Bogotá is a capital city and as every capital, it’s crowed like Hell: in 2011, there were 8.262.000 inhabitants (density of population: 4146 inhabitants/m2… talking about mouths to feed). Arriving in the city, the first thing that one can notice is the lack of oxygen with an occasional headache and other nice symptoms you could easily live without… The reason? The colombian city is 2650m high, no less, located in the heart of the country, in an area called la Sabana de Bogotá (Bogotá savannah) and let me tell you when you come from Paris, this is the strangest feeling ever. Fortunately, altitude sickness doesn’t last too long but it took me like 4 or 5 days to sleep properly though.
Once your body is used to the altitude and when you can’t spend another day wandering around your hostel, you can go for the warrior’s path (understand “European tourist lost in the middle of the colombian capital”): first stop, the Monserrate. Usually, it’s recommended to wait a bit before climbing the mountain to avoid the altitude sickness. Well, of course, I went the very next day. Allright, allright, I took the cable car… courageous but careful. The Monserrate looks over Bogotá and -note to self- could be really helpful as a landmark when you’re lost in the city. At the top, there is a place of pilgrimage, a beautiful white sanctuary (see picture below). I found out that religion along with telenovelas are the two most important things in Colombia that you can’t mess with.
I had to say the word: “Que chevere” !! This expression, which is probably the most typical and the most used in the country, means “great, amazing, awesome, beautiful!” I got used to it quite fast and Bogotá is all of that: for real. Just come and have a look around, you’ll understand: Bogotá es chevere.