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This chaos of somewhere between 9 and 12 million people, no functioning public transport system, worst air quality in South America and a constant traffic noise that drives me crazy… It kind of makes anyone need a break. I usually spend most Friday afternoons persuading and insisting on us making a weekend or Sunday trip to get out of Bogotá. Not necessary any longer!

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We’ve found a paradise in the city.

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Quebrada la Vieja. A short walk from the intersection between Calle 71 and Avenida Circunvalar in Chapinero, in the middle of Bogotá.

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It should maybe not be a surprise, that we have all these trails and waterfalls just nearby, when we live by the mountainside of los Cerros Orientales, but these green mountains have always been an unexplored terrain for the majority of inhabitants of Bogotá. (Amazing air photo by Miguel Ángel Julio from the website of Bogotá Municipality.)

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Partly due to a rightful fear of assaults, these amazing public spaces have not been accessed by more than a few mountain enthusiasts and many a thief over the last twenty years. This is changing rapidly now.

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There is police presence from 5-9 am on weekdays and until noon on the weekends for Quebrada la Vieja. The other trail Quebrada las Delicias until 10 am on weekdays and 4 pm on weekends.

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Quebrada la Vieja is more varying and bit more challenging trail than its neighboring Delicias. It begins in a green wood of indigenous species mixed with high Eucalyptys trees.

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The trail goes up, up, up.

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Until the landscape changes radically.

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Because we reach a páramo! After only a two hours walk from the city of Bogotá.

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Without any need of taking car or bus or leaving Bogotá. Read more about what the beautiful autochtonous Colombian landscape “páramos” is, in these two posts from Ocetá and Iguaque.

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The dense Eucalyptus-smelling forest air becomes crispy and cold when we reach 3000 meters above sea level.

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The ground is full of frailejones, the particular páramo plant that only grows in Colombia and two of its neighbouring countries.

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But at the same time, Bogotá is visible below us.

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It feels absolutely wonderful to see the city from this angle. The traffic noise doesn’t reach me and I recover a more sensible perspective on life in Bogotá.

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Batteries charged for a new week in our chaotic but beloved hometown. If you have experience of hiking los Cerros Orientales, especially if you know how to get to Quebrada del Río Arzobispo, I would be ever so happy to hear of your experiences!

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