Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

What’s the weather in Bogota….no way to know!!!


According to Weather Underground, it was supposed to be a warm day…NOT.  Michael called me right after he left the hotel and said that it was windy and cold!!!

As I started making my way to my first stop, I mused on the fact that I seem to be the only person who crosses the street quickly…especially when crossing against the light!!!

Now, over the last week, I have been trying to see inside two churches that were very close together.  At last one of them, Iglesia de Veracruz, had their door open when I passed,  

The mass was just finishing up when I entered, with a gorgeous pipe organ blasting the final anthem of the day.  It was beautiful, as was the church.  This one is very different from any I have seen as it is decorated with DARK, DARK wood carvings……


I took the photo of the church itself and then this photo in one of the alcoves…..


and then I saw the sign that said “No Photos”…..oops….

As I was leaving I could hear a pan flute playing quietly in the background and thought that it was a nice touch.  Then I realized that it was playing “The Sound of Silence” which seemed a bit strange. All was revealed when I stepped back out onto the street and realized that the music was coming from a street vendor just outside of the church!!

I walked across the street and entered the most attractive “Museo del Oro”.  This highly praised museum is filled to the brim with golden delights and I cant imagine how much money is represented here!!

The first gallery was about the people who worked the gold and it was noted that the goldsmiths were greatly respected and held dual status because of the technical and supernatural knowledge that they possessed.

The Peruvian Andes metallurgy was know for their hammered gold, even using small stones (some shaped like irons) to further smooth and flatted the gold….IMG_0891

Because the thin gold would crack during the process, they learned to heat the metal and then dunk it in cold water to give it more strength.  This is called annealing.

It was incredible to see how thin the gold could be cut and still not break….IMG_0895

There were many, many objects that had been made using a wax mold and I had never understood how it would work….I mean, wouldn’t the wax melt when the hot metal was poured onto it?

The answer came around the next corner when I shared a bench with 2 little girls and watched a video of the wax process.   It is done like this…..

First the wax is used to sculpt the object that you are going to make from gold.  Then clay is formed around the wax.  The clay is now heated so that the wax can melt and be poured out of the clay.  Now you have a clay mold that has the indentations from the wax…..see where it is going???   The  next step is to pour the metal into the clay  and allow the metal to fill up all of the holes left from when the wax was melted out.

Finally, the clay form is broken and the metal piece can be polished and brought to life.

Unfortunately this process only provides a one-of-a-kind piece of art!!

Many of the gold pieces that were displayed were taken from various sarcophagi that had been found.  This tomb had been carved out of a tree trunk ….


It looks to me like a person would have to be REALLY skinny to fit!!

This piece was used to cover the face of the deceased…..



I loved this mask, especially that it comes complete with earrings and a nose ring….IMG_0902


This stone stamp was used to put temporary tattoos on skin.  Love the design!!IMG_0904


These three nose rings were interesting.   The cut out area was placed in the nose and the circular part was to protect the mouth…..IMG_0908

The intricacy of the work was astonishing when you realized what tools they had to work with!!

By this stage….about gallery number 3…. my eyes started to glaze over and I reverted to my old habits of just looking at what caught my eye and not reading all of the descriptions.

These three are musical instruments (you blow into the “mouths”) but mostly  I loved the facial expressions….IMG_0910

The museum did a  magical job with their presentations.  In this display you could see the gold items that were found in the tomb, with the shadow behind showing the body that they were found with…..


The quilter in me found this design to be interesting….


The note about the design talked about their use and love of line and symmetry!!

One of the most interesting exhibits was a sound proof round room that you entered entirely in the dark.  One ingenious tourist pulled out their I-phone and lit our path.  Once inside, you started hearing the chants of a Shaman and the walls started being lit up to reveal beautiful gold treasures.   Many of the displays looked like birds or butterflies in flight.  It was very moving….


There was one display on the floor of the museum that was a movie of kids working on an “archaeological “ dig.  They divided the area into squares and then each child carefully cleaned out one square, revealing the “ruins” below.  The final analysis was that it was the site of two people laying on the beach listening to records, eating a meal and enjoying the surf.   It was a special demonstration!!!

I was impressed with the knowledge of the guides as they took small groups of people around the museum.   Even if I didn’t know what they were saying, they were emphatically proclaiming the history and beauty of the displays!!

I wandered further down the street and found a small “Cafeteria” where I could get a couple of Empanadas and a drink.  The only problem that I had with ordering this time was whether it was to eat there or to go!!

The Empanadas were excellent and I was surprised to find a boiled egg quarter in the middle of the meat!!  There was  a green sauce on the table and it was a savory addition to the pastry……


The pigeons that were wandering between the tables promptly ascertained that I was the one who was going to make a mess eating so they grouped around me hopefully.   I did not leave them wanting!!!

Now I was heading to an Art Gallery that I had seen a couple of days previously and knew that I needed Calle 11.  My plan was to continue walking down Carrera 7 and then turn left on Calle 11.  But first, I had to stop in to do some shopping in  one of the Vendor halls.   I think that my lack of English preceded me as I made my way up and down the aisles.  One gentleman talked to me  incessantly in broken English and was desperate to sell me a necklace, but I held my ground and kept walking.

I did buy a purse from a young couple who were so very friendly.  She spoke fairly good English and was so sweet.   After I had paid and was getting ready to leave, she brought out a braided bracelet in the  Colombia colors, tied it on my wrist and said that it would remind me to come back to Colombia!!!

I kept walking, switching every few minutes from my umbrella and coat to no coat and sweating.  The weather probably changed 20+ times during my hours out!!!

I found another religious icon store and went in looking for a Nativity scene.  I didn’t find one that would fit comfortably in my suitcase, but did find many HUGE icons and people were buying them as fast as they could.


I should have known better, but I decided to detour down Calle 12 so that I would miss some of the construction that was going on…..BAD move.   I never really figured it out, but Calle 12 is actually two or more streets….12, 12a, 12b etc.   I managed to turn myself around completely and ended up, 45 minutes later, back at the restaurant that I had eaten at…..SIGH!!!  I have decided that I have the most problems when I try to do anything with confidence.   That ALWAYS gets me in trouble.

So I took off again and didn’t stop until I hit Calle 11 and the Bolivar Plaza.

On one end of the Plaza is the Palace of Justice which houses the Supreme Court of Colombia.   This was the site of a Guerilla attack in 1985, killing several justices and holding 350 people hostage.  The military counterattacked and took the building back, but over 100 people were killed and the building was destroyed by fire. 


At the other end of the plaza is the Capitolio Nacional which houses the Colombian Congress. DSC04859

At last I found the Museo de Arte Del Banco de la Republica….a long name for a wonderful art gallery.

The exhibit halls were stunning with excellent lighting ……IMG_0957

I enjoyed this painting by Luis Alberta Acuna.   I am always intrigued by what true artists can do with small dots of paint!!!IMG_0939

I found two paintings that were side by side and found them extremely thought provoking.   They were both painted by Emiliano Villa and this one is call  “La meurte del Justo”  (The death of the just)


The next one is “La muerte del Reprobo” (basically…the death of the reprobate)….


The difference in the tone of these two paintings was captivating!!

I was drawn to this character lurking behind the bed of the second painting.  I thought that I could find something online about the painting, but haven’t had any luck so far…..can any of you artists help me out????  IMG_0966

One gallery contained only portraits of dead Nuns.  Supposedly each Nun’s portrait was painted twice….once when she first took her Orders and then soon after her death.   They were a bit eerie!!


I stumbled onto a kids area where they could experience different types art including fiber arts, drawing, painting, clay designs and shadow art.


It would be a fun place for a kid!!!


The museum had a massive modern art section, encompassing several galleries.  I found this guy intriguing….IMG_0987

There were guards in every room however he was standing outside of this particular gallery and he entered when I did.   The reason for his standing outside soon became clear.   There was one art piece that was made up of metal strips and it was jiggled by a small motor and made the most awful noise.  There was no way that he could have stood in there for any length of time without going completely crazy!!

I loved this piece……


….and even more when I realized that it was made up of stripes painted on the canvas and red glass strips running perpendicular to the painted stripes.

There was an entire floor of “installation” art, some of which was interesting and some was simply strange!!  There were two rooms dedicated to photos of some of the riots of past years.  Those were interesting, but what I really liked was the way that this display was presented…..


The photo was printed on glass and split into strips.  Then a bright light was shown thru the glass, reflecting onto the wall.   It was very effective!!

The most interesting (and frightening) exhibit was a small thin hallway that had mirrors on all sides that had a small wooden “bridge” that you walked across.  The problem is that the mirrors were all showing images of the ocean and the roaring of the ocean waves was very loud……


When I made my first step onto the bridge, I got dizzy and felt like I was going to fall off of the bridge.  I quickly stepped back and had a good look at the exhibit .  Surely there was more to the floor than just the bridge!!!!  Finally, I knelt down and made sure that there was a floor under the bridge so that I couldn’t fall off.  Of course there was and I knew that in my head, but had to check it out anyway!!!  This was the view looking over the edge of the bridge…..


It was a bit  eerie, but VERY cool art!!!

As I came down from the Installation Art, I noticed that there was a sign pointing to the Botero museum.  Since I had enjoyed his art so much the other day, I decided to check it out as well.

There were numerous galleries all filled with the pudgy Botero people…..IMG_1035

Even his flowers take on a roly-poly persona……

IMG_1001I love that he can even make his buildings and other inanimate things look rotund and in need of a diet…..IMG_1050

And to my quilting buddies, is this what we look like when at the machine???



This “Mona Lisa” was one of the most photographed and was one of my favorites…


I entered several other galleries and found much of Botero’s personal art collection.  He had quite a diverse eye for art.  Pieces included those by …..

….Henri MatisseIMG_1007

…..Pablo PicassoIMG_1010


…..Max Ernst…  I loved this painting called “Explosion in a Cathedral”.  I am sure that I was drawn to all of the triangles, diamonds and other shapes in the outer edges….IMG_1015


….Henri de Toulouse-LautrecIMG_1021

….Pierre-Auguste Renoir….IMG_1023

…..Claude Monet


….and MANY other artists that I didn’t recognize.

As I finally left the museum, the skies opened,  it started to pour rain, the wind started blowing and I was totally miserable for about 15 minutes.   At least I didn’t take any wrong turns in the rain…..that would have been debilitating!!!  Then, magically, the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was gorgeous by the time I reached the hotel.

One phenomenon that I did observe was that the streets were eerily quiet when it was raining.  Then I suddenly realized that all of the vendors had moved out of the rain and that was why it was quiet.  However, as soon as the rain stopped, they were all out again with their speakers blasting out slogans of what they were selling!!

We were met by Henry and Juliana this evening and enjoyed a wonderful meal at a restaurant called La Taparia, and yes we had Tapas!!!   Six wonderful dishes starting with…..

….potatoes in cheese sauce  (fairly spicy)…..


….a plate of various sausages and cheeses…..it was magnificent….DSC04866

….fried Calamari with a spicy sauce……..


…..a beautiful grilled Eggplant with cheese and tomatoes…..DSC04869

…..glorious sautéed mushrooms….you can see how hot they were…..DSC04870

….and finally a plate of fried chicken with a spicy sauce….yes, we bought chicken wings!!!!


All in all, we had a wonderful day but were VERY tired at the end……

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