Bogota - Gold Museum and Cerro Monserrate (January 2014)

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January 6th 2014
Published: January 6th 2014
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Bogota: Gold Museum and Cerro Monseratte

We went to the Museum of Gold in the morning with Flo, the young woman who lives in and looks after the apartment where we are staying. The Museum del Oro displays a vast and extraordinary selection of pre-Hispanic gold work and is the largest such collection in the world. A recent exhibition at the British Museum of London featuring 223 pieces from this museum claims to the ‘most visited exhibition in London’ during the autumn of 2013. The museum has a collection of 55,000 pieces, 6,000 pieces of which are on display at any one time. We spent a very enjoyable and interesting couple of hours there. The detail and craftwork of the pieces is incredible. And the gold death masks more than a little bit creepy. Sunday entrance was free and the museum was very crowded with Colombians viewing and learning about their history and heritage. It is a compact museum and can be browsed in its entirely in less than two hours.

After a quick sandwich lunch, we walked up to the funicular station for an ascent to the summit of Monserrate. Cerro de Monserrate rises to over 10,000 feet above sea level (3152 meters) and the air is very thin up there. There are three paths to ascend the mountain: waling, a tram and a funicular. We chose the funicular and waited in line for about an hour before we ascended. A former Spanish governor 1640 ordered the church and shrine devoted to the ‘Fallen Lord’ to be built on the mountain in 1640. Since then it has become a popular pilgrim destination. And it was packed to over-flowing during our Sunday visit. The church where the service was being conducted was shoulder-to-shoulder standing room only. Unfortunately, the clouds obscured the view of the city below and then they burst open in a tropical, torrential downpour that lasted the best part of an hour. We sheltered in one of the smaller chapels and even dozed a little. After the rain stopped, the clouds remained thick and misty around the summit. We walked up a covered street selling tourist tat and trinkets and then further along the street were about 50 food stalls. All were packed with Colombian families enjoying their day out, despite the inclement weather.

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20th January 2014
Bogota day 3 015

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