Published: March 30th 2009March 30th 2009
View from the top of Cerro Monserrate
There were wonderful panoramic views from the top.
Today I planned to go up the fenicular to Cerro Monserrate - one of the steep hills surrounding Bogata. At over 3,000 metres above sea level it offers great panoramic views of the city. On top of the hill there is a beautiful little historic church with a statue of Señor Caido (the fallen Christ) to which is attributed many miracles. The path from the top of the fenicular to the church had 14 bronze sculptures of the stations of the cross. When I came back down I strolled around the east side of the city, but nothing of any great interest there. Bogota is so large and widespread - a city of over 7 million people. The weather is distinctly colder than the other places I´ve been in, because of its height above sea level. However the sun is strong when it comes out, being directly overhead - it´s easy to get burned.
I decided to make the journey out to the Catedral del Sal (the Salt Cathedral) at Zipaquira - a town about 50 kms out of Bogota. I bought some tickets for the transmilenio - a double length bendy city bus, similar to those in London,
Señor Caido (the Fallen Christ)
This statue is above the altar inside the church in Cerro Monserrate, to which many miracles are attributed.
but more effective as they have their own lanes and there are plenty of them. This took me to the outskirts of the city where I caught a small bus to Zipaquira. However, I found when I got there that I needed a taxi the rest of the way as it was outside the town. The journey overall took me two hours, longer than expected. After paying my reduced entrance fees (being over 60) I joined a group from Boston, USA who were on a package tour around Colombia. The guide spoke fluent English and gave us a full hour´s tour. He took us underground as it was a working salt mine until the miners carved out the cathedral out of the rock. We were led down the mine shafts where the stations of the cross were carved into the rock on the way down. When we finally reached the cathedral it was awesome and cavernous. ´Took lots of photos. As the tour finished it was just beginning to get dark and had to walk back to the town as there were no taxis in sight; ´had to ask directions several times. I eventually got a bus and the transmilenio
View from the Church at Cerro Monserrate
The little historic church was situated right at the top of the hill - a building feat in itself. This is the view from outside it.
back to town where I bought some food to cook back at the hostel. ´Stayed up late chatting to some of the people at the hostel.
Sunday 19.03.09 (Happy birthday Kathryn!)
´Feeling the worse for wear after the late night and all the walking yesterday. After breakfast ´went to Bolivar Square and visited the Catedral Primada, supposed to be one of the largest in S. America.´Crossed the square to the tourist office where one of the tourist police was giving a free walking tour around the city centre. He does this once a week to practise his English.´Though we went to some of the places I had already visited, he was full of historical background information which put the places in context. The centre of the city was shut off from traffic and there were hundreds of cyclists, people on roller skates and some jogging - all out for some Sunday morning´s exercise. There was only two of us in the group for the tour ( a Swedish girl and myself) so Jorge, our guide was able to give a lot of attention. After the tour I tried the internet to catch up with my e-mails but am having
Stations of the Cross at Catedral del Sal
This is one of the stations of the cross carved out of the salt rock, on the way down the mine shaft towards the Cathedral.
trouble in this part of the country logging on.
All the museums in the city are free to enter on the last Sunday of each month.´Went to the Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) - lots of gold historic artefacts mainly made by the indigenous peoples. The museum was crowded and very warm, many people taking advantage of the free entrance. I was too tired to visit any other museum and was put off by the queues outside them. ´Bought some food at the supermarket and went back to the hostel. ´Need to have an early night as I have an early flight tomorrow morning -8:45 to Quito (Ecuador), as it´s international I need to be at the airport 3 hours before.
There are more photos below