prepared for our trip in the midst of a tummy bug and an unrelated visit to the ER (when it rains it pours!). Thankfully, we were all well by Wednesday and continued with our plans to fly to Bogota on Thursday morning.
Thursday was a long day. It was the first time I had flown with both the kids by myself since Cliff was a few months old.
(I swore I’d never do it again after last time! Obviously, I don’t learn my lessons easily…) They’re 3 1/2 and almost 2, so in some ways it was easier, but it was a very long 3 1/2 hours! They both love planes, especially Cliff, so it was at least entertaining for them!
When we got to Bogotá, John was waiting for us outside Customs with two arepas con queso for the kids. Arepas are one of the main foods you find on the streets in Colombia. They’re delicious flat rounds, made from fresh corn and usually have cheese inside. Bogotá was warm and sunny when we first arrived, nice and inviting. We went to dinner that evening at a chic new restaurant serving authentic Colombian style food. I got a sampler for me and the kids, complete with plátanos and a fried egg.
The city was prettier than Lima. There were a lot of brick buildings as well as some that resembled a Swiss style. There wasn’t as much concrete as Lima. Instead, stones and bricks lined the roads in a neat and orderly fashion.
Though the city boasts a population of 10 million (the same as Lima) there seemed to be much less pollution. The weather is pretty wet. It rained a bit on us each day, but it wasn’t bad.
The first full day, the kids and I just hung out in the hotel while John traveled a bit with his peers. We made forts with the blankets and pillows and walked to the nearby mall for lunch.
The next day we went with the group to see Monterrico, a church set up on a mountain above Bogotá. We took an air tram up the mountain.
The kids loved it. There were amazing views of the city from all the way up there.
It was raining on us most of the time, so we were glad we bought an umbrella at the bottom of the mountain.
I was wishing I had brought my rain jacket as it was pretty chilly! We found the kids some hot arepas to warm them up (their new favorite snack) and browsed the vendors for a little while.
When it was time to meet back up, we all decided to take the train down instead of the air tram. The track was nearly vertical for most of the ride. Cliff was so excited to be riding a train and kept saying, “choo-choo!” while we continued down the mountainside.
It was a really beautiful excursion!
Next, we headed back into the city for a little time to see the buildings and museums.
We got lunch from a street vendor selling Anticuchos (meat on a skewer) and roasted corn on the cob. We fed our whole family for about $3 USD, or 6,000 Colombian pesos. We went into the gold museum after lunch. Because gold and emerald mining are a big industry in Colombia there was a lot of history. I didn’t stay long since a Cliff was getting pretty loud and tired. I took him out so he could fall asleep in the Ergo, away from the stimulation of his big sister. Five minutes later he was out like a light.
We continued on down the Main Street to see the big plaza.
I decided for a bit of coffee to try to warm myself up, as it was still pretty damp and chilly.
The buildings were beautiful.
The kids liked seeing all the pigeons and llamas in the plaza, but it was a bit smelly and loud, so we didn’t stay long.
We did get to see the presidential palace and several other big buildings.
It was a fun cultural day. We ended it with a swim at the hotel pool for the kids, and met some more of John’s colleagues at a dinner (in which we politely bowed out of after drinks…the kids were ready for bed!) If we’ve learned anything traveling with two toddlers, it’s to be flexible and know when to fold!
The next morning, we decided to take the kids to the park nearby and snag another good cup of Colombian coffee at Juan Valdez Cafe before leaving for our flight to Cartagena.
Olivia had fun climbing on the jungle gym.
And Cliff enjoyed steering the ship.
It was drizzling when we arrived, but by the end of the morning, the sun was out in all of its force, forcing us to remove our sweaters.
We had enjoyed Bogotá, but were really ready for the sunny warm Cartagena waiting for us on the other side of the flight!