Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Up, Down & Around……

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…..IMG_0491

The ride was fast and smooth and we were quickly at the top of the mountain…..why were we EVER thinking about climbing!!!!  As promised the views were astounding….IMG_0529

The property is beautifully landscaped and we enjoyed seeing various native and introduced plants….IMG_0506

 

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……

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IMG_0516IMG_0518IMG_0521IMG_0526Apparently not everyone was inspired in the same way as one young couple were enjoying a little PDA in front of Jesus being nailed to the cross.

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.

When we arrived at the church there was a service in progress so we went along the side and arrived at a market of sorts…..IMG_0533

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”!!!

The first thing that caught my eye was a refrigerated case containing plates of something that looked like cheesecake with a fruit topping.   IMG_0534

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!!!

We kept walking, enjoying the displays of fried meats, breads and sweets…..IMG_0539  Some of the meats were unknown to us, but the gender of some of the meats was obvious…..IMG_0540

The next thing that caught our eye was roasted corn on the cob.  Michael ordered one and the proprietor happily warmed it, buttered it and salted it like crazy….Michael was SO happy!!   IMG_0557

 

The corn was different from what we are used to as it had very large kernels that were tough on the teeth, but had a great flavor…..IMG_0560

 

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!!!IMG_0554

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…..IMG_0543

We wandered back up to the Church and were able to go inside and see this simple and worshipful church……

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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…..

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The scenes show the history of Bogota.   It was built in 1989 by Mario Mosquera.

I was also enamored with the ceiling in the chapel.   You can see a bit of it in the previous photo.  However, when I sat in the middle of the chapel and took photos of it, the design was stunning.IMG_0574IMG_0575IMG_0576

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…..

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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….IMG_0590

 

The Cable Car started running at noon, so we rode it down and enjoyed the changing altitude.  IMG_0606

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…..

1 comment:

Maggi said...

What a wonderful start. The view is stunning.

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