Something Special in Bogota

Something Special in Bogota


On Monday we enjoyed a really good presentation by Steve Fraser (, a very practical discussion with examples and case studies from the UK in connection with air quality measurement, etc.  One of the training sessions for the Contraloria General de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia, on behalf of IKV Pax Christi.

After concluding the working part of the day, we were met with a lot of rain (and a dire shortage of available taxi’s) on the full streets of Bogotá.  We waited in vain at a few different spots, and eventually decided to walk towards an area where there would be a better chance of catching a taxi.  On the way there, our translator and guide Jan Wybe Oosterkamp had a brilliant flash of inspiration and we walked towards Ricardo’s bookbinding workshop where Jan Wybe usually has his notebooks made for him, by hand.

The plan was to have a look at this workshop and get a taxi from there.  Once inside, however, we were welcomed profusely, and ushered into a little “museo” with examples of bookbinding, some prints on the wall, and various tools of the trade that could easily have doubled as medieval torture equipment.  A selection of chairs and stools were brought in, and we were seated around a little glass table.   Shortly thereafter, four Belgian beers (yes, Delirium Tremens..!) were delivered and we certainly enjoyed them!

Delirium Tremens in Bogota

From the Museo we could look into the workshop where half a dozen people were trimming pages, sewing pages together, glueing attractive covers onto books and various other activities.  Very good to see true artisans with real skills, making high-quality, unique items.

The beers tasted really good and didn't last long, even at 8,5% alcohol.  At this point, a bottle of whiskey (labeled “Something Special“, let's not guess where it was made…) turned up, as did 4 whiskey glasses.

Enjoying Something Special in the Museo

All this hospitality was free and we purchased a couple of hand-made books.  Eventually a taxi was called for us and we left, … reluctantly.  A remarkable ending to a great day.