A church where you can observe the entire sprawling metropolis.
Monserrate is a church placed high on a mountain that juts imperiously into central Bogota. You can reach it by cable car, by funicular or by walking (or for the really devout crawling, throwing frijol beans in your path for extra pain and flagellation). Fortunately when i visited the path was closed for reforms so we took the cable car.
Bogota is your typical sprawling Latin American mega-city, boasting a population of 9 million people, extending to 11 million if you include the wider metropolitan area. These figures are big but seen on paper they are not that astounding. It was only once i had scaled the heights of Monserrate and could see the never-ending sprawl of Bogota that I could begin to conceive how colossal a city of 9 million inhabitants is. The city is nestled in the mountains, and you get a good conception of this looking from the majestic views from Monserrate…. what left the most impact was the way the city spread all the way to the mountains, and then in the mountains behind the first range of mountains you can see the city still sprawling, its vastness undiminished. This city is truly massive.
Aside from the pretty yet modest church there is all manner of tacky tourist boutiques and a rather swanky looking restaurant. The is also the famous ‘templo de colesterol’ of ‘temple of cholesterol’ where numerous smaller restaurants huddle together with their staff outside trying to entice people inside with ever more outlandish claims about the quality of their food….
All in all a great way to spend a morning, though a hat and scarf are recommended.