Bogota Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
After much planning and saving, I've finally made the leap across the atlantic and landed in beautiful Bogota. I chose the Madrid route so I could get a glimpse of that wonderful city en-route. The flight was 11 hours of the usual excitement mixed with stiff neck, itchy legs and nodding off to sleep. The flight attendants were competent but seemed to prefer chatting amongst themselves in the galley rather than attending... still I understand Iberia staff are famous for this skill (and not the only ones to employ it). The landing was perfect and then it was real... I was on Colombian soil. The altitude made me a bit fuzzy-headed but maybe the long fight played a part too. My first impressions were of the massive contrasts in wealth - huge american SUVs jostling for road space with 30 year old dodges and pony-drawn carts.
Did some tramping round the old heart of the city and took my time in the exhibition of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero whose full figured primative paintings burst with vitality. Some impressive works by Léger, Chagall, Picasso, Max Ernst etc... well worth a look-in.
Today I went up north of the capital to visit the famous Salt Mine Cathedral. The mine is situated in the town of Zipaquira and can be reached by taxi (expensive) bus or the little wood-burning narrow gauge railway "Tren de la Sabana" (Savannah Train), which leaves on weekends and holidays at 8:30am from the "Estación de la sabana" in the Zona Norte.
The Salt Cathedral is one of the must-see sights around Bogotá. It is an enormous 'cathedral' built out of a salt mine, complete with a baptismal font, the twelve stations of the cross carved in salt rock, a 1,000 seat functioning church and enormous stone statues bathed in a atmospheric blue light.
It's fairly easy to get to the Cathedral. You can take a bus from Bogotá's main terminal, or you can take the Transmilenio to the Portal del Norte (lines 50, 60, 70, 100, 25) and transfer to a feeder bus from there. I recommend the Transmilenio, especially if you're staying in the centro, since it is faster and cheaper. The Transmilenio route takes about 1-1.5 hours.
The Salt Mine is safe, NOT claustrophobic and a unique experience.
About to hop onto a flight to Cartagena for a few days sailing. Don't know what the internet access will be like there but to keep and eye 'out' for the Cartagena Blog appearing at a computer near you SOON!!!!
I've added a few atmospheric shots taken round Bogotá this morning, buses, carts, cops and vendors... I love the place.
Back from amazing Cartagena, see the linked blog. Winding down for the last few days of my trip, more photos tomorrow.