Bogota received us with a very fresh weather. Colombian people say that their country is divided in cold and hot areas. Seasons do not exist. In any case there are rainy seasons alternating with dry seasons, although it seems that the phenomenon of El niño was somehow upsetting everything. We arrived by night but quite well thanks to the explanations of Manu and indications of several people that were leading us down the road. As a wonderful welcome we were received with an splendid meal: ajiaco bogotano, a chicken soup with various types of potatoes, cream and capers. The Perrota-Mazzinni family has been living in Bogotá for almost two years. Three boys for Dimas’ joy, paper boards on the walls, “atrapasueños” … a creative and cheerful home. We did not know them personally but we were friends instantly and we expect to meet them again. With a splendid pic-nic we visited the Botanical Garden full of roses, sweet magnolias, tropical trees, huge palm trees, lakes and bridges. We discovered the monumental Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira, a church and a Via Crucis sculpted 200 mt underground in a huge salt mine.
We crossed the border without problems. It was drizzling and cool. We had lunch in Ipiales and took advantage to visit, along with other pilgrims, the Sanctuary of Las Lajas, a church that surprisingly appears in the middle of rocks on a dizzying bridge in the canyon of the Guáitara river. “The interior is all made up with the rock itself, cut into slabs. In one of them is an oil image of the Virgin, the water runs down; rocky, bear walls; with the forest all around and all its shape it is presented with wild majesty ” describes Manosalva Perez, president of Colombia in the early twentieth century. Perfect description. The church is neo-Gothic style which is not the style that I like most (following the pattern of my grandmother) but the place is unique to be in silence and admire.