This photo was taken from the top of the mountain Monserrate, that steeply rises in the back of Bogotá to more than 3.100m. The view from the top is stunning, when you’re lucky enough to catch one of the rare clear days. When I went up in the Funicular (the little train that climbs the steep slope), it was still sunny, but by the time I got to the top the ever-present grey glouds had come back. Still, it was beautiful. The church is a very popular spot for pilgrims, that climb the mountain on foot.
This last weekend we fled the city again, off to the north, to the beautiful colonial village of Villa de Leyva. Three days of beautiful walks, perfect climate, peace and quiet, nature, great people and delicious food. Enjoy the pictures!
I live in Bogotá, Colombia, since two months now. The barrio I live in is called La Macarena. I really love it here. I walkt literally two minutes to work. I live across the street from the greatest bakery imaginable, where I have breakfast every morning. I have great bars and restaurants and the historic center at walking distance. It’s in the center of Bogotá, many of the upper class people that live in the north would never come here. They believe it’s dangerous.. So far, I don’t think so!
About two hours north of Bogotá lies the mystical, perfectly circular laguna Guatavita. As I mentioned in my last post, the name Guatavita describes three different places in the area: the old town, covered by the waters of the reservoir Tomine, the new town built on the slopes above the reservoir, and about half an hour up the mountains, at more than 3.000 meters of altitude, the laguna.
There are dozens of legends and myths concerning the laguna’s history and origin. Since the lake is circular, the first thought is a volcano crater. This part of the Andes is not volcanic, however, the rock sandy. So there are several other theories: the most likely is that it is an ancient saline washed out over the centuries by the rain. Or a meteorite impact. Or a UFO landing pad.
In addition, the lake is the origin of the El Dorado legend. The Muisca, the indegenious people who lived in the area, were said to have sunk tons of golden artefacts in the lake as sacrifices. As the Spaniards got wind of this, they tried to drain the water from the lake. Not so easy. With use of many indigenous slaves they managed to finally beat a notch in the ridge. It is said that they found more than ten tons of gold. Much of it can still be seen at the Museo de Oro in Bogota. Sixty years ago an English team tried its golden luck at the lake and blew a tunnel into the mountain to drain the water. Many people died, and they found only a few pieces of gold in the meter-thick mud at the bottom of the lake. Fortunately the mud closed the tunnel off again and the lake filled with water.
Today, the lake and the area surrounding it is a beautiful nature reserve, with a stunning view over the surrounding valleys. Go there if you’re ever in the area! Just don’t believe any of the stories!
Oh summer how I miss you!
I often get lost in the details when I’m outside taking pictures. All of these pictures are from last summer, taken in Germany and South France. No mentira – on of the cats lives with me here in Colombia. No, not the tiger!
Capturing images, words and horses.
dispatches from bogotá
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