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Bogotà Day 2

Saturday Oct 26th

We didn't get going really early since we wanted to go to Cerro Monserrate close to noon because I had read that the funicular goes in the morning and the gondola in the afternoon. We wanted to go up in the gondola.

So after breakfast we head out to go find some free wifi. We tell Alexis what we plan on doing and off we go. We stop at Juan Valdez cafe on the pedway for coffee and wifi.  Then I work on my blog for an hour and Dwayne checks things online.  Once I finished the blog we walk to Cerro Monserrate which is about 1.5km away.

The walk up to the funicular/gondola is pretty steep, so I just plug away at getting to the ticket office. Once there there was quite a lineup. But we enter the queue and shuffle our way up to buy a ticket. We even get to buy senior tickets!! Doesn't normally happen since seniors normally have to be Colombian to get that discount.  But we'll take it - 34,000COP instead of 42,000 :)  a savings of $3Can LOL!!! Now we have to go line up to take the gondola, but we see that the lineup we were looking at is only for the funicular, the gondola lineup is around the corner. Once we get around the corner we see there is also a ticket office for the gondola and there are probably 10 people in line!!! We didn't see a sign directing us here for gondola tickets only. And the line-up for the gondola is also short, so we end up waiting for only one car. Since theses cars each hold probably 20 people.  Going up we get a great view of the city. It is really spread out.

Nice waterfall to look at while waiting for the gondola 

View of the city from the top- really spread out
Once at the top we are at 3150m and I can feel it! Walking up the stairs to get to the church really has my heart beating!! But the view is fantastic up here. Not a lot of smog covering the city. We can see that there are quite a few high-rises in the distance. I remember Josè saying that Bogotà is not growing any bigger just taller. I suppose to save on infrastructure. There are ALOT of high-rise apartments! We can also see all the parks that are in the city.  And across from this mountain is another one that is called Cerro Guatelupe.  It has a statue that is 50' high. There is a bus that goes there but only on Sundays from what I've read.

Top of Cerro Monserrate 

Red X on the right is the building we are parked behind 

Cerro Guatelupe 

A little windy up top :) 
Restaurant at the top (pricey of course) 
Once we are finished looking around and taking pictures we head to the gondola to go down. But we waited a little too long because the church service is finished and EVERYONE is heading down. So there is quite lineup. At least we got inside the building just as it started to rain a little.  After waiting about 15 minutes one of the operators comes out and says that the gondola was being closed down and we would have to take the funicular down. Couldn't understand why but we head to the funicular quickly. Maybe got too windy??  What a pain to have been in front of the line and now having to go lineup again!  We end up JUST having the bar come down that stopped us from getting on the next funicular down.  Actually this change works great because we wanted to take the gondola up and then the funicular down but that would have meant buying 2 one-way tickets up and down which was more expensive.

Not long before the next funicular is ready for loading. The ride down was great because this funicular has a glass roof so we can see the city again as we go down. Weird though because we do see that the gondola is still going??? Oh well this is better 😍

As we are walking away we run into the US couple we met yesterday on the food tour. So we chatted a little while and told them it was worth the wait to go up.

Funiculars passing each other 

Gondola crosses the funicular track
As we are walking down I see a pizza place and figure that's a good thing for lunch.  But we soon find out it's closed, probably doesn't open until later in the afternoon. It's only 1:30. So I say let's take the TransMilenio bus to the Puerto Norte 80 Mall and have lunch there.

So we get to the station, buy the reusable card and had it charged up with 2 return trips and headed to the platform. Found the right "door" to get on the next bus. I also had read that people will stand in front of these openings waiting for any number of buses that stop so when you see your bus coming start pushing to the front otherwise you'll miss your bus because those that are waiting for another bus don't move to the side! So we did that and got on and since we are "old" we get to sit down 😍 Love these cheap bus tours LOL!!! Price is about $1.25Can each oneway.  The mall is at the end of the line for this bus. And these buses really zip along because they only stop at so many platforms. As we go along we get a great tour of part of the city (actually very small part LOL)  Once we get to the end of the line and get off we can see that the mall is right outside of this HUGE transfer area. There are TransMilenio buses and regular buses here and there are LOTS of them!!  I check to see what platform we are on and watch where we exit so that we can make sure to get back to the right place to head back to Vanna.

As we walk out of the station we are mobbed by vendors!! There are so many it's hard to get through to the mall! Once in the mall we walk around. This is a very large mall and we finally see that the food court seems to be up on the 4th floor.  This place is amazing!! I would think it has as many stores as WEM in Edmonton.  The middle of the mall is open air for all 4 floors!  Wow! Not sure what happens when it's raining hard. We have our lunch - not surprising - chicken for me KFC LOL!! and burger for Dwayne. The KFC here is so much better than Canada, it's not dripping with grease!  Anyways we've done lots of walking so can have a "treat"  By the time we finish lunch its 3:30, YEA!! I won't have to make supper tonight again 😊 So we look around a little more - even has a big 6-8 screen theatre next to the food court. I checked their popcorn prices and they were pretty close to that of Canada!! Large cost $6Can. Why is popcorn SO EXPENSIVE at theatres??? I loved the time of drive-ins and we would make a huge bowl or two of buttered popcorn to bring along. Man those were the days!! LOL!!!

Looking down from the 4th floor food court area 

Open air :) 
We head back to the bus terminal, find our platform and get on the next bus out.  It zooms along and we are back at the pedway stop by 4:30.  Dwayne needs some bread so we stop at a bakery along the way. We buy a large round loaf that looks like sourdough. When we ask we are told it's French garlic bread. Ohhhh ok gotta have that!! Look around a little more and I pick out a cherry cheesecake tart and Dwayne gets a chocolate chip croissant with sliced hazelnuts. I then ask for 2 of those - one for Alexis. Once at the till to pay we're shocked at what we have to pay! The bread is priced ok at 5,000 but my tart was 7,500 and the croissants were 7,000 each!!! Total of 26,000 😳 Wow that's crazy Canadian prices!!! But we take it anyways :) and walk back to the parquedero.  Guess the little boxes each of the sweets were put in explains the price

One of the parks by the mall

With lots of high density housing nearby
When we get there I call out for Alexis but no sign of him. So we wait around a bit. Then thought since we walked back using a different street then usual we should walk over to the end of this block and look down the street we used yesterday. And sure enough there was Alexis!! What a guy - worried about us again. We all laughed when I said we came back on the next street over!  Once in the parquedero I give him his little box of sweet treat and he is very thankful :)

Sunday Oct 27th

In the morning we get ready to leave. Alexis is gone but has left a big piece of paper on his door with his cell number and name. Guess he usually goes out to eat since there doesn't seem to be any cooking facilities here. I call him and tell him we will be ready to go in about 10 mins. We fill our water tank while waiting for Alexis.  I then pay him the 50,000 for our parking and a handful of candies. He is such a amable chico!!  As we drive away he waving goodbye.

We are heading towards Medellín now. But will take us a couple of days to get there. Our first stop is at Honda and it will take us at least 4 hours. As we are leaving Bogotà we stop at the Jumbo grocery store to stock up.  Once inside we see that all the liquor is taped off not allowing any sales.  I read the sign and it states no sales from Sat Oct 26 6pm until Mon Oct 28 6am because today is Election Day. Don't want any drunk voters or rowdies after the election!

As we are leaving the store we make a turn right (my fault) to soon and end up being in a dead end area. So turn around and the exit has a huge speed bump (???) and the dip onto the highway is very steep and could knock off our plumbing!! Sooooo....the only thing we can do is go out on the turnoff we came in on. There are 2 lanes so Dwayne just creeps along - lots of room for cars to pass on the left still. Get turned enough to quickly get into the traffic since it is VERY busy. AND he does it again!! YEAH we are now in the right lane to get back on the highway to Medellín. 😂

Four hours later after lots of up and down and twisting roads, going thru the clouds, we arrive in Honda. We check out a gas station to stay for the night but they want something/hour. Didn't even try to understand since I heard per hour and it's right on the busy highway! So we head towards a campground that is 15km down the road and the cost is 30,000/n. I then say that's a lot since we wont have time to use the pool because it will be to late and we will be heading out early again the next day. So opt to look for a free spot. There is a turnoff from the highway and a large open area that we drive into, but Dwayne doesn,t think I'LL like it for the night 😉😉 So I said lets go into town and look for a park. Which we did and did find a spot. While driving around looking we end up going the wrong way of a oneway 😅 We end up having to back up 50' and turn onto the right road. By the time we park its 5:30 and getting dark. And WOW is it ever hot and humid here!! We check the altitude and we're only at 700'!! Plus Honda is right on the Magdalena River which is a big river so maybe that makes it a little humid? Anyways we are sweating, exhaust fan going, small 12v fan going - haven't had that on for awhile :)

Crossing the largest river in Colombia the Magdalena which runs 1528 kms through the country. I'd say there has been a lot of rain in the area to make it look so dirty

New fruits I bought - this is called Pitahaya (type of dragon fruit) GOOD!

Small mangos - size of an Ataulfo but a smaller pit

Granadilla (passion fruit) Just loosen the pulp and slurp it up! Yum!!

And to show the money here we get both old and new bills. Different looking and one will be 10,000 (old) and the new one just shows 10mil same for all the bills, 2, 5, 20 and 50. Plus there are 1000 paper bills and also 1000 coins (thinking those are also the new ones).
I make us supper cooking up chatsa carne that we tried a sample of at the Jumbo and bought some. It seemed very tender when we tried it- it's slices of beef. So hoping it will be the same when I cook it. I quickly cooked it since the slices are thin, add a little bbq sauce in the pan. Made a salad and tonight Dwayne gets to finish the Ajo bread, to hot to cook more then I need to so no potatoes. When we tried the meat it was like a tender steak!!! WoW! And a meal for us only cost $4Can.

After dinner we sit outside with our chairs and people watch. Church is half a block away so listening to the singing is nice. A few people are in the park with their kids playing. But so far the people in this town have not been overly friendly. Weird! We stay outside until church lets out at 7:30 then go into the van since we've cooled off enough to watch a movie.

Since it's election day it gets a bit noisy around 8. Guess whoever won was driving around beeping their car horn with lots of motos following beeping their horns. This went on for quite awhile. After the movie we decide to move to another side of this small park where traffic doesn't go through and get off this busier street.

Had a good sleep and decide to just have some papaya for breakfast and get back on the road. Want to get to Guatapè and El Peñòn today which will take most of the day. Suppose to be a beautiful lake, town and huge rock to climb!!And its back up to 6500'  Plus I see also a good recommended laundry :)
 This morning we crossed the Rio Magdalena about half an hour out from Honda and it looked much cleaner.

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