Unfortunately, when you are in Italy and people think about Colombia, the first image that comes to mind is narcotrafficking. It’s a wide spread the idea that this Latin American country is incredibly dangerous and so it’s better not to go visit it. Such a negative view is quite sad because Colombia is a country with amazing cities, landscapes and people.
I believe I’m lucky because I had the opportunity to meet many Colombian people before coming to Bogotá - people who introduced me to the most salient cultural aspects such as music (it’s not a stereotype, Colombians really love music and dance!), literature and arts. Because of this I’ve never fallen for the typical preconceptions, arriving here with a sort of Colombian ‘cultural baggage’.
I’ve also read many things about La Candelaria. I’ve discovered that it’s one of the most important cultural centers of the country and when I arrived here one week ago I was very surprised by the variety of cultural events it offers. In fact every day there are several plays, concerts and arts exhibitions so it’s impossible to get bored!
If I had to use one adjective to describe this wonderful ‘barrio’, it would undoubtedly be colourful. Each building has different color, from green to orange and red, and many houses are also covered by graffiti. In this way La Candelaria is an interesting mix of ancient and modern, it conserves its traditional aspect but at the same time it’s a vibrant and avant- guarde place.
Another thing that I really love about La Candelaria and Bogotá in general is its artisanal tradition which includes the production of jewellery, clothes and interior design objects. One place I would suggest to people who are interested in handicrafts is surely Usaquén, a neighbourhood situated in the North part of Bogotá that every Sunday has an incredible artisanal market where it’s also common to see street performances.
Overall my first impression of Bogotá is positive. Sure, like every metropolis, traffic and overcrowded places can be a concern, but I think this is also part of the city charm!