One of the sights I have wanted to see since arriving in Bogota is Monserrate, a mountain in the center of Bogota with a 17th century church built atop. Well, I finally got the chance when some friends came into town for a visit and I added it to our list of things to see.
There are three ways to get to the top of Monserrate: take the air tram, take the funicular (a train that never leaves the ground), or walk, which involves climbing LOTS and LOTS of stairs. Many people walk because it is a fun adventure, but lately there has been a lot of crime on the trail (muggings, slashings, etc) so my friends and I opted to take the funicular. However, upon arrival, we discovered that it was closed, so we either took our chances with the thieves and violent criminals on the trail, or we took the air tram. It was a no-brainer for me--air tram, hello. But for my friend who is more than just a little bit afraid of heights, especially when you're dangling hundreds of feet on a wire in a foreign country, he had to take a moment to think it over. Ultimately, the tram won out and we all enjoyed a hand-wringing trip up to the top.
Once we stepped back onto solid ground and caught our breath (the top of Monserrate is 10,500 feet, while the city of Bogota is a mere 8,000 feet high), we dropped our jaws and enjoyed the amazing view. It was spectacular. The sky was crystal blue and the sun was so bright that we were nearly blinded without our sunglasses. The view of the city below was even more amazing. I knew Bogota was big, but looking down onto it really put things into perspective. It was incredible.
We took time for photos and toured the church for a bit, stopping in to listen to prayers in Spanish. Then we made our way back outside toward the rear of the church where little stalls were set up selling everything from purses and hats to coco leaves (totally illegal to bring back to the states, in case you're wondering). We walked around while my friends purchased souvenirs and then we all ducked into a food stall where we tasted a bit of ajiaco, a traditional Colombian soup made with chicken, corn and potatoes. It was good, but man, if you like spicy, bring your own hot sauce. The Colombians do not believe in spicy.
Once we had discovered all there was to see, we loaded onto the air tram and made our way back down to street level, my friend covering his eyes and humming to himself the whole time.
Monserrate is a must see if you ever visit Bogota!
|The air tram we passed going up|
|My friend and I posing in front of the 17th century church|
|The view from the top|
|Look at that blue sky!|
|Ceiling in the church|
|From inside the church looking out|