Bogota, capital of Colombia

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Friday, January 25, 2013

We arrived here very late at night. We had a booking for a hostel the following two nights but not the night of our arrival. Thanks be to God, they had availability. We threw ourselves into bed and were out for the count in no time. The first morning in Bogota, we got up late, caught up on e mails and then took a short tour of the centre. It absolutely lashed rain after an hour or so. Having been caught in a torrential downpour, we headed back for the hostel. On arriving back, we realized that the hostel had double booked so although they had room for myself and Eoin, there was no availability for Claud and Dean who left Armenia for Bogota that morning. We then had to rush around looking for hostels. After visiting 3 or 4, we found the nicest hostel which was new, extremely clean, with a brilliant owner. We were delighted to move there! The hostel was so safe as well as it was close to the Presidential Palace and military museum, surrounded 24/7 by armed police. In the evening, we strolled around the busy streets, grabbed food and had a night cap in the hostel. Day 2, our hostel owner organized a trip for us to The Salt Cathedral. This is a temple built in the interior of Zipaquirá's salt mines. It is also a religious center and one of the most famous Catholic sanctuaries of  the country, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s Stations of the Cross. It is Colombia’s number one wonder, and it was nominated to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. At the end of the tour, we took the miner's route where we could experience life as a miner. Here, we used pick axes to chip salt off the wall and experienced an explosion. Of course, this was completely fake. Although the tour around the Cathedral was interesting, we found it very overpriced for what it was. Lunch was included in the day but this failed to live up to expectations, especially as the meat we got was covered in fat. That night, it was time to party in Andres Carne de Res. This is a venue, about 1 hour from Bogota that can hold 2,000 people. On the way, our tour bus supplied us with vast ammounts of rum, vodka and coke. Our group extended to 6, having met a really nice Canadian couple. The atmosphere of this place was fantastic. We just danced the night away. The place was quite expensive as the wealthiest people form Bogota go there but having drank so much on the bus, we didn´t need much more. Overall, we had a brilliant night! It was 5 or so before we got to bed so the next morning was a write off. In the afternoon, we get a view of Bogotá from dizzying heights by taking the cable car to the top of Cerro de Monserrate (3160m/10,400ft), the mountain overlooking the city centre. At this height, there was a church, park and many markets. It was a good way to end our trip to Bogota. After this, the 4 of us and now the Canadian couple hopped on a bus to take us in the direction of San Gil.
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