I love Bogotá, I love the energy, the buzz in the air, I love the hipsters in Chapinero and the small tiendas, I love sitting in a café and people watching, I love the public displays of affection, the longboarders riding down the street, the runners on the ciclovia, the business men in suits licking traditional Colombian ice-creams. I love it all.
But sometimes, when the city, the cold weather and the traffic all get a bit too much, I like to have a nice trip outside Bogotá for the weekend – to get some sticky weather on my skin, to wear shorts, to see and travel through the Colombian country-side. I tend to go to La Mesa, which is about 2 and a bit hours from Bogotá by bus.
La Mesa is about 60km from Bogotá and is part of the Cundinamarca department. It is called La Mesa, or The Table, because it’s perched atop a plateau.
The main drag in is filled with small tiendas, there is the usual square with an impressive church and people laze about casually in the heat. But it is when you make your way up to the hills that La Mesa really lets you relax.
High in the Colombian mountains, not far from the main street in town, there is a family that picks fruit from their own trees, they swing from hammocks in the dry heat and make juice from sugarcane. They have a finca in La Mesa and it was there that I pitched my tent in their front yard for a few nights.
I visited with four friends, Australian, Scottish, English and Colombian, and the family welcomed us warmly with tea and welcoming smiles. We’d just spent two days camping in Tobia but we were ready to extend our trip and hold off on returning back to Bogotá for a few more days. After spending our time flying over mountains on flying foxes, enjoying our time hiking in Colombia and rafting down the Rio Negro, we decided that a trip back to Bogotá could wait.
We stopped by la finca with our backpacks packed, sleeping bags ready and a plan to fall asleep in front of the fire in the front yard. We gazed quietly at the sky and watched the moon shine through the light veil of the clouds. “Soon the heavens will open up and we will see the stars,” my Colombian friend said. The heavens did indeed open and we sat, stargazing, in awe of the moon, the sky, the stars and the mountains that embraced us tenderly from afar.
If you’re looking to escape Bogotá this weekend, why not head over to La Mesa for some warm weather, fresh air and some relaxation.