Monserrate, the monastery on top of a mountain

07.04.17 11:28 PM By Putri

Before I blabber about the beauty of this iconic place in Bogota, let me tell you about how am I doing at the moment. You know, just in case you care to know… Ha, I am writing as if there`s any digital dumplings actually read this blog!

Okay, listen. I am going to get real here. Today I checked my dusty folder in my Google drive labeled ‘ideas for articles to be written and posted’ to find a handful of hopes that perhaps today could be the day that I actually write something about the trip to Colombia before it gets too old (the trip happened last December 2016, and here I am in late March 2017, sipping a large McDonald ice café to stimulate my writing, yet the only thing that got stimulated is my bowel movement. Fig!).

I have thousands of beautiful pics from the trip, stories to share and yet, I couldn’t get my hand to write anything. It’s like I am having an idea constipation, which is annoying because no matter how much fiber consumption (and caffeine) I took, it didn't solve this problem.

This problem started when I was told to reduce my blabber and to keep my writing simple and informative. You see, that is as cruel as asking a cat to stop meowing, a dog to stop barking, and J. Trudeau to stop being so figgin’ cute and powerful. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Aaaaanyway, lemme deal with my super power (read: blabbering) later and let’s move on to the topic of this article: Montserrate.

Montserrate is a mountain that rises in the middle of Bogota. If you think about it, Bogota is already a city on top of a mountain which has a mountain in the middle of it where lies a church on top of it. It is;… waaait for it;… Mountainceptiooooon! Ha!
(you got it, right? you beautiful digital dumplings? I know you do.)

The church is devoted to The Fallen Lord (El Senor Caido). However, this is not a gothic cult church that worships satan and The Fallen Lord does not mean the same thing as The Fallen Angel (Lucifer). Yes, I did thought it was a church for Lucifer too and I was curious how a Latino Satanic gothic church would look like.. What? What do you mean you didn’t think this church sounds like a Lucifer church?

There are many ways to go up to the church; by walking, teleferico, and furnicular. We took the teleferico option and it was not because we were lazy, but because we were afraid of getting mugged if we walked up the hill ((NOT) thank you to Lonelyplanet travel guide that planted constant fear of getting mugged into us (altho we actually appreciated the warning)).

You see, Bogota is a city located on a high plateau at an average of 2,640 metres (8,660 ft) above sea level and the church on top of Monserrate sits at 3152 meters. Now what do you get from all this height? A breathtaking view, figuratively and literally. Figuratively means you get to see the whole Bogota from aerial view which is stunningly beautiful, and literally means you’d probably suffer from altitude sickness (like I did).

Apart from being one of the iconic tourist attractions in Bogota, this church is still an active church. 

At the back of the church, there is an alley full of artisan shops and food vendors that sell authentic Bogotan souvenirs and food. 

At the end of that full-of-temptations alley, you will find an open space where you can just sit and relax, or even do a little picnic.

We had our first bowl of the famous Ajiaco Bogotano at one of the vendors in this artisan alley. Their stall was simple, it has a tiny balcony with a view overlooking the other side of the Montserrate. The food was good though. 

And of course we also had some snacks. On the left side photo, it was some kind of a dessert made of cheese, raspberry coulis, fig, arequipé (a sort of dulche leche or creamy caramel) and a slice of peach. It's sweet, savory, and fresh at the same time. We also took a bag of assorted fried snacks (right photo) to go, just because. 

There is also a garden full of wild birds and flowers on the other side of the church. If you walked up here instead of taking the teleferico or furnicular, the path would lead you to this garden. Try to be quiet, the birds will come out from the bushes or between the flowers and tweet in Spanish. They are lovely and colorful.

On Sunday, Montserrate closes at 5 PM. You’d know when it is about to close because you will see more and more safety guards in every corner carrying their long, automatic gun (made me feel safe and scared at the same time). I don’t know why they would need guns but I leave it to them, they got to do what they got to do, don’t they?

The teleferico takes 4 minutes to go up and 4 minutes to go down. Not that long, isn’t it? The longest part is getting in line and waiting for your turn. Since we were there on Sunday and the place was packed, the waiting line for the teleferico took us about 30 minutes!

If you are still hungry, no need to worry, you’ll be greeted by 101 different vendors trying to feed you for just a couple of pesos right next to the exit gate. Aren’t they thoughtful?