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La belleza está en la calle

Our landlord decided to start construction in the house during our stay. Once, water came through the ceiling in the dining room and whole walls were torn down with a hammer next to our apartment. (Part 1 Bogotá post: From Paris to Bogotá) We were assured several times that the noise level would go down, but it remained loud. After 8 months of staying in Airbnbs, we thought, the one time we are going to ask Airbnb for help and especially in such an extreme situation, they will provide us with an alternative apartment, as it is promised in their AirCover policy which accompanies every single accommodation on their platform. It turns out the Get-What-You-Booked Guarantee are only empty words. Airbnb was reluctant to provide us with a similar accommodation, even though there were similar places available on the platform. We were writing and calling for 4 days, but they refused to book us a similar apartment. In the end we gave up and had the last 8 days of our stay refunded by the landlord and moved out.

We were lucky enough to find a nice apartment further north in El Chicó. The two apartments couldn’t have been more different. The first apartment we stayed in was on the ground floor of a house which had another apartment above it, and adjoining our apartment, a photo studio. We stayed in the former apartment of the photographer, who left Colombia in the 90s when the bombings and violence caused by Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels became unbearable. The apartment was a bit of a time capsule, with photographs of many 90s models he photographed, including Claudia Schiffer, on the walls. El Chicó is very different from Quinta Camacho, the latter consists to a large degree of cute small houses, while El Chicó features lots of tall buildings. Our apartment is on the 9th floor of a 14-floor building. With its big windows and distance from the ground floor, we were grateful that it proved much warmer than the previous apartment. The views of the surrounding mountains are also very beautiful and the security guys are very friendly as are most Colombians in general. The wealth inequality can be seen throughout the north of Bogotá and actually also southwards, when you drive along the Eastern Hills which form the natural border of the city towards the east. The buildings here all look extremely well-maintained and you see a lot of security. Colombia had the highest inequality of wealth distribution in Latin America in 2020…

We also made a trip to the Páramo ecosystem above Bogotá where we reached an elevation of 3500 m /11500 ft. Before arriving at the Matarredonda Ecological Park at close to 3400 m / 11150 ft, we saw a lot of cyclists making the steep climb on the road from Bogotá. You see a lot of Bogotanos taking their bikes for recreational rides on weekends, but I was surprised to see so many on that long and steep road, which definitely requires a solid fitness level. There were also a lot of police officers standing on the side of the street, which made me wonder if the cyclists or their expensive bikes needed protection.

Bogotá has a lot to offer culturally. There are tons of things happening every single day and there is a lot of beautiful street art to see too. I managed to go to a very good jazz concert by Natalia Rose in the local bookstore around the corner, and we went to an art fair in the cultural space called Espacio en Blanco where we were able to get one of the last screenprints of an amazing peace by Tavo Garavato. The print is titled “la belleza está en la calle” which is very fitting for Bogotá and all of its street art.

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