This is Monserrate, a refuge in the clouds, for both sinners and saints. Monserrate climbs to a breathtaking height of 10,341 feet above sea level. Before going to Monserrate, give your body a few days to adjust to Bogota’s altitude (8,675 ft. above sea level).
There are three ways to ascend and descend the mountain, by foot, by train, or by cable car. The cable car offers beautiful views of the mountain and the city below, but it is not for the faint of heart. The cable car was built in 1953, holds close to 40 people, and hangs precariously over the side of the mountain. Johanna has never seen the views, because she travels by cable car with her eyes closed.
The train is an easier ride for those scared of heights, but the views are not quite as spectacular. In my opinion, the best way to go is by foot.
In 1620, The Brotherhood of Vera Cruz, started hiking to the top of Monserrate for religious celebrations. Many devoted people from the city began making the climb with them, and in 1650 they were given permission to build a church at the top of the mountain.
Today people are still seen making this religious pilgrimage, some are barefoot, others put dry beans in their shoes, and I have been told that people used to make the hike on their knees. Most days, I barely find the energy to move from the couch to my bed.
The church, and the stations of the cross are beautiful, but alas, I am one of the sinners. I pass right by the church and head for the bright colors of the market, and the canelazo. Canelazo is warm drink of liquor, infused with cinnamon, honey and fruits. One of the best ways to spend a day in Bogota, is at the top of a cool, misty, mountain top with a nice warm drink.