After checking in to our suspect accommodation in Bogota, Rodolfo and I were eager to salvage the afternoon. So we headed to Cerro Monserrate, an imposing hill that watches over the city.
Cerro Monserrate is topped by a church dedicated to – shocker – the Virgin of Monserrat. The church looked simple enough in the light of day, but by the time we left, it was lit up in neon purple and green. You can just see a hint of purple on the right of the tower (spire?) in this photo. I may or may not have irreverently referred to it as a disco church.
While the church itself is a big draw, the main reason to visit Cerro Monserrate is the view. Unfortunately, our views were somewhat marred by the clouds that threatened to pour down on us. Luckily, the rain held off, and once night fell we were rewarded with a panorama of city lights.
Of course, OUR main reason for visiting most places is the food. The hill has several restaurants at its summit, but we were more interested in the snacks to be had in the artisan market.
The verdict on Colombian empanadas? Delish. These are made with a cornmeal dough outside and spiced beef inside. The homemade ají salsa we liberally poured on was also quite delish.
Rodolfo, being braver than I, ordered himself a plate of assorted animal parts. I tried the sausage and potatoes but left “delicacies” like beef heart, blood sausage and intestine to him. He did not contract food poisoning and did seem to enjoy it, so I guess this gets recommended as well. Plus the people were really nice, and I like nice people, even if they are trying to sell me innards.
By 6:30pm, the stands were closing for the day, and we’d more or less seen what there was to see. The cable car which takes you up the hill costs US$10 roundtrip – the funicular, which was closed, costs the same – which we found expensive for what it was. Now someone please give me a pat on the back for not making a pun about the cost being “steep” just like the ascent itself.
Cerro Monserrate is one of the main attractions in Bogota, but we would have found it better value for money earlier on a nicer day, when we could have spent more time just relaxing. As it was, while a trip up Cerro Monserrate is a pleasant introduction to Bogota, I don’t think we’d rush to repeat it. Not even for nice people with cow parts.
More in this series:
Heading to Bogota with Roomorama
The marvelous Museo de Oro
The Botero Museum will make you smile
Taking a Bogota bike tour
Andrés Carne de Res: Bogota’s craziest restaurant
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
The truth about Bogota