Today was our first full day in Bogota and we made the most of it, starting with breakfast in our hotel and meeting Juliana at 9:00am to go exploring.
Today is Colombia’s Independence Day and many of the attractions (Museums and such) were closed, so she suggested one of two things…..a military parade or climbing Monserrate, a mountain in the center of the city.
We had read about Mount Monserrate and were looking forward to seeing the broad, sweeping views of the city of Bogota. Fortunately, the mountain was only about 2 miles from our hotel, so we started walking that way. There was intermittent rain but fortunately it never got very heavy.
There are three ways to get to the top of the mountain…..a funicular (train on a cable), an aerial tramway (cable car) or by climbing the 750 steps to the top. We had originally thought we would make the climb, but as we walked we started to realize that we were not yet accustomed to the elevation (about 8,000 feet), so we decided to postpone that adventure until later in the week. Instead, we rode the funicular…..
There is a church at the pinnacle of the mountain and we wound our way around an appealingly landscaped path that lead to the church. There were inspiring statues along the path, each depicting a scene from the day of Jesus’ Crucifixion……
There were many people with physical disabilities who were being helped along the path. The church is a pilgrimage site and many people go there for healing. Many of them choose to climb/crawl up the 750 steps as part of their pilgrimage.
This area was filled with endless merchants selling souvenirs and religious icons, but as we walked further along the shops changed to small restaurants, each containing the wonderful delights of “street food”!!!
Juliana told us that it is actually a soft cheese named “Cuajada” that is nestled on a thin spread of caramelized milk and is topped with a Raspberry sauce. Naturally, we HAD to have one and it was worth EVERY penny!!!
While at the same vendor, I asked about a stack of thick pancake looking items and Juliana told me that they were Arepas and that they were delicious. Of course I couldn’t resist!! Arepas are made from corn flour and many different varieties can be found. This one had a cheese filling that made my day!!!
We continued out the end of the market and found a natural area that was filled with people….most taking pictures of themselves and the view. Naturally, we had to join in. This is myself and Juliana…..
We wandered back up to the Church and were able to go inside and see this simple and worshipful church……
At the back of the church there is a smaller chapel that holds the Holy Relics. This semi-circular room was flanked by two dazzling stained glass windows…..
The scenes show the history of Bogota. It was built in 1989 by Mario Mosquera.
I am definitely thinking about a quilt using these designs!!!
After leaving the church, we fought our way onto a small walkway so that we could have a better look at the cityscape…..
I commented that I could get a better photo if I climbed up on the fence. Juliana immediately said “go ahead….I’ll watch for the guards!!!”. I did NOT try it, however I shouldn’t have worried as the guards were enjoying an ice cream bar….
At one point, the car started rocking and there were many laughs, titters and outright screams of terror!!!
Once on the ground, we started the second part of our day in Bogota….stay tuned…..