Hockey in Canada is like Soccer in Colombia, it takes precedence over everything. It borders on religion, and being a massive footy fan, I have had the dream since I was a child to attend a match in South America. Today I got that chance.
Olli headed to Cali, and we agreed to meet in Ecuador in Montanita. I told him “if you trust me, you will NOT dare miss this place … see you in Montanita” and sent him off into a taxi. Taylor would be flying to meet up with me there, and I was excited to introduce these awesome guys to each other. I had plans to meet someone that my friend from Medellin had told me I must connect with, so I jumped on the transmilenio intercity transportation and headed to Heroes station to meet Juliana. I told her I would be wearing a long sleeve red Team Canada Hockey shirt and would have a stupid confused look on my face. She picked me out in a second and introduced herself. Jumping with energy we headed off to go check out some sights around Bogota. I told her about my love for sport, and soccer, and we arranged to meet in a couple days again, with my other friend Cindy (originally from Bogota but lived in Vancouver for a long time) and we would go see one of the local teams in Bogota, Los Millonarios play Boyaca Chico FC.
New Millonarios supporters!
As I took too long bartering a guy outside the stadium for a knock off jersey, and as we were walking in, we heard a roar from the crowd, Millonarios (the team I adopted) had already scored, less than 3 minutes in! We filed into the stadium, right at center, about 10 rows back, that might not as well have had seats because the whole game everyone was standing! The atmosphere was immense with the home team Millonarios leading early, however, early in the second half Chico curled a gorgeous free kick into the top corner, and the game was tied 1-1. The crowd let out a bit sigh of disappointment but the stand across from us would not stop jumping around and dancing. This energy would pay off.
As the game looked like it was coming to a close, and would end as a draw, a lofty ball was floated over the top into the box, cleared back out and some unit absolutely smashed a low drive into the bottom corner! 2-1 Millonarios! Stole the “W” in the 4th minute of injury time! The place went absolutely mental, as you can see from the video I shot in the stadium!
Millonarios fans never stop jumping!
Video of the stadium reaction, Bogota, Colombia
Going to a sporting event always has the ability, on any given day, to be a poor game and leave you disappointed. Even as this game was heading for a draw, I was more than happy with the atmosphere and the experience and to have the home team steal a late victory was just icing on the cake. No matter who you are, sports fan or not, I would say going to a game is definitely one of the best things to do in Bogota.
Last couple days in Bogota were relaxing, spent seeing more of the city with Juliana, buying a few things I needed for the rest of my trip, meeting some of her friends and eating a lot of Colombian food. They love to break bread with friends and I cannot complain!
Juliana and I in Bogota, Colombia
Colombia has to be one of my favourite countries in the world, and if someone were to ask exactly why, in one reason or even a few, I don't think I could give it. The people, scenery, things to do, history, beauty (in more ways than one) are definitely reasons, yes, but its no more incredible than many other countries in the world, it just has a feeling when you are there, that you really know you are far from home, and in historic latin america. Coupled with the fact that Colombia has such a tainted and misinterpreted reputation, what you come to find is something so opposite. Something really special.