Bogota Blog

Bogota Travel Blog

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The mountains to the east of Bogota

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.

Some of the rich gardens on the summit
I'll add details as they happen and as many photos as I think the old TravBuddy system can hold.

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.

You can see my house from here...
The fare is 21,000 pesos for adults and 14,000 for children. I took the taxi option as time was tight.

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.

Me feeling 'on top of the world' and dizzy!
For the pedants amongst us its not really a cathedral as if doesn't have a bishop, but the title (and the spectacle of the place) certainly might draw the tourists. I've attached some photos of the trip but I wont spoil the 'cathedral' experience... just go there and say Paul and Paddy the Bear sent you.

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.

May 6th

Back from amazing Cartagena, see the linked blog. Winding down for the last few days of my trip, more photos tomorrow.

 

Shavaba says:
I've been there as well and i lost my heart in Colombia.. Amazing right!
Posted on: Sep 29, 2009
tillgrady says:
Hello Paul,
I am new to travbud and saw that you had a recent visit to Bogota. Wow!! I am off to Ecuador tomorrow and will be there for 2 weeks then I plan to travel via bus to visit Bogota and Cartagena. I would welcome any insight you might share about your recent trip. Did you stay in hostels in Bogota?
Posted on: Aug 03, 2008
janetsblair says:
Looking forward to see these views for myself one day!
Posted on: May 08, 2008
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The mountains to the east of Bogota
The mountains to the east of Bogota
Some of the rich gardens on the su…
Some of the rich gardens on the s…
You can see my house from here...
You can see my house from here...
Me feeling on top of the world a…
Me feeling 'on top of the world' …
Market stalls on the mountain-top
Market stalls on the mountain-top
A bustling market scene
A bustling market scene
A massive statue of Jesus overlook…
A massive statue of Jesus overloo…
A church at over 10,000 feet!
A church at over 10,000 feet!
My friend surveying the city
My friend surveying the city
Overlooking Bogota
Overlooking Bogota
High rents I bet... but what a vie…
High rents I bet... but what a vi…
Enjoying the panorama
Enjoying the panorama
More sightseeing
More sightseeing
Kids in the Café where keen to po…
Kids in the Café where keen to p…
Hungry Happy Nibblers
Hungry Happy Nibblers
Hard to smile and eat at the same …
Hard to smile and eat at the same…
Cooooool!!!
Cooooool!!!
Unfortunately this isnt my house
Unfortunately this isn't my house
Hanging by a thread! Up by Funicul…
Hanging by a thread! Up by Funicu…
The old funicular station and lush…
The old funicular station and lus…
Me and Teddy outside the cathedral
Me and Teddy outside the cathedral
Teddy by the fountain
Teddy by the fountain
Friend footslogging in Bogota
Friend footslogging in Bogota
Rooftop cloudscape
Rooftop cloudscape
Central old Bogota
Central old Bogota
Me and Teddy again
Me and Teddy again
Bolivar Square
Bolivar Square
Victory statue and the Church of t…
Victory statue and the Church of …
Old Bogota
Old Bogota
Old city side street
Old city side street
Glimpse of a Bogotá shanty
Glimpse of a Bogotá shanty
Street Sellers, hard working and f…
Street Sellers, hard working and …
Street Vendor
Street Vendor
Iglesia del Carmen
Iglesia del Carmen
Old 17th century Church of the Can…
Old 17th century Church of the Ca…
One more of Teddy
One more of Teddy
My dog Boo, whos NOT in Bogota an…
My dog Boo, who's NOT in Bogota a…
The beautiful square at Zipaquira
The beautiful square at Zipaquira
The imposing statue at the entranc…
The imposing statue at the entran…
...Going Down...
...Going Down...
Teddy makes a new friend
Teddy makes a new friend
A sandstone statue of the angel Ga…
A sandstone statue of the angel G…
Teddys other new friends
Teddy's other new friends
Lets pocket the bear and run for …
"Lets pocket the bear and run for…
Mountains north of Bogota
Mountains north of Bogota
A typical farm house... but dereli…
A typical farm house... but derel…
Walking round Bogotá on May Day
Walking round Bogotá on May Day
The gardens at El Chico Park
The gardens at El Chico Park
El Chico
El Chico
El Chico
El Chico
El Chico
El Chico
Police Women shooting the breeze
Police Women shooting the breeze
Cross Roads Security
Cross Roads Security
Bogotá bus 1
Bogotá bus 1
Bogotá Bus 2
Bogotá Bus 2
In the slow lane
In the slow lane
Entrance to El Chico Park
Entrance to El Chico Park
El Chico
El Chico
Bogotá apartments and the Romania…
Bogotá apartments and the Romani…
701 km (436 miles) traveled
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photo by: caliphil007