At the base of Monserrate there is a funicular or as they call it the “teleferico,” which is basically a little railway car that goes almost straight up the hill. They also have a cable car as well, but it was closed until after 12 noon. In the interest of time we decided to take the funicular up the mountain and the cable car down. We had to wait in line for about 40 minutes before we could catch the car up the hill.
On top there is a church, a little village, a market, a couple of restaurants, and one incredible view of Bogotá!
I had seen a picture of Bogotá in a book over 6 years ago and promised myself at that time that someday I would make this trip. It was an incredible feeling to see the skyline from a point that was probably the same spot from where the picture in the book was taken.
Bogotá is a city of 8 million people and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. Often times there are clouds hanging around the mountains which can obscure the view. Fortunately for us, the clouds cleared and we had a great view of the city below. From up high you get a feeling of how really large this city is. Check it out:
It was lunchtime and we were right on schedule. The plan was to eat lunch and be off the mountain by 1:30 because we had to be back at the hotel at 3:00 for our ride to the airport. We got a window view in the restaurant that sits right on the edge of the cliff. We both had “Ajiaco” which is the special soup dish of Bogotá….incredibly delicious and very filling.
We started down the mountain around 1:30, this time in the cable car. On the car we met a woman who could speak a little English. She wanted to know what our plans were and I told her we were going to try to at least see the Zona Rosa which is the upscale area I referred to in an earlier report. She validated our choice but insisted we not hail our own cab. So, what did she do? She gets one of the many soldiers standing around at the cable car station and asks him to hail a cab for us!! She waited with us and told the cab driver where to take us and the rest is history.
Here is the cable car ride down the hill:
When we arrived in the Zona Rosa area we knew we were in the big money part of Bogotá. Very nice looking condos and hotels in the area. The Lonely Planet guide had suggested visiting an enclosed mall. The mall was full of high end shops. We walked through it, and then strolled outside through the myriad of sidewalk cafes filled with people. We finally stopped, had some dessert and Colombian coffee, and watched Bogotá walk by in their designer clothes. Life was good!!
By this time it was 2:30 and time to head back to the hotel. We had a 30 minute taxi ride back to the hotel and knew our airport driver would be waiting for us. We had seen a lot of the city in a short time and in a fun and exciting way. When we arrived at the hotel, they gave us our bags and signaled our driver we were ready. The hotel staff was very pleasant, asked us to return someday and wished us luck in our travels the rest of the way through Colombia.
Next –the airport in Bogotá and meeting Dr. Olga