Cathedral de Sal

Zipaquira Travel Blog

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We barely slept last night as there was some part going on next door which was quite amusing (especially when they started singing along to some English hits by artists such as Michael Jackson)!

We slept in a little too late (9am) again and were on the road to get to Zipaquira which is a town about 30km away and takes about 1.5hrs to get to due to the traffic in Bogota. We were the only turistas on the bus which was an interesting experience that´s for sure! But we did OK. The bus was packed and we had been on it for about 45mins and were both a bit nervous thinking we had past our stop-off point as we had to change buses at one of the many stations.
A large guy who was hovering over me then asked us where we were going as we must have looked lost! He spoke no English but we showed him and he nodded his head and said something in Spanish to us and smiled. When we did get to the stop the lady behind me tapped me on the shoulder and pointed, signalling that this is where we get off as she must have overheard us. People in Colombia are too nice! I love it, but that was really only the start of it all.

Once off we had no idea where to get the next bus so tried communicating with the one of the Policemen (which we failed to mention in the last blog - but there are heaps of Policia around, about 4 to each small bus station which is practically just a glorified bus stop. Also, something Dad will appreciate - the buses are about twice as long with this join in the middle so it can move.
I can´t quite describe it properly but hopefully will get a picture before we leave.

Now, getting back to it.... so, this Policemen spoke NO English, and kept smiling at us because he was trying to signal something. In the end he waved his hand to follow him and we did and got straight on the bus. Another weird experience. There is the bus driver and another person who gets off the bus and tries to get people on the bus until it is full and once we are on the road then they collect the money. Once we finally got to Zipaquira (and it looked terribly dodgey too by the way, I wasn´t keen to get off the bus!) some girl spoke to us and soon figured out we wanted to go to the Salt Cathedral and she lead us the way which was really nice. We tried a little conversation and she spoke a little English. From what I can understand she used to work there and her name was Paula.
She showed us the centre (well I think that´s what she said) and we were soon at the entranda to the Catherdral de Sal (Salt Cathedral).

The Salt Cathedral is an underground cathedral that used to be a salt mine (well actually it is still mined, but just not where the cathedral has been carved out). We had a one hour tour and since it was in English we were the only ones on it which was actually really nice! It was pretty amazing, as you will see in the photos and we got down to about 180m below ground. They also have 2 musuem´s there, of which we only had enough time to see one (as we needed to get back to Bogota before dark as apparently it´s dangerous).

We practically starved all day as we had only some chocolate wafers to eat! We were rushing around so much we didn´t have time to eat, so maybe we will lose weight!! We went out for tea again tonight and it was quite nice, although it´s pretty hard to order somethig you have no idea what it actually is! Last night we had this weird meal which I ate, but particularily don´t want to force down again.
It consisted fo papa (mashed potato), something that was like carrot, fried banana, carne (meat) and spagetti. All cheap as!

A few things we haven´t mentioned:

  • You can´t flush toilet paper down the toilet here, it has to go in a bin
  • Those on motorbikes have to wear a vest-type thing with their numberplate on
  • Police... did we mention they are everywhere! And outside the actual police station they have big guns.... exciting!!
  • There seem to be no road rules. We thoght Bangkok was bad... the roads are narrow and they toot to try and get in
  • The Police cars have about 5 different tunes, which they like to try out as often as possible and just to get the traffic moving!
We are off to San Gil tomorrow, trying to get on a bus at about 8-9am, the journey takes us about 6-7hrs so hopefully it´s on a comfy bus! We shall see!

Missing everyone so much :)

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photo by: siri