Saturday, 17 August 2013

First Weeks in Bogota Pt 2

It's been almost 2 weeks since my last post but anyone who has ever been to the legendary Medellin will understand how a weekend trip can turn into almost a full week of travel. I just returned from my trip to the Feria De Los Flores and I think I found the city I would want to live in if I were to stay in Colombia long term. I will have to do a whole separate post on my experience there as there is so much to say about Medellin, but until then its back to Bogota.

I always end up in Mountain cities and I love it. The Views are Incredble 

As much as people here say they don't like Bogota, I feel a certain vibe in this city that is unique from any city I've ever been. Maybe I enjoy the controlled chaos of the Transmillenio, which is the strangest form of public transportation I have ever seen. For all my Vancouver people, it's run by a fleet of 99 B-line type buses that operate on their own lanes and have their own stations as if they are trains.
The fleet. I really shouldn't be taking these pictures. They warned me.
The Bus-Train stations. 2 sets of doors to enter the bus. Don't ask why.

For some reason most stations even have doors that slide open when a bus pulls up. Besides the apparent safety features, a lot of the stations I've been on have the whole route map scratched out so its a matter of guessing and hoping you catch a bus that will stop at the station you need. I think the people added this feature to make it easier to "spot the gringo". If your lucky enough to get on the correct bus and are heading to your destination you will still have to deal with the huge pot holes in the exclusive lanes that bring every bus to a slow crawl. Rick Ross should have changed his lyrics in Mafia music to "I'm dodging debacles like pot holes in Bogota".
Couldn't dodge this one. The potholes are seriously everywhere. 

With all that said The Transmillenio is really is the best way to get around in the city, but every time I ride it I really can't wrap my head around why they would build all the infrastructure needed for a metro system but opt out for a bus fleet as their main mode of transportation. And another Shout out to my Vancouver people complaining about the bus transfer tickets not working on the new SkyTrain ticketing system. I've twice been locked IN to a station (yes IN) where the only way I could leave was to pay for another ticket. I needed to buy a special card to leave as well, so instead I decided to get my Spanish sweet talking on and ask an older lady if she could load her card up for me. On top of that, every feeder bus is private and operates on their own fare system. One trip can cost me up to 5,000 Pesos!! That works out to only about $2.75 so I guess I have no right to complain.
I got on 3 buses later... Lucky I still have my phone. I shouldn't be taking these pictures.
Entrance to the underground Salt Cathedral 

To get away from the Hectic city we decided to take a trip outside of Bogota to the Underground Salt Cathedral which is about 40 minutes away from Bogota in Zipaquira. It is one of two Churches in the world that are built underground in a salt mine. The original sanctuary was built by the salt miners as a place where they could pray and ask for protection from the Saints before they started work. The present day construction starts off as a series of tunnels that show the 14 different stations of the cross under LED mood lighting which then leads to a temple that highlights the Birth, Life and Death of Jesus.

One of the 14 stations
I love the setting, my phone camera couldn't do it justice

Can't believe this is all built in a salt mine. 

One of 3 Sections at the temple in the end. 

Representation of the birth of Jesus.

Main alter in the old cathedral. 20+ meters high

It really is a marvel of human architectural accomplishments and the intimate walk through the mine put me in a place of reflection and slowed my mind down to a near meditative state at some points. The one thing that really stuck out to me among all this beauty is that they decided to have a Black Jesus on the cross. This is the first time I have seen such a depiction in a major Tourist area and I don't know if this is a common thought in Latin America but I definitely found it interesting.

Black Jesus, Only 2 years old.
Due to requests from either my extremely busy or just less-educated readers the next posts will have less writing. ;)

Jah Bless
Jah Guide
Jah Rule

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! This cathedral is such an amazing place! Very inspirational...