View of Bogotá from Monserrate – Photo thanks to Heather

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Monserrate, Vodka-Cranberry and Aguardiente.

Another day came along and the hostel is now bustling with Irish, English and Scottish accents as more language assistants have arrived. We decide to spend this day wisely on the tourist trail.

Finding a nice café where we can all sit and have a bite to eat, we all order the same thing: ajiaco soup, a traditional Colombian dish. “But Daniel… What if it has eggs or cheese?” I hear you say. Don’t worry folks, I made extra sure to point out to the man that I had a severe allergy to eggs and cheese, so all was safe. Ajiaco soup is lovely, you chicos should try it some time.

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Onwards and upwards (literally) we went. A quick confusing bus ride halfway across Bogotá led us to the foot of its famous mountaintop church, Monserrate. We squeezed by the llamas, food stalls and traders and got to the cable car. A slow but interesting journey followed as we stood in the car chatting, laughing, joking and wow-img at the view below us- while the Colombians sharing the journey stood in silence. I think they were afraid of us.

We reached the top; dandered around the church and mountaintop; checked out the stalls of religious icons, Colombian souvenirs and funny-coloured food; and mostly, admired the view of the vast and expansive city below us.

The days are moving quickly and a new morning is upon us: it is time to move from our hostel to the hotel arranged for us by the British Council. Carriaged over by Mauricio, we stood in the lobby for about ten minutes as a man took our suitcases from us. We didn’t know where he was bringing them, but decided to go along with it- as it was too much of an awkward Galapagos turtle (c) to say anything.

Ryan, Jay and I were first to bagsy ourselves a room so on we trotted up. Walking in there were two single beds and a sofa, “awww I so don’t want the sofa” I was thinking, and then Ryan shouts “OMG guys there’s an upstairs!” I swear I ran faster than Usain Bolt as I shouted “SHOTGUN” and jumped on my beautiful double bed. It was like having my own apartment.

So we had a lovely meal at a traditional Colombian restaurant (I had empanadas) and then headed off to the BBC. No, not the broadcasting corporation, but the Bogotá Beer Company- a quaint wee bar in the trendy, upmarket zona rosa. Looking at the menu it was all mainly beer. Honey beer, sweet beer, traditional ale- a beer lover’s paradise. Unfortunately, I’m not a beer drinker. So I ordered myself a vodka with cranberry, to the shock, awe and horror of the other assistants. “WOW hardcore drinking from the Irishman“. It was obvious none of these guys (bar Ryan, who is from Larne- poor soul) had been to Belfast on a night out.

On our way home we stopped and bought some of the local drink- aguardiente, which is a bit like weak sambuca. Ryan and I realised that this half bottle of light spirits wouldn’t be enough to quench the thirst of this big bunch of 20somethings so we cleverly got ourselves a bottle of Bacardi as well. Better too much, than not enough. In the hotel we had a mini-party. Danica, Rob and I enjoyed the breeze and view in the balcony. Steven ordered himself a midnight steak. Lucy entertained us by listing famous people who you wouldn’t expect to be Canadian but are, and told some horrendous cheese jokes. Everyone had a great time. A good end to a brilliant day.

Atentamente
Daniel

Thank you to Kirsty for her wonderful photo of us having lunch