Zipaquirá is home to the Salt Cathedral, an underground Roman Catholic church built 650 ft underground within the tunnels of a salt mine. After about an hour drive, we arrived in Zipaquirá just in time for lunch. We stopped in at a traditional rotisserie where the various meats had slow-cooked for 3 hours over an open flame. The larger-than-our-stomachs meal consisted of pieces of chicken, beef, pork, and about 3 different varieties of potatoes. We also had arepas con queso which is ground corn flour fried into a thick bread and stuffed with cheese. Given my adoration of cheese, this is the country for my stomach. Cheese is added to everything and eaten during every meal. Colombians even have a dish wherein they dip a large piece of cheese into hot chocolate. We haven’t tried this yet, but we certainly will at some point.
The Salt Cathedral is something to be seen rather than explained. The cathedral was originally built so that miners who worked long hours had a place of worship. After walking down a long tunnel (and tasting the salt walls along the way) we arrived at the first chamber/chapel where salt was once mined using dynamite. As we went through the chambers we walked into what smelled like walls of sulfur. They were sporadic though and dissipated almost as soon as we noticed them. There are 14 small chapels preceding the cathedral, each with a cross and areas to kneel and pray. Because the cathedral is still an active church, there are also confessionals built into the stone walls.
After leaving the cathedral we spent some time looking around Zipaquirá, but didn’t have nearly enough time to properly explore the town. Zipaquirá is a small city of about 250,000 people, but has the look and feel of a small village anchored by a beautiful central plaza with a cathedral.
During our drive back to Bogota we were mesmerized by the incredible cloudscapes of the countryside. The fluffy white clouds stretch on for miles and turn from bright white to nearly black in the distance when raining.
We finished the evening at Andres D.C. in Bogota which is the sister restaurant to the original Andres Carne de Res located about 40 minutes outside of Bogota in Chia. We’re hoping to make it to the original location next week, but we decided to test the waters with the tamer version…again, an experience that is difficult to explain in words, but is best described as a mix between a Las Vegas production and spring break for all ages.