not every place can be perfect

Whether you set off to see an entire continent, country or just a new city, you inevitably hope to love it, or at least enjoy it. But, what do you do when you've taken days off, a long journey and your hard earned spending money only to arrive somewhere it turns out you'd rather not have gone?

This is what happened to us in Bogotá, Colombia. 

In the last year we have a learnt a number of things; beer is often cheaper than water, living without a phone is incredibly liberating, Andrew can sometimes get more than three days out of a pair of pants, and capital cities are frequently best avoided. 

However, with Colombia fast becoming our favourite country in Latin America we had somewhat higher expectations for Bogotá.  

We had visions of cruising along the city's famous cycle paths, exploring the iconic street art, taking the rickety funicular to Cerro Monserrate, enjoying great coffee in quirky little coffee shops, coming to understand exactly WHY the Gold Museum is the #3 thing to do in Colombia in the Lonely Planet and becoming acquainted with some of the renowned nightlife.

We accepted that we might be a little cold, but what we did not expect was to feel like we'd taken a wrong turn and ended up in Manchester (great British city, but it rains, A LOT!)

Throw in a crappy hostel, one bar's request of $24,000 for two beers, the appalling lack of decent nightlife in the much-hyped Candelaria and a perpetual grey haze that hung over the city and you might begin to realise how we got through almost two seasons of Game of Thrones whilst we were there.

bogota, colombia

I don't want to be too harsh. If you don't mind soggy feet and pale skin, then for Colombians and some ex-pats, Bogota is probably a great city to live in. There are wonderful restaurants, malls filled with fantastic shops, lots of cultural events, job opportunities not available in most of the country and a more cosmopolitan population. But, for the tourist, we just can't recommend it.

Perhaps it's one of the many cities in the world that, to fall in love with it, you need to have friends or family there to show you around it, to help you get under its skin. 

I write this from a balcony in Cali, it's 1 a.m. and it's still warm enough to be wearing shorts. Cali, a city famous for two things - the cartel and salsa - is rather low-key. A lot of tourists just pass right through. You don't know what to expect, so you expect very little. Sometimes, perhaps, this is better.

With hundreds of articles available about almost any place at just the click of a button, at least a handful replete with jaw-dropping photography, it is sometimes easy to see too much, too soon, before you've even left your apartment or got on a plane.

Google images has a lot to answer for.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't do any research, and you're completely within your rights to look at beach porn when you're having one of 'those Monday mornings', but try not to pin all your expectations on one great blog article - we're not always right :)

But most importantly, if somewhere just isn't the 'right fit', remember that you can leave. So what if you planned to spend a week? YOUR perfect place might only be a few hours away.

We didn't enjoy Bogota but LOVED the rest of Colombia. Check out why!