La Merced

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16 travelers at this place

  • Day146

    Off to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

    February 22, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    This was the second last day of the trip for me. My flight to Quito and then onward to Europe was the next day. To make the best of the time, we had planned to visit the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral some 60 kms from Bogota.
    I woke up around 7:30 in the morning. Hristo and Maria too were up but both were feeling a bit weak and not fully fit. It had been a bad round of food poisoning for Hristo and he had woken up a couple of times in the night. Maria too was having a very severe throat pain and cough. They told me to carry on to Zipaquira as I didn't have any more day left while they would go there some day after I had left as they had their return tickets a few days later. I checked with Karin. She decided to join me. Her earlier plan had been to go to the Monseratte hill just next to our hostel. The views of Bogota from up there are amazing, but since it was a cloudy day, she decided to do it some other day when it was clearer.
    We had done some research and had figured that the buses to Zipaquira leave from the bus terminal at the North end of Bogota called Portal Norte. To reach Portal Norte, we could either take the taxi or use the local transport. We checked with the guy at the reception and realized that the taxi to Portal Norte was quite expensive and that the local bus route was very straightforward. We needed to catch the TransMelinio bus service from near the hostel and from there it was one straight road for almost 20 kms to the North.
    We finished our breakfast and headed to find the TransMelinio station. Just outside the hostel, we saw some 5-6 men dressed up in full army fatigues running outside the park nearby. It looked like some operation going on; most probably against drug dealers in the park. We walked around the area, but couldn't find the TransMelinio station. It took us 30 min to finally find the station. Here, at the entrance, we bought the tickets and also found out which number bus to take. The bus took 40 min to reach Portal Norte. The mini bus to Zipaquira was leaving in 5 min, this, which we managed to catch. The tickets are available on the bus only. In fact, there are no tickets. Everyone knows the fare and its the same all the way irrespective of where one gets on or off. After the bus leaves the terminal, the helper for the bus driver goes around collecting cash from everyone.
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  • Day153


    February 13, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Final stop in Colombia is Bogota!
    I met again two girls I knew from casa en el agua and spend one day with them.
    Bogota is huge, over 7mill. people living there and the altitude of the city is 2600m.
    We visited the Montserrat, based on 3200m overlocking the city.
    On the opposite side you can see the green mountains. We spend the whole afternoon there, escaping the busy city life and breath in fresh air.
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  • Day3

    Colombia Day 4

    July 28, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    Another late start this AM. Mary Lou feeling lousy and decided to stay home today to get some sleep and see if she can kick this nasty stuff. Carlos and Claudia having car trouble so arrived a bit late. Robert and I out for a walk in the area - mainly residential and small tiendas (stores). Walked to a park and watched some "football". (ie soccer) Off to Plaza Bolivar and the La Candelaria area - the primary tourist center in Bogota. The very large plaza is primarily government buildings, churches and palaces - replete with the obligatory pigeons. Then a stroll down 7th Avenue :-) - all pedestrian, filled with mimes, craftsmen selling their wares, music from all directions, llamas and on and on............... Lots of fun, people and highly colorful. Some necessary phone work (more minutes, new Sim card) and a "coffee break" with pastries to "rest" from tourism.

    Using Uber/Taxi today as Carlos's car has a problem. Very easy,convenient and cheap. Back to pickup Mary Lou who is feeling some better after a day of rest. Chose a Tapas restaurant that we had seen last night for dinner. Tapas Macarena - tiny restaurant (3 tables) it was full so they took across the street to a "larger" restaurant (7 tables) and they brought the food across the street !!! A fun, lots of conversation in 2 languages with lots of laughter and making new friends. A great travel day.
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  • Day4

    Colombia Day 5

    July 29, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

    A lazy AM planning and conversation with a French couple who are staying here. They came for the first time last year and spent a month traveling the North of the Colombia and back this year for another month to visit the South of the country. All the people we have met here just love this country and the people. Our friends, Carlos and Claudia, have made this such a great experience and have helped us to understand that you really can (and should) talk to anyone, they truly want to be helpful. Carlos has said that, if you have a problem and are in a crowded room, just stand on a table and holler - I need help - and everyone will try to help you - and after 4 days, I believe him.
    Sundays are special in Bogota. Every Sunday 76 miles of City - the Bogota Ciclovia - streets are closed for bicyclists, runners, roller skates, walkers and any other type of exercise you can imagine. ML feeling better and the 5 of us decided to join the tradition. Our B & B host got us 5 bikes and off we went. So much fun and entertainment!!! The routes are full of other activities and things to stop and see such as Zumba, dance, martial arts, yoga, music, food and drink along the way. Just a great way to get all out and doing something for exercise and health. Lots of people, in some areas too many - had to walk the bikes due to crowds. I had not ridden a bike in about 2.5 years but as the saying goes "just like riding a bicycle". Back to the B & B for an afternoon snack and conversation.
    Montserrate is a monastery and church on a mountain that looks over Bogota. You can see it from all over the city. Website below. We thought we would go there today but our hosts warned us that on a Sunday it is very crowded and recommended the mountain next to Montserrate - Guadalupe - higher and even better views of the City. So off we went to Guadalupe. As it turns out today was an celebration of some sort and hundreds of vehicles were up on the mountain - all decorated and providing a significant traffic jam on a very small mountain road. Had to park about a half mile from the top - we are now at over 10,000 ft and climbing !! And ML with her already existing problem of not being able to breathe - and now we do this to her. Made it to the top - 10,800 !! Amazing. Just like Rio - to our surprise a huge sculpture of the Virgin Mary and all kinds of food and people. The view of Bogota - a city of around 8 million - were terrific. However weather at the top of the mountain quickly turning rainy and cold. A few pictures and back down the mountain. the
    Off to dinner - all agreed we were hungry for Italian so off to a new area of the city. Good dinner @ Di Lucca with lots of wine - nice to have someone else driving. Said good by to Carlos and Claudia - they were so terrific to take us everywhere and help with everything we needed - and were so much fun to be with. An experience I will remember for a long time.
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  • Day5

    Colombia Day 6

    July 30, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    The husband half of our hosts provides tour services as well so they are an "all inclusive" B & B. Have had several discussion with him and decided to do the Nemocon salt mine. ML very tired of not feeling great but ready for today's adventure.
    Off around 10:30 for Nemocon and the salt mine. Nemocon is a small village about 1.5 hours NE of Bogota. Scenery along the way - first, getting out of Bogota, anything you read about this city is the horrendous traffic. It is true. Usual story, too many vehicles - not enough roads. Started to thin out in about 45 minutes, then lots of green, many colorful towns - all with the Northern Andes as a backdrop.
    Arrived at Nemocon Salt Mine and had an English speaking tour. Quite fascinating, a non-working mine since around 1970. The tour was very good thanks to our driver Rick who has done it so many time and has all the details. A very interesting history with displays throughout. A short stop in the very colorful village for an empanadas from a bakery - very different as they are baked (not fried) and filled with chicken and mushrooms. Cost $1.00 😀 A stop at the local supermarket for a few things and off to Guatavita.
    "Interesting" roads thru the countryside - long section of dirt and very bumpy. We are in a refurbished 1973 VW van!! First stop along the way - Sesquile,. Small town with a pretty town plaza and a church. A very short stop as it was raining, a couple of pictures and back in the van. A short drive to Gutavita along a very large lake Embalse Tomine - which is a reservoir as well with a hydroelectric plant at the South end.
    The town of Guatavita is a lovely whitewashed colonial architecture town on the lake with a wonderful church and lots of open plazas with amazing brick and stone work. We walked the plazas admiring some unique water features. A photo shoot for a bride with a lovely Spanish gown was special. Town was very quiet but Rick says on holidays all year around it is very busy. A stop for a beer and our way to Zipequira.
    Dark by the time we got to Zipequira so just a quick walk around town - lively town plazas. A very tourist oriented town due to the famous Salt Cathedral there. (a different and more popular tourist salt mine to visit than the one we did this AM as it is closer to Bogota) Then to dinner in Bogota to the very tourist oriented restaurant - Andras. A very large uniquely decorated restaurant with eclectic decor. Much fun, meat oriented, and the food was very good. An added bonus with really good jazz music the entire time. Home after a long day of tourism.
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  • Day3

    Some interesting stuff

    July 23, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Viva Bavaria!! 😋
    It's amazing what you get here for like 6 bucks 😅
    And by the way .. i had no idea what i was ordering 😅 they had no menu so i just said bring me something and it was good, a lot and cheap 😅😎
    And they have to warn you thar german beer is pretty strong 💪 pussies we drink this everyday 😎
    Ah and of course a bit climbing and exercising keeps you fit but it is pretty exhausting here up on 2600 meters height compare to 320 meters where i normaly live 😪
    #BavarianCap #TravelLikeSimon
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La Merced