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            <<  Bogota, 24-Jul-2015  >>

Colombia!

Irene's only day in Colombia, for me the first of my 10 days in this unexpected destination

Colombia! Another country from a countries Iím probably not going to see list.
We landed at a neat modern airport, where a drug checking police dog spotted something in Ireneís bag so the police tagged the bag and we were ready for deep and painful check, but finally nobody cared about the tag and nobody checked us, so we just took it off as were leaving the airport. It must have been a piece of ham that Irene was smuggling into Colombia what attracted the dog. Or was it the cocaine from the Andes? :-)

Candelaria is Bogotaís historic center and itís a nice neighborhood, full of colorful little old colonial houses, cobbled streets running up and down the hilly terrain. My hostel was in one of these lovely old houses. Bogota is out of tropics, as it sits at elevation 2600m above the sea, which guarantees relatively mild climate. We didnít really have there too much time as Irene had to catch her plane in the afternoon, but we managed to reasonably crisscross the historic part with colonial houses and mansions, statues of Simon Bolivar, and managed to have a Colombian coffee in Colombia. Check.
We headed to the airport a bit late, and by the time we arrived it was maybe 1 and half hour before the departure, which would be perfectly OK, if the queue for Ireneís check-in wasnít one hour long and we didnít spend 15 minutes investigating about plastic wrapping of the bags. Soon Ireneís position in the queue became hopeless so she went to talk to one of the attendants, who asked her where was flying to, Irene said ďMadridĒ and the attendant told her to stand in a priority queue. 15 minutes later, completely being ignored by all the attendants while being the only person waiting in a priority queue we became really nervous so Irene went to the attendants again, only to find out, that the check-in for her flight is already closed and she cannot take the flight. The point was, that there was a direct flight to Madrid which was leaving 30 minutes later, but Ireneís flight was actually to Barcelona where she had a stop-over. The attendants thought she was taking the direct flight to Madrid. But her flight was the one to Barcelona. And that flight closed its check-in just 5 minutes before Irene made it to the desk and there was no way how to get to her to that flight anymore. A real departure drama began, which involved Irene crying, attendants refusing to help, supervisorís intervention and finally intervention of supervisorís supervisor, who decided to change Ireneís flight and gave her a ticket to that flight directly to Madrid so that she could make it home. Happy ending! Funnily enough, at the very last moment the departure of that flight was 2 hours delayed :-)

Next day I had still some time in Bogota so I went to a mind blowing Bogota Museum of Gold, which houses beautiful collection of gold statues and ornaments of pre-Colombian American civilizations. The gold which the Spanish conquistadores didnít manage to find, loot, melt and take away to Spain, in the name of their god and the king. To think that the treasures seen there are just tiny and humble leftovers of the glorious riches that once had existedÖ


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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak