The Traveling Taubs recently returned from Bogota, Colombia. Colombia has always been on our list of countries to visit. When Dr. Joe Dispenza added a workshop in Bogota, we signed up for it right away.

There was some concern from our parents on both sides as they remember crazy stories on the news in the 1980’s of Colombia being a drug capital with kilos and kilos of cocaine being grown in the mountains and trafficked through illegal channels into the US. The Netflix series “Narcos” probably doesn’t help that image even though 90% of it is fiction.

We happily found Bogota to be a beautiful city with amazing sights, heritage, food and lovely people. It seemed much safer to me than most parts of Chicago. There were some police and lots of private security guards everywhere.The street art was beautiful and everywhere.

We booked an Airbnb in the area of town called Gran América just blocks from our workshop we were attending. It was in a high rise built probably in the 1960’s. It had a beautiful view of the city. It did not have a/c, neither heating nor cooling. Bogota has a very mild climate. It sits high (about 8400′) in the Andes Mountains. January is actually their summer and temperatures varied between 50’s at night and 60s-70s during the day.

One of the best things about Colombia for Americans is the exchange rate. It was 3,400 pesos to$1. It made us feel RICH!!!

A friend had told me that quite a few crew members for Spirit and Jet Blue love in Colombia and commute to the Fort Lauderdale bases because the cost of living and exchange rate make it worth the 3.5 hour flight to and from work every week.

Our first night, our lovely foodie friend Eileen found a wonderful restaurant called Tabula. wasn’t even supposed to be open on a Wednesday night, but it was! And it was an amazing kick off to our weekend. We ordered lots of food and drinks and the bill came to a whopping $80-ish US. This dinner would have easily set us back $200-$300 in Chicago.

We had an amazing “steer shin” as it was referred to in the English menu. You could literally slice the meat off with the side of your spoon!

And one of the most impressive things we ate was the dessert which was a deconstructed guava cheesecake that was to die for!

We booked a coffee experience with Leandro from Divino Cafe Especial. https://www.divinocafeespecial.comHe showed us how to “cup” coffee to taste it. He was very nice and he and his wife have an excellent coffee shop in the La Candelaria district. He had 2 coffees for us to compare. Eileen and I failed miserably and picked what was basically Folgers. Hans did better until he switched at the very last cupping to “Folgers”. I refuse to feel bad about it. I like what I like! All in all, it was very educational. I think the Japanese siphon method is my favorite and it looks really cool, too, like a chemistry lab project.

Leandro was very informative also about how important the sale of their hand-grown Colombian coffee is to the farmers and their families who rely on their products to make a living. I will try to be more conscious in the future and make the copious amounts of money we spend on coffee do more good for everyone.

Hans’ sister Kiersten flew in and met us in time for a tour of the city. Beyond Colombia offers great free tours of the city by signing up for a tour online. Our tour guide’s name was Hector and he gave us a truly wonderful and informative tour of Bogota peppered with a lot of history and perspective. Taking a snack break on our free Bogota tour and sampling the local fire water called chi-cha which tasted like cider, Kiersten observed.

The Botero Museum is worth a visit when in Bogota. It is free and filled with the works of the artist Fernando Botero.

One of the Colombian products I was most excited to try was the infamous “coca tea” from the leaves of the plant that they harvest cocaine from. It is supposed to be good for your heart and brain, promotes alertness and helps you combat altitude sickness. It wasn’t quite the jolt I expected, but it did seem to help with the altitude.

We also tried coca wine which tasted exactly like Robitussin, gave me exactly zero on the buzz scale and a fierce headache over my left eye. In other words, don’t bother! Yuck.

We didn’t just eat and drink our way through Bogota and then sit on our rears all weekend meditating in a Dr. Joe workshop. We hiked Monserrate which is the mountain that overlooks Bogota. It was a workout! But the breeze and the view at the top made it so worth the exertion. It was a beautiful view going up and the trip was wide and paved. We took the cable car down the mountain or we could have opted for the funicular railway.

The street markets were pretty amazing. Lots of great shopping. There was even a guy composing poetry on a typewriter in English or Spanish. How original is that?!Eileen opted for a poem in Spanish.

a local llama.

The workshop occupied most of our weekend, but Dr. Joe pushed through the breaks on Sunday so we got out a little bit early and, once again, our resident foodie, Eileen, picked an amazing spot for dinner called El Gato Gris on the edge of the La Candelaria district. It was very lively for a Sunday night. They had a wonderful band playing. We were seated at a table next to a fireplace at the very tippy-top of the restaurant on the roof with a beautiful view of the Monserrat Sanctuary on top of the mountain, all lit up! We highly recommend El Gato Gris!

We would have like to have continued our travels to Cartegena or Medillin but we had stateside plans to visit Hans’ cousins and Tante Huldie in Key Largo. Kiersten did go on to Cartagena and liked it there.

It is always good to leave something to come back for, and I feel like we did that with Colombia. I look forward to being able to return to explore more in the future!

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