I arrived in Bogotá by bus at midnight and after a $12 taxi ride and a great deal of indecision on my part as for where to stay, I made it to Hostal Fatima in La Candelaria, Bogotá’s historical district. The next day, I wandered the streets and spent hours browsing several free museum exhibits (including a collection from Fernando Botero, whom I am now a huge fan of).

I had heard so many scary stories of violence and muggings in Bogotá — particularly in La Candelaria, where I was staying, but I should have known (based on all of my experiences in Colombia) that the severity of the situation is really just blown out of proportion. I felt safe in Bogotá the entire time I was there, and now I wish I had budgeted more time than just the three days I had allotted for the city.The next day, I made my way to Zipaquirá, an adorable town one hour east of Bogotá that has a salt cathedral with the largest underground cross in the world. Had I known this town would be so downright quaint and lovely, I would have slept one night there just basking in the sun and beauty of it all. But when I do come back to Colombia, I’ll be sure the set aside a day or two for this city again. I got a very decent tour of the enormous underground cathedral, the salt mining museum, and the town’s very comprehensive archaeological museum. I continue to be astounded by this country’s rich history and vast cultural sites. I hadn’t planned to stay in Colombia for the whole two months, but now that I look back I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. There’s just so much to see in that country and so much to learn.

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