A 14-year journey
Unlike what many think or infer from my accent, I was not born in the capital of Colombia; it may be surprising but no, I’m not from Bogotá, … I come from a city known as the ¨Miracle City¨ – Armenia, Quindío. To this huge, chaotic and cold city (a little colder back then) I arrived 14 years ago … the reason: I came to get my undergraduate degree. At the time, and to be very sincere, I came without much expectations; as some like to say, I was going with the flow (my plans really were different) and did not have much clarity for the upcoming years.
To this city that awakens many feelings – some good and others not so much – I have an infinite gratitude and affection. I try not to get used to it, although now it’s my home, and I always prefer to see it as another tourist and when I can I try to be surprised by every corner, restaurant or plan. If you do not know Bogotá or if your live here but don’t have the time to explore and you have forgotten how magical this city is, I leave you with my selection:
For the foodies: if what you like is knowing or reaffirming the culture and way of life of a city through its gastronomic options, Bogotá presents a great variety of alternatives. These restaurants have surprised me with their dishes and drinks … I hope the same thing happens to you:
Central Cevichería: in this restaurant you can indulge yourself with sea food, its menu includes tiraditos, tartares, fish, ceviches, among others. My perfect evening includes a spicy mixed ceviche accompanied by a portion of patacones, a pisco and a coconut flan.
Flor de Loto: with a warm atmosphere and traditional Indian decoration, you can savor a Paneer Tikka Masala (cheese cubes marinated and roasted in tandoor and in a sauce of spices), a Chicken Tikka Masala (cubes of chicken cooked in tandoor and a curry sauce of spices, onion and tomatoes) and some Cheese Nan (wheat flour bread stuffed with cheese and spices) – as a perfect complement. The only «but» I have found in this restaurant, and even more in the era in which we live in, is that they only receive payments in cash.
Biferia: if red meat is your thing, I want to welcome you to paradise … you are in the right place … where you can find different types of cuts of Colombian meats. Their techniques seek to enhance flavor and bring it to the point of precise tenderness. Now, for lovers of salads (like me), you can order a mix of smooth romaine lettuce, husked corn, ricotta cheese, bacon bits and red onions, seasoned with lemon and cilantro … better known as grilled cob salad and ricotta.
Myriam Camhi: it’s the true representation of a family business where hard work and passion stand out. In this bakery you can find my favorite cake (after my grandma’s, of course): Red Velvet. Whenever I want and can I give myself this pleasure, I do not think twice, and I accompany it with a coffee.
Party lovers: when I began to structure this post and I arrived at this point I could not help but remember with nostalgia my university days and some of the places I used to go to, such as Escobar Rosas, In Vitro, La Latina, Abajo, Animal … These not only had the best parties, but they showed me the magic of this city.
Today partying is different, but that magic is still there, and I can find it in bars (Apache, El Ovejo or Cabrera), Roof Tops (Bioxury Hotel or BOG Hotel), discos (Armando Records or Andres Carne de Res, my favorite … Chía) or with mimosas in a delicious brunch (Upper Side or in the Ciengramos restaurant of the Click Clack Hotel).
To tour: the city has many activities and tourists’ sites for all ages and tastes. Every time someone comes to visit I take advantage of the opportunity and visit my favorite places, such as Cerro de Monserrate, the Historic Center of La Candelaria, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, the Botero Museum and the Gold Museum and – if it happens to be on a Sunday – the Flea Market of San Alejo is a must.