Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 83 - Medallion - Bogata (via Zipaquira)

Distance travelled (by bike): 9685

Setting of at dawn to get the miles chewed up early, sounded easy, but soon reality hit. The roads are incredibly twisty, in many parts the trucks can't pass each other so you end up with a huge traffic jam. This and the road works meant for slow driving.
Sav - sorry, i got to Pablo Escobar's ranch, i was shut! - i didn't even think about it been sunday when i set off, so reluctantly turned around and carried on.
After hours of driving through the stunning mountains i arrived at Zipaquira, home to the salt cathedral and one of the oldest human settlements in South America.
The cathedral is built 200 metres underground  within the tunnels of a salt mine. Although called a cathedral, it was pointed out that with no bishop, it's just a big church.
There are 14 chapels (representing the stations of the cross), these are not small. Walking down from the entrance you walk passed all the chapels then descending more steps you enter the main nave, this i was told could accommodate 8,000 people, i think that it was an exaggeration. The cathedral is amazing, one of the modern man made wonders of the world!
Leaving later than i thought, i entered Bogata in the dark, when i pulled over and asked the police directions to the hostel i'd been recommended, they told me i shouldn't , under any circumstance, be driving in the dark. So, amazingly, again, the police escorted/led me through Bogata to the hostel gate. 

one of the bridges i crossed on the back roads to zipaquira

looking over one of the valleys


salt cathedral - the main nave

salt cathedral - the main nave

salt cathedral - a small chapel off the nave

looking towards the stairs into the nave

one of the carving in the stations of the cross

number of stations of cross

entrance to the cathedral 

the decent into the main nave

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