Today’s post is written by Sara Romes * from See Colombia Travel’s sales department:
I have a confession to make…I am not a city girl. I’ve never lived in a city with a population above 3 million people. So when I moved to Bogota, with nearly three times that amount, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I was used to being around more trees and green spaces and less buildings and traffic. Naturally I have since learned to seek out some of those things that I was used to having in my surroundings.
People in Bogota find ways to get out and exercise. Be it on the Ciclovia on Sundays, on a covered football pitch located on a main throughway in Bogota, or jogging early in the morning before heading off to work. I’ve played Ultimate Frisbee since I was in high school, so naturally that is the first thing I sought out when I moved here. And as it turns out, there are dozens of amateur teams and professional ones that play in tournaments all around the country! So my Sunday sport of choice is playing with an amateur group. We play alongside 10 other games happening simultaneously…all Sunday long. There are Frisbees flying everywhere! My favorite part is that we play on an old Polo field, so the grass is smooth and free of rocks or unexpected dips. I happily play without shoes most of the time!
Running a 15k
Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I tackled a new feat: we ran our first 15k. We trained and ran with 10,000 other people around the streets of Bogota early in the morning for the3rd Annual Allianz 15k. It was a beautiful day to be going out for a long run. My favorite moment, that I will never forget, was right at the beginning of the race.
As soon as we funneled out of the starting line-up, it was silent. We were running with hundreds of people around us, but the only thing we could hear was the patter of shoes hitting the pavement. It sounded like rain. And given that not hearing any traffic in Bogota is a rare gift, I will forever treasure that moment. Each kilometer was well marked along the route, and we quickly hit our slow but steady pace of 7km per hour. Scattered along the way were bystanders who were obviously amazed at the sea of people wearing white shirts that seemed to just keep coming and coming. Some decided to cheer us on. To my surprise, people of every age and shape were running! There was a guy walk/running with a portable radio, shouting pro-Colombian cheers. There were old guys flying past us that we never caught up to. There were pear-shaped men and women who had decided to walk the race. Good for all of us. We all did it! Around the 10km mark, I started to feel it. I could tell that some blisters were developing on the arch of both of my feet. My hips were starting to ache. But we had already made it 10km!! I was not about to stop. We pushed through the next 5km, and picked up the speed for our last kilometer. We finished at 1:42 minutes. I still cannot believe that we actually ran 15km nonstop, and that we completed it so quickly! I’m so proud. Upon completion, I promptly took off my shoes and had a good long stretch. It turns out part of my birthday present this year is the entrance to Bogota’s Half Marathon at the end of July! So running obviously is now a part of my weekly routine.
Rock climbing in Suesca
Last weekend we spontaneously decided to join a group of people heading out of Bogota to do a little rock climbing. Suesca is located 45 minutes from Bogota, and the scenery is absolutely stunning. The rocks look as though they’ve grown long, wizard-like beards. Eucalyptus trees let off the scent of their leaves. The Bogota River flows nearby, free from the contamination that awaits it further downstream. The weather is cold and windy, but when the sun comes out it warms you through and through.
This was my first time climbing on a side of a mountain: I’ve done some bouldering in a rock gym and I’ve climbed a rock wall a couple of times while working at a summer camp, but I’ve never been on a real rock face. It is intimidating. As you stand farther away from the rock, it looks like it should be easy. But when your face is 6 inches from the face of it, it’s a bit tougher to see that route you thought you saw just a few minutes earlier. It’s a great experience, though. You have to confront your fears – of heights, of falling, of trusting the rope. You have to push through shaking legs and exhausted fingertips to try and make that next step upward. It was incredible. And surprisingly, I climbed much higher than I would have imagined! We had a nice BBQ and a fire, and all in all it was a really great (and cheap!) way to spend a weekend outside of the city.
“In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
* More by Sara here: Blonde female solo traveler in Colombia