The first thing I noticed when walking around Bogotá was the big mountain to the city's east side. I quickly learned to use it to coordinate myself within the city. This past Saturday morning, a group of digital nomads met at the base of this mountain, Monserrate.
Billed as "the perfect cure from a hangover," many of us arrived that morning after a long Friday night. A walk in fresh air, we thought, what could go wrong?
One thing to consider about this "walk," is that Bogotá is a city at 8,675 feet above sea level. Coming from Portland, a town at sea level, I struggle for breath quite quickly here. Monserrate rises to 10,341 ft above the sea.
As we started ascending the path upward (paved with slabs of stone, half steep hill and half stairs), the groans and moans started from the crew. After only 5 or 10 minutes a group had already turned back to take the funicular (a train that goes up the mountain) to the summit.
The rest of us trudged onward and the group splintered. One crew forged ahead while others slowed their pace. It felt like climbing a giant hill on a bicycle and not knowing where the top was or when/if there would be a reprieve in the gradient.
Along the path we passed stands where locals were selling food and drinks. Watermelon looked amazing so I stopped to get some. The price was 1,000 Colombian pesos, or about $0.30 USD. I opened my wallet to find that I had left all of my cash at home. This was the biggest feeling of disappointment i've had since arriving in Bogotá!
Eventually the group made it to the top. The main attraction is definitely the view. You can see Bogotá and beyond. There's also a church built in the 17th century. The doors were open and we could hear a priest giving mass to a group of parishioners.
After a rest at the summit we descended back down the mountain in search of food and a bloody mary!