October 14, 15, 16, 2008
We arrived in Bogota in the afternoon, following the 5 ½ hour flight from Santiago, Chile, and spent a quiet afternoon looking around the city near the hotel. This is a very nice and clean city nestled into the mountains at 2600 meters altitude.
Wednesday morning we were picked up by our driver guide for a trip into the country and a visit to Villa Leyva about a 3 hour drive from Bogota. The drive was a great trip with some very good conversation with our guide and a few stops along the way to visit a farmers market, the craft center at Raquira and a look at some smaller towns. This area is a huge producer of “cut flowers” and there are literally thousands of green houses in these small towns. This is really a beautiful country !!
Villa Leyva is one of the best preserved Colonial style towns and is an important historical place as before Colombia was liberated from the Spanish it was the center of government and probably would still be the capital if the Spanish were still in charge. (Bogota is now the capital ).
It turned out to be a very long ( but interesting ) day and we arrived back in the early evening for a late dinner in Bogota.
Thursday morning we were picked up by our guide for a very interesting day in and around Bogota. Nice place !! Lots of history, a great old town center, Candelaria, and some spectacular views from the top of the mountain at Monserrate Sanctuary at 10,340 ft. above sea level. This is a very nice city of about 8 Million people. Very modern in the main part of town but a few large districts on the outskirts with a lot of very poor people. Not unlike what we saw in Rio de Janiero.
Bogota is a beautiful place and we had a very interesting time here. The altitude in Bogota can pose some problems but not a serious issue if you take it easy in the “ walk abouts”.
We continued our adventures in Colombia with a drive to the Salt Cathedral in a small town called Zipaquira. This is a very interesting tourist place that was originally a smaller “Chapel” in a salt mine that has been expanded and reconstructed
to encourage tourists to the area a short drive from Bogota. They claim to have the world’s largest underground cross and for the Catholics they have the “Stations of The Cross” as you enter into the old mine and down to the main Cathedral. Very interesting place that is really quite amazing deep into the mountain and the mine is still operating at a different part of the mountain.
We stopped to visit a 5 star resort on the hillside overlooking the city. Beautiful place to say the least.
Friday morning we left Bogota for a short flight to Cartagena north of Bogota on the Caribbean for a few days of relaxing.
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