My sister and I woke up at 6am this morning (thanks in part to our four-hour nap yesterday) and decided to go on a long walk from my grandmother’s apartment on Calle 119 to el Parque de la 93 on Calle 93. And we got a great, warm, sunny morning, perfect conditions for a semi epic walk (we walked back to).
First, I would like to start with a short, 20 second video from el Parque de Usaquen, where you can appreciate the blurry, shaky sights and sounds of Usaquen, one of my favorite neighborhoods in the North.
The church at el Parque de Usaquen. Nice, traditional Spanish-Colonial style church. If I remember correctly, it is pretty plain on the inside.
A pedestrian street in Usaquen. Usaquen is an upper middle class neighborhood in Bogotá and is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the North. There is some architectural ecclecticness going on, but for the most part, the buildings are colonial style and (relatively) well preserved. On Sundays, there is a large flea market (more like an artisan market, actually) and the neighborhood is packed to the brim. During the week it is a bit sleepier. I would say it is kind of like the Old Town Alexandria of Bogotá, minus the river and the good sidewalks.
My grandmother, sister and my grandmothers friend Sylvia chillin on a bench in El Parque de Usaquen. It was a tight squeeze but when you gotta rest, you gotta rest.
People hanging out at El Parque de Usaquen. Here you can see some of the old timey architecture in the background. And a modern building in the background.
The flea market in Usaquen. Lots of artisanal jewelry, desserts, crafts, souvenirs and knitted clothes.
The original food carts. There are lots of little food stands where you can buy grilled corn and obleas (arequipe between two large wafer crackers).
Something you dont see too often in the D.C area…old cars! There are some real antiques on the streets in Bogotá!
On Sundays, there is all kinds of street entertainment in Usaquen (and in el Centro). This guy was doing acrobatics on a fabric hanging from a tree, there was a Celia Cruz imitator performing, several story tellers, musicians, bands, dog shows and people pretending to be statues. Some of the entertainment is pretty weird, some is bad and some is good.
My grandma, sister and Sylvia checking out my moms old house from back in the 70s.
These poor musicians did not have much of an audience. My grandmother felt so sorry for them (she said they were not going to raise enough money to buy a coffee) so she gave them a very generous donation of 200 pesos, about 10 American cents.
Buying Obleas in El Parque de Usaquen. You can buy these tasty treats for about $1 in the plaza. They are probably overpriced because Usaquen is a pretty touristy area.
Three ladies on a bench (Sylvia, my sister and my grandma) people watching at the park.
Posing off the plaza in Usaquen.
One of the things I missed about Colombia was the food. It is not particularly spectacular by International standards, but I miss the soups and all the delicious white rice that is served with every meal. Some of my favorites include cuajada, tamal and bunuelos…I will post some pictures of my favorite foods in a later post.
On Sundays, Bogota closes two of its major streets to cars and joggers, bikers and rollerbladers take over. It goes until 2pm and it is kind of nice. I wish they did something similiar in D.C. I know we have a lot of trails in D.C, but none that goes through the whole city like the Ciclovia does in Bogota. All the rollerbladers made me want to buy rollerblades, but I have a feeling its one of those purchases I would use once and then put away never to use again. This picture is from Carrera 15, near my grandmother’s apartment.
I really like Colombia’s bike system. It’s not all over the city, but in some parts of the city, the bike lane is part of the sidewalk. Personally, I’m terrified of city biking, so it would be great if D.C would adopt a similar city-wide system.
Some examples of Bogotás architectural cement blobs. While there are some beautiful, attractive neighborhoods, much of the city’s architecture is uninspired and less than beautiful.
Some nice buildings near el Parque de la 93, a nice urban park in an upper class Bogotá neighborhood.
A view of Parque 93 from Juan Valdez, a popular Colombian coffee chain. There seemed to be a lot of expats in this area.
After our walk, my sister and I decided to get a coffee (good) and a buneulo (very disappointing) and did some Parque 93 people watching. It’s hard to tell the size of this coffee cup here, but it’s considered a size medium and its only 8 ounces! In the U.S you kind of lose touch of what portions should look like.
Categories: Bogota, Colombia