A New Mural for Bogotá Bike Tours

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Our new mural, by Atempo.

The past few days Diego Malaver, who also guides tours for us, and his fellow grafitero Mateo Ayala, who paints under the tag ‘calma’, and are both members of the Atempo Colectivo, replaced Bogotá Bike Tours years-old mural in with a new, more dynamic one. What do you think?

 

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Lunch at Caribe y Coco

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A KLM crew dining on fish in Maria’s place.

During our tours we usually stop in the Las Nieves neighborhood to taste fruits in the market, and then walk across the street to the Campo de Tejo Los Bucaros for a game of Colombia’s national sport: a bizarre combination of heavy metal flying objects, gunpowder and alchohol.

While we’re doing this, we often park our bikes in the rack which Doña Maria has helpfully located on the sidewalk in front of her fish restaurant, Coco Caribe, on Calle 20 between Carreras 8 and 9. And, the other day, a KLM crew decided to have lunch in Maria’s place, on her large second floor, where Maria serves cazuelas, sancochos, fish that’s fried and sudado, and of course ceviche!

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Caribe and Coco, on Calle 20, with its handsome bike rack.

 

 

 

 

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Visiting San Augustín in Bogotá

The  real San Agustín is a park in southern Colombia, not too far from the Ecuadorean border. It’s a beautiful place to visit, with mysterious centuries-old statues created by a lost civilization. But, while San Agustín is wonderful to visit, it’s also a long way away – a 15-hour bus ride, in fact.

During our bike tours, we sometimes visit Bogotá’s own ‘San Agustin’: A collection of monument reproductions in a small park in the Santa Fe neighborhood.

No, it’s not exactly the same. But it is lots closer and easier to get to.

 

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A Lesson on Colombia’s Coffee Economy

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Julian, of Cafe de la Fonda, explains Colombia’s coffee industry.

Today, Julian, owner of the Café de la Fonda, a coffee roaster/café which we usually visit explaining coffee 3during bike tours, gave an impromptu explanation to a group of Spanish-speaking cyclists about Colombia’s coffee production.

This has been an almost-record year for Colombian coffee, damaged only by torrential rains.

Julian travels regularly to Europe to participate in coffee fairs, where he offers his beans.

Julian explained how the best coffee is often grown at the highest altitudes – above 2,000 meters – altho the plants also grow more slowly at this elevation, reducing production. Colombia has a main and a secondary harvest, but Julian said that he can find coffee to buy somewhere in the cordillera any time of the year. He rides about on his motorcycle bargaining with farmers and arranging deliveries.

Besides altitude, the soil type, weather and the coffee plant’s genetic make-up all influence the coffee’s final taste.

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A view of Café de la Fonda’s roasting plant, which uses a half-century-old German-made batch roaster.

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Visiting Bogotá’s Own Basque Country

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By a reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s painting commemorating the ravaging of Guernica.

Many Basque people have done our bike tour, but few have expressed the pride in their

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The park has plaques in both the Spanish and Basque languages.

heritage of this couple. We visited Bogotá’s Parque Vasco, a small park in the Teusaquillo neighborhood with a memorial to the Basque Country’s most tragic episode: the savage April 1937 bombing of the town of Guernica, carried out by Nazi warplanes, practicing for the coming horrors of World War II.

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In front of the Basque Cultural Center.

While Guernica was a rehearsal for the Nazis’ later blitzkrieg warfare, which was to destroy countless European cities, it turned out that this Basque couple came from towns near Guernica which the Germans had bombed as practice for the attack on Guernica itself. Many have suggested that if Francisco Franco’s Nazi-backed forces had not won in Spain, Hitler would have had second thots about invading Europe.

Guernica Park contains plaques, some of them in the Basque language, and a reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s famed work memorializing the tragedy of the attack. Across the street is the Basque Cultural Center, which gives classes in Basque culture and language.

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Examining a monument in the Basque Park.

 

 

 

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A Visit to Paloquemao’s Flower Market

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Bogotá Bike Tours often visits the famous Paloquemao Market to taste Colombia’s huge variety of tropical fruits, but not usually early enough to experience the flower market in full bloom. But recently we did, and the flowers were particularly impressive for this Dutch couple. Colombia, after all, is the world’s second-largest flower exporter – after Holland.

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The Orange Wave

Dutch cyclists with orange necklaces in Paloquemao fruit market.

Dutch cyclists with orange necklaces taste uchuvas in Paloquemao fruit market.

If only the whole world were a lot like The Netherlands, then bike tours would be a huge business, and the world would be a much better place.

At Bogotá Bike Tours we normally get Dutch riders in numbers far out of proportion to ciclovia naranjathat tiny nation’s size. But these last few days we’ve received a big burst of Orange-suited riders, commemorating Dutch King Willem-Alexander’s 48th birthday.

Yesterday, the Embassy of the Netherlands organized a ‘Ciclovía Naranja’ as part of the city’s normal Sunday/holiday Ciclovía, for which they rented some of our bikes. Today, an orange-dressed crew from the Dutch airline KLM did the bike tour – and even oranged up their bicycles.

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As you can see, even the bikes are dressed in orange!

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An orange-dressed man lifts a bore, a kind of vegetable, in Paloquemao market.

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Playing Colombia’s official national sport, tejo, in orange flower necklaces.

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Dutch in period dress during La Ciclovia Naranja on Sunday. (Photo: Jaime Carvajal)

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(Photo: Jaime Carvajal)

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Final three pics are from the Dutch embassy’s Facebook page.

Blog by Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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