Day 426: Bogota’s Free Walking Tour & Gold Museum

We were on the fence about how long we were going to stay in Bogota. We kept hearing conflicting opinions. Bogota was better than Medellin. No, Medellin was better. We were at a loss of where to spend more time before catching a flight to the coast. In the end, despite liking Bogota quite a bit, we decided to head to Medellin sooner in hopes it would be warmer. So with our last day in Bogota (today) we went on the free walking tour, checked out Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum) and even hopped in a taxi to check out the Usaquen Flea Market.


Because we were suddenly pressed for time, we signed up for the free walking tour in Spanish, reassuring ourselves that we needed the practice. Despite understanding most of the Spanish, I was still grateful our guide was bilingual and often gave us a quick recap in English to make sure we understood. The tour wasn’t very long, but it was nice to have a few things pointed out to us that we would have missed otherwise. Below is the president’s house, an elite high-school (if I remember correctly) and a statue commemorating Colombia’s independence.

I felt pretty safe in Bogota. It was grimy and it didn’t always look the safest, but there were so many police officers around looking out for city-dwellers and tourists alike. You can see two officers on the corner below. I think there were four in total. Mostly because this street led to the president’s house, office, and many political buildings… but still, I was grateful and appreciated being able to keep my camera out instead of buried in a backpack on Andrew’s back throughout our entire visit.

We stopped by the cultural center where a public dance class was being held. They were learning (or practicing) the tango. After the tour, Andrew and I had a traditional lunch: an order of ajiaco (a super hearty soup full of chicken, potatoes, and more) and then made our way towards the Museo del Oro a few blocks away. The walk there was full of pedestrians, street performers, human statues, and vendors.

We didn’t plan on visiting the Gold Museum on its ‘free day.’ This was a bit of a mistake. It was packed. So packed, we would speed walk through certain exhibition spaces that were too crowded for our liking. It offers an impressive display of gold and pre-Colombian artifacts. I loved the clay pieces you see above, and was a little disappointed we didn’t see any recreations for sale outside of the museum. I also loved the earrings below. I usually prefer silver, but I would not pass up the opportunity to have a wall full of gold earrings if the opportunity ever presents itself!

The Usaquen Flea Market was a little far, and only seemed accessible by car (or taxi in our case). I was expecting a more traditional flea market, full of used goods, antiques, and the like. The ‘flea’ market was a little more crafty and perhaps trendy(?) than I would have liked. Andrew really wasn’t this grumpy while we strolled through the market, but I thought his expression fit our overall experience.

I debated buying a wooden door (slightly similar to those I admired so much in Salento) but they weren’t nearly as colorful, and in the end settled for a slice of raspberry cheesecake instead.