Last Wednesday I headed to Usaquen, famous for all its restaurants and market “de las pulgas” (on Sunday). I have always tended to go to the places that are in the main street that surround the main place because this is where the most famous coffee shops are and then I have got used to go to those same places. However on last Wednesday I went to a different coffee shop “Café Usaquen”- which I had never heard of before, it is located in a small street on the right of the big church.
I felt somewhere between France, Colombia and Argentina, first of all because of the decoration of the place: small tables, old typewriters on the second floor and some other pieces of art. All these elements create a relaxed atmosphere and made me feel that I could spend the whole afternoon there (well I couldn’t as when I got there because it was already 7 pm).
Now about the food, I ate an Argentinian empanada with meat which are to me one of the best empanadas (they are cooked in the oven and the pastry is different from the Colombian ones), I didn’t have the chance to taste their cakes that look delicious, however they have different choices from the classic chocolate cake to the most particular with Colombian tastes.
I drank a cappuccino and it was exquisite, on the top of it cinnamon and caramel to give a mild flavor.
The specialty of this coffee shop is not only coffee but also wine. One of the owners is a sommelier so you can be sure that you will taste the best wines of South America, you can also do wine tasting there!
I recommend you to go to that place after your visit to the market or during a rainy day to enjoy it from a comfortable sofa.
On the past weekend I went with a friend to Medellín over the weekend. Because we were a bit early at the airport (probably my german culture😉 ) we had some time to visit “Crepes & Waffles”. “Crepes & Waffles” is a really famous restaurant chain here in Colombia. People are crazy about it. The prices aren´t high and the taste is really delicious. It doesn´t matter if you go for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You definitly will have a great time.
But back to our trip. After arriving in Medellín we took a public taxi to get to the city. The airport of Medellín is about 45 minutes located outside of the city. With a public taxi (8 persones) it costs 15.000 Pesos to get there.
We didn´t make a lot of plans, so on Saturday we made a spontaneous bustour through the city. There was the beautiful Botero plaza, the fantastic botanical gardens, the metro and so much more. We really enjoyed our day there. And the weather was just perfect. You can leave your jackets in your hotel – without any second guessing . Just take an umbrella with you. Thats all. In the end we went to a little café to talk about the day.
Well on Sunday the time was already passed. We had a great time and came back to Bogotá with a small delay but more important healthy and happy!
When i went to the market last week i bought some mangostans to try them for you. And trust me – you really should try them as well.
The fruit is roughly as big as a small tomato. The leatherly, purple shell is a bit thick and should be opened with a knife or both of your tumbs. I guess the more common way is using your tumbs. Once you opened the fruit you find the white, juicy pulp. The tast is just great. It reminds you of lychee, apricot, peach…and I don´t know what else. But trust me – it is really delicious.
You can eat the mangostan just fresh or also with some ice cream or other deserts. By the way, if the shell of the fruit is smooth and shiny, it is an indicator that the Mangostan is fresh. If the fruit is in contrary matt and woody it is an indicator for an older fruit.
The “Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao” is one of the biggest markets in Bogotá. The idea was 43 years ago to combine all markets in one place. Today it is not the only one, but really typical and offers a great diversity of different products. Fish, meat, flowers, handicrafts, all kind of fruits are just some of the products. (Later this week i will write about what I bought). The fish is prepared fresh in front of your eyes. All different kinds of meat are available and are presented in the small corridors. The smell and the noise are from part to part very different on the market. Sometimes it is really loud and sticky, few steps further it is calm and smells like fresh flowers and spicery.
The market is opened every day from 3 am in the morning till midday. It is recommended to go in the morning about 7 am to experience the living market. Enjoy the negotiations between costumers and retailers and the screaming of the dealers leading attention to their products.
It is disadvised to visit the market on mondays, because there are the least retailers and products. So there are also not many people to enjoy the spectacle.
…to continue our little project. Yesterday I tried another fruit. The Granadilla. All the people told me, that I really, really have to try it, because it is so delicious. Well also they told me I just shouldn´t be disgussed by the consistens and appearance by the inside of the fruit . But first let us get some basic information.
The Granadilla belongs to the sort of passionfruits. It grows as lianes. The most common places for cultivation are in South- and Middleamerica as well as in Mexico. The fruit contains a lot of Vitamin C, Calcium and Natrium and has a positiv effect on your blood pressure as well as it calms you down.
If you go to a market you should make sure, that the granadilla is kind of heavy in comparison to its size. Also the fruit skin should be a little shriveled, but without any dent. If the skin is to smooth, it is a sign that the fruit was harvested to early – and that isn´t that good.
So we skip back – why the people tell me not to be disgussed by the consistens. Well the inside of the fruit is green and really slimy with a lot of black pips. So it reminds you of …
But after I tried it, I couldn´t stop anymore. It is really, really delicious!
For the weekend I went with 13 friends to a finca close to Villa de Leyva. On friday we left Bogotá about 2 o´clock – after about 8 hours drive we finally arrived. The traffic was really bad. All the traffic jams expanded the duration from about 4 hourse to twice as much time. But in the end we arrived happy and safe at our destination.
In the night we danced, had nice conversations while drinking the tipical drink here: aguardiente. After a long day we went to our beds to get a good night sleep. On the next day we stood up, had breakfast together and went to a small lake close to the finca just to swim, chat and relax. We headed back for having lunch. Afterwards we went to Villa de Leyva. The ride was about 20 minutes and I really enjoyed it! The environment around you is just beautiful with the huge mountains on the horizon, the interesting landscape and the twisty roads.
Villa de Leyva is a nice, little colonial town. The antique architectur of the houses and the old roads create a romantic atmosphere. The little stores with regional products and small backyards are underlining this in a lovely way. We lingered through the alleys before we stoped at a small café. After spending the afternoon in Villa de Leyva we went back.
The rest of the day we just relaxed at home. On the next day we went back to Bogotá and this time it was just a 4 hour ride.🙂
Bogotá invented the day without cars and motorcycles several years ago. On the 5th of February 1,5 Million cars and 400.000 motorcycles have to stay at home from 5 am in the morning until 7:30 pm in the evening.
You could ask yourself: …and why would a city like Bogotá do something like that? – The answer is quite simple. Pedestrians and cyclists are the most endangered groups who take part of the traffic. In the last 5 years there were more than 26.000 pedestrians injured. Since 2010 even 1300 pedestrians died .
Newspapers give pieces of advice on which factors you should pay attention to, if you haven´t used your bicycle for a longer time – to raise to safety although there are no cars and motorbikes in the street.
A great winner of this day are the Transmilenio and SITP – the two main bussystems. Their numbers of passengers are increasing on this day by 15%.
In my opinion it is a great way of illustrating a different perspective of moving. It is not necessary at all to take always the car or the motorcycle. There are many possibilities which we all can use. Take the bus instead, the bicycle or just go by foot. – But the question here is: Is the communication of this day enough? Do people understand the reason behind it that day? Do they see the importance? And do they start thinking different? Because if their only wish on this day is, to use their own car or motorcycle as fast as possible again- than something about this day doesn´t make sense at all.
What do you think? – Feel free to give your opinion about that day.