Today was filled with so many firsts. I had my first photography lesson, because Oliver is tired of me telling him to take another picture of a flower or plant during our visit to the Bogota Botanical Gardens. I was used to just stopping and pointing at what I wanted photographed. It was rather fun traveling with my own personal photographer. He finally said, you have a camera use it. If you know Ol, the delivery was all in his facial expression. So, out came my new iPhone and after a few tips, I must say I am rather proud of the results. So be forewarned, I will be sneaking in a few flora and fauna pictures in our upcoming travels.
The second first, can only be appreciated if you are married to someone famous. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, deep in the Mexican jungle, a beach in Spain or the streets here in Colombia, it seems daily people point at my cute husband and say “Richard Gere Richard Gere!” So today to my surprise, I had some school girls run up to me while I was deep into my new hobby, flower photography. I thought they wanted me to take their picture. No, they wanted to take a picture with me! As their teacher took the picture, you should have seen Richard Gere standing on the sidelines! Ol, could tell that I was clearly perplexed and was quick to point out that the plants weren’t the only exotic species here. I quickly realized that my fair skin and red hair do stand out a bit.
Bogota’s Botanical Gardens features plants from every Colombian altitude, climate and region and specializes in preserving and collecting Andean species of flowers. It is still difficult to wrap my brain around tropical flowers with year round 60 degree temperatures!
The garden groups plants on over 20 acres according to their original ecosystems. I loved the orchid collection and the flowers of the Amazon. It was fun to see what so many flowers from home would grow into if we didn’t have our heat and humidity or the occasional freezing temperatures. I saw so many of our flowering plants from home grown into trees and vegetable plants such as peppers and artichokes that were decades old with thick twisting trunks.
After a lovely morning and lunch, we grabbed a taxi and headed to Monserrate a mountain that dominates the city center of Bogota. It rises 10,341 feet above sea level and is home to a 17th century church. The church is beautiful, but the view and bronze stations of the cross are spectacular.
The summit contains restaurants, shops and is a pilgrim destination during holy weeks. You can hike to the top, ride a funicular, or take an aerial tram. We decided to take the funicular on the way up and the tram on the way down. Tickets were $6 each. So much for our Andes hike preparation. We stayed for the sunset and then accidentally stole someones cab (more about this in an upcoming post on Bogota's transportation).