Sunday 9th August 2015
With Val, Fred and Eric we took the mini-bus of 9am in Villa de Leyva off to Bogota which was stopping over in Birgamos or something from which we grabbed another bus to go to Zipaquira to visit the Salt Cathedral.
At some point in the first leg we passed the Bridge of Boyaca which is a commemorative site of the battle which took place on 7th August 1819. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Boyac%C3%A1
We just had a very very quick glimpse of the site from the bus, and could see flags of all countries there.
Stop-over for toilets and food, for example those local little bread with cheese inside.
When I saw this, I first thought it was a mosque, but actually it was just an attraction park.
From the second bus heading to Zipaquira, we saw the Bogota Beer Company factory.
In Zipaquira as in many other cities, the roads were closed and people could walk there, roller-blade, cycle.
We grabbed a taxi and got to the Salt Cathedral entrance where we bought our tickets.
We headed to the queue and saw this climbing wall which made me think of Brisbane climbing friends who would have loved it here!
This cathedral turned to be quite an attraction. We queued about 20 minutes.
After the entrance, we dropped our big backpack on the left. Then we walked through another corridor.
Salt on the walls.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is 200 meters underground and used to be a salt mine. More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Cathedral_of_Zipaquir%C3%A1
It was built around 1932 as a Roman Catholic church in which the different steps of the crucifixion walk of Jesus are represented. It ihas an impressive size.
The dome gave an impression of photographying another planet from a spacecraft, thanks Fred for the idea!
The central hall of the church.
That`s a church with the biggest pillars I have ever seen!
Tools used at the time to excavate the mine.
Some remaining salt on one wall to show how it used to look before all salt was removed.
The sculptures of this Nativity scene are sculpted in the Halite rock found in this cave.
After our short visit to the Salt Cathedral, we grabbed a taxi back to the centre of Zipaquira then got immediately a bus to Bogota. Once we got there, Val, Fred and Eric went to a bus heading to the airport while I jumped in a taxi to meet Diane Melissa, the best friend of Santiago, and her family. I arrived there around 2.30pm and was warmly welcomed as if I was a member of their family. It was great to meet a Bogotan family, moreover knowing Diane Melissa was an important friend of Santiago! I met with Elcida her mother, Adriana her sister, and David Santiago her son. We had lunch and chatted. In the evening, we took a taxi with Adriana and her to go to a massive store similar to JB HiFi in Australia or Fnac in France in which I finally bought a netbook, whoohoo, a tool to blog correctly without getting annoyed by viruses on internet cafe computers blocking all my photos! What a relief!!! Then we came back and ordered take-away burgers and chatted more. Good time to practice my italianospanish and learn to turn it into a spanishitalian instead by starting to replace italian words with spanish ones! I helped David Santiago practice is English and Adriana her French. Oh and I also met Jazz, their little dog, 2 months old only, very cute!
And very important, I finally…booked my flight tickets to Peru!! I had been heavily procrastinating this month. I already know I have to be the 14th August in Cusco to meet my friend Anouk but somehow, I never got to buy my tickets until now. The day before in Villa de Leyva the price had gone up to 577 USD for the Bogota to Lima. Luckily that evening it was back to 188 USD from Bogota to Lima. I bought my ticket with vivacolombia for the 13th August 4pm arriving 8pm in Lima, then looked up the buses, but it was 21 hours 30 minutes of bus from Lima to Cusco so I bought for 96 USD a ticket from Lima to Cusco for the 14th August morning from 6.50am arriving 8am there. Let`s just hope I get smooth flights!
The next 3 days, Bogota!!! 🙂