By Sean Treichler, a passionate global traveler and avid swimmer/ocean-lover who is entering high school this fall in Orange County, California
| Located within the eastern Cordillera of the Andes and 8,660 feet above sea level, Bogotá is a city that has been held dearly in regards to all of my travel experiences. The high-paced, contemporary city not only enhanced my understanding of true culture and artistry, it augmented my spirit and morale through exposure of the capital’s true treasures.
Once landing at one of the busiest airports in all of South America, El Dorado International Airport, traffic and overcast weather engulfed my first sense of the city. This was Bogotá, Colombia.
The city is the capital of Colombia and the second most populous city in South America at 8.3 million. Exploring Bogotá definitely enhanced my understanding of city living, function, and purpose.
The cuisine and overall food was probably the main contribution to my excitement before flying to Bogotá. I have been able to experience and indulge in Colombian cuisine due to my mother’s Colombian heritage prior. However, being in the country with the people who know their preparations and methods best, fine street food can ultimately win in terms of intention over fine cuisine internationally elsewhere. Empanadas vary dramatically all over Latin America. From the differences in the outer shell to the mixture held within, there cannot merely be one type of empanada. In Bogotá, the outer casing is composed of a corn mixture and the filling consists of potato, meat, onion, and cilantro. These fried delicacies are paired with ají, a heavenly sauce consisting of tomato, seasoning, onion, cilantro, and ají peppers of course.
Ropa Vieja–literally named “old clothes”–is traditionally a Cuban dish, However, enjoying this meal in Colombia was a pleasure. Crisp plantain slices accompanied by a saucy, shredded beef combine to unleash the most energetic experience for your taste buds.
Fernando Botero, one of Colombia’s most celebrated and prized artists, donated some of his work to a museum in the La Candelaria district in Bogotá. That is where I saw some of the most adorable and humor-stricken paintings ever. His oversized, disproportionate style truly was a crowd pleaser.
For a little getaway from city life, my family and I traveled by car to a town by the name of Villa de Leyva. The town is comprised of whitewashed colonial buildings, cobbled lanes, and a vast plaza (the largest in all of Colombia to be exact).
To understand Colombia’s true history, we visited the former house of Antonio Nariño, an ideological forerunner of the independence movement of New Granada (present day Colombia) as well as the translator and writer of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man”. To this day, Nariño is a national hero to Colombia and is a well-respected military leader, politician, and articulate speaker. In his honor, the presidential palace of the Republic of Colombia, Casa de Nariño, was named after him and constructed at the site of his birthplace.
These pictures were taken at the battleground of one of the most critical battles towards Colombia’s independence.
The Battle of Boyacá was the decisive battle, which would ensure the success of liberating New Granada from the Spanish monarchy. On August 7th, Colombia celebrates Simón Bolívar’s ingenious military leadership and success on that day in 1819. His triumph would result in the complete liberation of northern South America from Spain.
Besides minor family feuds and the depressing weather, there is not necessarily anything negative I can say about my trip.
About the Author
Fourteen-year-old travel and adventure enthusiast, Sean Treichler, certainly values the morals behind his interpretation of travel, which are to appreciate each and every aspect of culture and identity, create opportunities for others to experience the same, and to be passionate about effectively conveying the experience for others. Sean expresses his gratitude of living by the ocean constantly and truly enjoys the water. He has swum in the elegant waters of the Fijian and Tahitian islands, is on the high school’s water polo team and swim team, and participates in his local junior lifeguard program. The piano and string bass are the instruments that Sean plays and he will be informed later this year whether he will be able to play in two of some of the most significant musical venues in the world: Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano, baking vegan cupcakes, messing around with his sisters, watching YouTube, swimming at either the pool or beach, questioning the logic of others, and assembling açai bowls.