“Be Safe!”, “Watch out for the Militia!”, “Stay clear of the Cartels!”, “Go easy on the Cocaine!”, “Better not get kidnapped!!” Just some of the reactions I got when I told people I was headed to Colombia!
It’s interesting – and sort of funny – the kind of pre-conceived notions people have about places. Going by all that it was built up to be, I have to say I was a little disappointed – all I got was a single instance of a totally lame peddler trying half heartedly to palm off some hashish to me!
The first thing that hits you – and quite literally at that – is the rare and cool mountain air! Bogotá sits 8661 ft (2640 mtrs) above sea level, making it the 3rd highest capital city in the world (the top 2 also happen to be in S.America)! So my gallant stride up several flights of stairs was quickly reduced to a slow crawl by the time I reached my friend’s 4th floor apartment!
Within 12 hours of having arrived there, my nasal passage was clear again and the cold symptoms I had – a distant New York memory! It’s not that the city is completely devoid of pollution – far from it in fact – just that being in the mountains definitely helps! Not only does the city enjoy the benefits of elevation but also a beautiful natural setting – surrounded as it is by the Andean Mountains, some of them over 10000 ft in height.
The weather is perfect to – never too cold or too hot – and it remains so throughout the year! You’re unlikely to find a heater, air conditioner or even a fan in anyone’s house! Great savings right there!! Being high up in the mountains also means constantly changing light conditions – plenty of variety for a day and always a photographer’s delight 😉