Last August I had a fantastic opportunity to visit Bogota for a few weeks while my husband was there for work. I’d never been to South America proper, and it promised to be an entertaining contrast to our current life in the capital of the Middle Kingdom. So, we happily packed our bags and went. My husband had to, y’know, work all day, which left me plenty of time to explore the city.
For the record, Bogota is beautiful. The city is at the very top of the South American continent, and at a very high altitude, which gives it this magical weather of 65-75 degrees (Farenheit) year round. The only drawback was that you have to bring an umbrella, coat and sunglasses every time you go out, because chances are it’ll rain and be cold or be sunny and roasting in the next hour. Be prepared, is all I’m saying. It was such a great contrast from August in Beijing, which was approximately 98 degrees, humid, and on top of that, smoggy and gross. (I know, I’m really selling you on ‘come visit China it’s awesome!’ right???)
I spent most of my days being a typical tourist – Lonely Planet in one hand, camera in the other. I visited museums, local parks, landmarks, ate a lot of food, and mostly just enjoyed being able to take really long walks in clean, clean air.
As a yarn-ist, Bogota is simultaneously awesome and depressing, because they have vast and gorgeous quantities of yarn, but at the same time a raging sidewalk hat/scarf business that pretty much negates any niche you might have selling anything handmade. Still fun to look at though.
Lunch time went like this: I’d point to a random item on the menu for about $5, and get something delicious like a huge bowl of pinto beans, chicharron (I think, which I think means crackling fried pork bits), rice, plantains, a tortilla, and a quarter of an avocado the size of my head. Suffice to say I gained about eight pounds those three weeks.
Plaza de Bolivar, the most iconic plaza in Bogota.
But who are we kidding? This is a yarn blog. Where’s the yarn? Well, after two weeks of traveling, exploring, and picture taking, I was whining about getting bored and tired of eating and walking all day long. My husband mildly pointed out “y’know, we’re in South America.” “right…?” “And y’know, South America has, like, a lot of llamas. And sheep. And other woolly animals…” “OMG DO THEY SELL YARN HERE???”
Anyway, long story short, I found a few local hobby shops that sold yarn, and they were crappy, but finally I found a shop called “Casa Rosada”. With map in hand, I ventured three miles south of our hotel. After extensive walking through very blah, 70’s institutional type brick buildings, imagine my amused surprise when I discovered the “pink house” really meant, THE PINK HOUSE:
Inside was a yarn lover’s dream. Not even so much the quantity of yarn, just the vast variety, textures, and obvious “local and homemade” quality of it.
After much debate, and really really bad Spanish, I came away with this:
Four skeins undyed wool, two kelly green, one huge scratchy turquoise, and two alpaca. Total cost? Somewhere around $75 USD. This stuff ain’t cheap, that’s for sure. I haven’t used any of it yet because I can’t find a pattern that’s worthy of the alpaca, and the turquoise wool is too scratchy for a scarf. Oh well, it was a fun experience. The shop alone was worth the trip, and I’ve already looked up yarn stores in our next post of Santiago, Chile. Bring it on!!!