Here we go again--another Colombian, who we did not know before our trip, who gave up a day to be our tour guide.
This time, the Colombian was the sister of CC's avocational Spanish teacher in Atlanta. He sent the teacher a message, merely asking her for suggestions of tourist spots, restaurants, etc. She volunteered HER sister, who lives in Bogota to take us touring. Sure, we thought. What person is going to volunteer to take strangers around to various spots, we asked ourselves? You guessed it, sister Laura-Bogota sent us an email and gave us a CHOICE of places and days we'd like to tour. Who are these people, we thought? We found out. It's another generous Colombian.
Laura arrived at our hotel at 8:30 AM, promptly, with a driver to take us the the Salt Cathedral (Catedral del Sal), one of the places we knew we wanted to go. Ironically, Laura had not been there before.
Our driver and guide, Laura, on the way to the Cathedral
The Salt Cathedral is about a 1 1/2 hours from Bogota. According to Michelin, the second structure in the cave (1995) was built above a former cathedral completed in 1951. Visitors are guided (in English for us) past a series of small chapels carved from salt which represent Stations of the Cross. It is a true cathedral. You've probably visited caves formed by rocks. This is one formed by salt.
Get ready for the experience of a lifetime!
As you make your way into the cathedral, you marvel at the magesty of the space and the carvings that you behold. It all takes your breath away and is well worth a visit. We were so lucky to have a tour guide who spoke English who gave us explanation of what we were seeing.
Remember: the carvings are from salt and one of the Stations of the Cross
You are looking at salt
If you want to try your hand at salt mining yourself, you can take a tour within a tour and go mining for salt. I chose to view the emeralds that were on display in the gift area and when that was over, I visited the First Aid station even though I wasn't sick. The guy is there to rescue any explorers feeling ill. He looked a little bored, so I stopped off to have my blood pressure taken and chat with him in my less- than-perfect Spanish. (It gave me, and probably others, comfort knowing he would render aid, if needed).
Here's one of the pseudo miners trying his luck. (I was glad I was at the first-aid station).
One the way back to Bogota, we stopped off at Chia at a one-of-a-kind restaurant named, Andreas. I've seen a lot of restaurants in many countries in the world, but Andreas has to be the most fun one I've ever been in. The guests were families, couples, singles and anyone who wants to have a good time (and good food, too). We were there right before Lent, so the celebration was up a notch.
You must try their signature cocktail as Laura is doing
If you can lift the 67 page menu, you must order some food. (And, the food was good, surprisingly enough)
The staff is always ready to dance--right in the middle of service
The servers in a little line-dance
If you think all the action was indoors, wait until you go outside for more of the same. Keep in mind, it's pouring rain by now.
The "girls" were looking for cute guys
We really could have joined in, but we needed some other clothes!
Needless to say, we ended our day on a high note with sounds of music dancing through our heads.
Next: Touring, Bogota, the city